The Writing Disorder


New Poetry


by Ricky Garni

Before anything happened at all, I sent you JUST KIDS
It’s all about Robert Maplethorpe and Patti Smith
and how much they loved each other and how little food
they had and how stolen their clothes were and how
Patti worked in a bookshop so Robert could discover
his true self in art and Patti could discover too and
then more of that discover and discover and discover
then discovery and then fail start slowly to die and slowly
Robert asks Patti please

Come here quick and so she did and he rested his head
on her shoulder and he said there is one more thing
just one more thing you’re the only one who can
I want you to help me with...

And she said Of course Robert you know I will
Of course Robert but before she could before
she could—

I would have definitely done all those things for you
I would have had to have been Patti Here’s my shoulder

But no one ever saw us and said Hey look there’s Patti and Robert
that didn’t happen once not once we only heard Hey look

There’s Mick and Bianca

We were dancing and that’s not fair

And it’s not true I will be Patti I won’t be Mick
I don’t care what anyone says I won’t
I would have done all those things for you like Patti

I would have done more things



Today a famous magazine decided to put fifty architects into a room to discuss the fifty most interesting buildings in the world. Each architect chose a building that he had designed! What were they thinking? By the time the fiftieth architect discussed his favorite building, the lights began to dim and an entirely new building was erected right in the middle of the room. It was like magic. All their talk had made the lights dim and then a building appeared right there in the middle of the room. Nicer, much nicer, than any of the buildings all the architects had been talking about. And all the architects were astounded, and began to point, and began to talk excitedly like little children. Qu'est-ce que c'est? one asked. Another architect even pulled yet another architect’s tiny blue short pants down, down to the floor! Another dropped a blue water balloon right out the window and it hit an auto, I think it was a Peugeot. One made a little un son pêt with his hand under his armpit, hence the girls screamed Sacré Bleu! And did I mention? All of these architects actually were little children. And they weren’t paying attention. And this is in of course France. And it was time for their naps. And they were excited. They were all very excited about their new building, but when it came time to go home, they said that they didn’t want to, and each one wanted to take the new poofy building française home, WELL, what are we supposed to do, break it up into fifty little pieces, and they all cried and squirmed and stamped their feet and said You’re a Mean Papa, pointing not at me, but to a perfectly round cloud outside that looked just like Boullée’s Cenotaph.


You might wonder why Boullée, who did design that beautiful Cenotaph, wasn’t invited. Well, Boullée died in 1799. But honestly, it was a good thing that Boullée wasn’t in that room! If he hadn’t been dead for two hundred years, some major architectural butt would have been kicked today, I don’t mind saying! Boullée had no patience for the namby pamby. And Boullée liked to design buildings that talked. And he was a neoclassisist. And he thought Newton was tops. Cenotaph? It was for him. Architects know love. And he never hurt anybody. He was better than fifty architects all put together. He was better than fifty buildings outside and one inside a room. He believed in spanking. And he loved France. And he loved me.


PT Barnum was compared to Shakespeare.

PT Barnum was bald. He favored velvet collars.

PT Barnum liked bow ties. He used to say, “I like bow ties.”

There were more than one Barnum. There was only one PT
Barnum. There were Barnum sisters.

Eventually the Barnum sisters got married but they were still.

For example, Caroline Barnum became Caroline Barnum Thompson.
Her dress coiled around her like a snake that had frilly curtain accessories
to its slinky body. A frilly snake.

Pauline Barnum married one Mr. Selley and liked to call herself Pauline Barnum Selley.
She had a broad beam around the waist area, not slinky, and she enjoyed wearing
a little white bib just for show. “Looky!” she would say. “Looky!”

There also was this woman named Julie Hurd, I don’t know why. Where’s the Barnum? Ask PT Barnum.

PT Barnum loved fish so much that he married Nancy Fish, I mean, after his wife died.

If you ask PT Barnum what a thimblerigger is, he will tell you.

He also knows all about Julie Hurd, and why.

“Wild and wide are my borders,” Robert Service said in 1905, “stern as death is my sway”
he said, but we wouldn’t even know that if we didn’t read the advertisement for Atlantic Richfield
oil products, right next to the picture of Phineas and his family.

Oh God there were more.

P stands for Phineas sometimes. PT stands sometimes for Phineas Something or Other Beginning with a T.

There was Samuel Henry Hurn and Clinton Barnum Seeley and Helen Barnum Hurd and Frances Thompson
who was so afraid of God

that she wore a pretty gold cross around her neck that made Nathan Seeley’s moustache curl slightly when he smiled
and laughed at her being afraid of God and such he would say, “Oh Frances, why are you so afraid of God and such?”

For the camera, Nancy Fish Barnum, smile.

Everyone Barnum, please, look at me.

I Mean Everybody.


I wish my parents were still alive so I could play them Lou Reed’s BERLIN and say Don’t you think that this is the saddest album in the world & then I could play them Brian Wilson’s SMILE and say Don’t you think that this is the happiest album in the world and they wouldn’t say anything so I would clear my throat in that grown up way and then say What do you think of that cute girl at the record counter with the brown hair and the teensy dimples I bet if I asked her to marry me I bet she would say Yes and you know what I am going to do that right now & they would say Who do you think you are kidding? And I would say You, I’d be kidding you, if you were here, I would be kidding you. Then I know exactly what they would say, they would say Shut up, Harold which is a name that I hate but I don’t mind when they say it because actually my name is Raul.


Tony Bennett says, "Seriously. It's a true story! Sort of!"

See: attached.

And then he does a little skippy dance with his feet and scuffs the floor and smiles.

His teeth are little sparkly diamonds.

And also his eyes especially.

“Even though / you obviously don’t adore me” he says, God, like a thousand times.

“You obviously don’t adore me”
“You obviously don’t adore me”
“You obviously don’t adore me”
“You obviously don’t adore me”
“You obviously don’t adore me”

But he keeps smiling and dancing and saying OOPS every once in a while.

And then he says

“But I get a kick out of you”

And falls down and hurts himself but gets right back up again and says Adore Me.

Ricky Garni is a writer and graphic designer living in Carrboro, NC. His work can be found online at Evergreen Review, Noö, Blue & Yellow Dog and a number of other places. On August 2nd of this year, he fulfilled a dream he's had since he first saw The Jetsons in 1962, when he finally bought an iPhone. His first call was to Jane, his wife.

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