VII: Poetry by Tyler Gates & “Caged” by Wholy Failure*

 These Are Words Written On A Wall

A tornado shelter
is no place to wax your soul.

The far-off sounds of rain pounding the soil
above your head,
the whine and pitch of a screaming siren,
juvenile winds laughing violently
against the threadbare door, and
the red-hot breath of everyone
that shares this living grave with you
all mixes together in aromatic dissidence.

This is the place where it all comes together,
where the sideshow stage
meets the God-knuckled liar.

So with nowhere else to go
and no choices left to make
you best settle in,

prepare the tinsel in your lungs for another round
at the dice.

Savor this racket,
this moment,
because it isn’t a bird
that can be caged for long.

Let it leave your bones

pirouetting on the floor,

your soul laughing into dust.


Tyler Gates is published in bathroom stalls across middle America. He is also the author of the novel, Unhinged, as well as the chapbook, On The Pitfalls of Being a Cockroach in Love.

Wholy Failure is a musical act from Portland, Maine, with all music written, arranged, and performed by Patrick A. Hasson. Wholy Failure’s discography includes “New Endtimes for Old Models” (2009), “Songs of Surrender” (2011), “Tree of Human Debris” (2011), “The Black House” (2011), “Christmas Day Exhumation” (2011), “Avalon and Everything After” (2012), “Abortion Eucharist” (2013), “Carrion and Grime” (2013), “An Atropy” (2014), and “Sand in our Eyes” (2015), all available at


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*”Caged,” written, arranged, and performed by Patrick A. Hasson, appears on the Wholy Failure EP, “Songs of Surrender,” available via