by on April 23, 2022 :: 0 comments

photo "Warning Title" by Tyler Malone

Harry McNabb was in a pickle. He had a poem due the next day for a project he had been roped into a month ago and he had not written anything.

Deciding to take a stab at it around 2 PM, Harry tried typing the poem on his laptop. He would write one line and then delete it, write another line and delete it. He did this five times over the course of thirty minutes.

He thought that maybe he should try writing by hand. He had had luck with that approach in the past. He got out his notebook and tried to compose a poem that way.

After writing nothing but lines of shit, he decided against this approach as well.

Harry looked around his room, looking for inspiration. He looked at a sock. He looked at a treadmill. He looked at a Jack-In-The-Box bag.

What was he going to do?

Then he remembered something his Dad had said one time:

If you are ever unsure about something, go outside, find a bird, and look at it closely. When it flies away, look at another bird, and then repeat. If you do this, every bird will carry away a little piece of the you that does not know what to do.

Harry thought this was a weird thing to say at the time. His Dad had told him this when they had both resurfaced from scuba-diving. It would make sense if his Dad had told him to look at fish, but no. His dad had taken off his breathing apparatus and told him about birds flying off with indecision.

Harry got up and went outside. He scanned his surroundings and found a bird on the power line that went by his apartment complex. Like his Dad had said, he stared at it until it flew away and then he found another bird.

Bird by bird, Harry’s mind became less foggy and led him to the conclusion that he was working in the wrong medium. Instead of a poem of words, he would make a poetic three-dimensional object.

Luckily, he had some modeling clay.

Harry got the clay and took it to his kitchen table. He was not a sculptor, but his mind was sharp from the birds and with a lot of effort he refined the sculpture until it was better than any sculpture he had ever made. It was a sculpture of a creature that was a combination of a fish and a bird.

Through Google, he found an art studio that allowed people to use their kiln. He took the bus. Everybody on the bus admired his sculpture. One woman said she liked his sculpture and Harry said, “Thank you. But it is actually a poem, not a sculpture.”

Harry got to the art studio and found out that firing a clay sculpture in a kiln took ten hours. It was late in the afternoon, so Harry had time to spare as far as delivering the poem for his project.

He took a walk around the neighborhood. It was nice and the houses weren’t too fancy. It was a very homey area. While looking at a non-fancy house, Harry remembered another thing his Dad told him.

He had said, “Son, you can email anything, anything at all if you try hard enough. Cigarettes, food, even cars. My grandfather emailed someone a car once. You can email anything. All you have to do is believe in yourself.”

Harry got bored walking around the neighborhood after five hours and he spent the next five hours messing around on his phone.

He was playing a game where they showed you this picture of God and you had to guess which year it was taken. If you could guess the year the picture was taken, you won two hundred bucks. Harry had won two hundred bucks one time because he recognized that the picture was taken in the eighties because of God’s Flock of Seagulls haircut. In the year since this had happened, Harry had been forever chasing the high of winning that money.

Finally, at 2 AM Harry got his poem from the art studio. He got an Uber back to his apartment because it was so late.

He gingerly brought the sculpture inside and set it on the kitchen table. He went to his room, got his laptop, and put it on the table next to the sculpture. He took a deep breath. The hard part was coming up.

Harry opened up Gmail on his laptop and composed a message:


Here is the poem I wrote for the constancy and universality project we are working on. Hopefully it gets to you. It’s a big attachment.

Hope you are well,


He looked at the sculpture with trepidation. He picked it up and tried to force it into his laptop. On his initial attempt, forcing it into the keyboard, the H and 9 keys popped out. He tried forcing it into the screen, but it made cracks in the glass. He sat it down and frowned at his busted-up laptop. Then he had an idea.

He took the bottom of the laptop off where the motherboard and other important computer bits were. Then, putting his sculpture sideways, he was able to sandwich it between the motherboard and the keyboard.

He pushed it down real tight and, holding the laptop with his left hand, he clicked the attach files icon and attached the sculpture to the email. It took a while to load, but when it did, Harry pressed “send” and his sculpture/poem vanished into cyberspace.

He sighed. He had done it, finally.

He looked at his destroyed laptop.

Tonight he would have to watch porn on his phone.

editors note:

Watch me build something out of what I destroyed and call it art. But this is a mess… No, it’s art! Your life is ablaze… No, this is art! ~ Tyler Malone

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