Painted Bride Quarterly’s Slush Pile

Episode 70: Scalloped Potatoes (with apologies to Ohio)

June 19, 2019

Welcome back again Slushies! For this podcast, we had a full house ready to discuss three poems by Brandon Thomas DiSabatino. 

The first poem was tuscarawas river song. Surprisingly, this piece initially erupted a discussion on the beautiful descriptions of a river, turned quickly to a dialogue on drugs. Trigger warning: This topic could possibly hit home for many of our listeners as opioids have become a pervasive problem, especially in our Slushpile’s home base of Philadelphia. We learned more about opiod overdose than we wanted to know.

But forget the drug problem! Joe Zang, our intrepid sound engineer, expressed the top problem today might just be the Ohio-ians, and he revealed his Instagram handle, so…go ahead and slide into his DM’s! 

Challenge of the Day: Try saying “hog-tied whippoorwills” three times in a row as quickly as you can! Most of us could not even say it once. 

Next up, a portrait of cave fires on walls as the first sitcom in syndication. The first thing that caught the eye of our crew members was the structure of the poem, which had many of us stumped: Its center juxification had the gang in a quite a tizzy! No need to fret, we think Joe may have cracked the reasoning behind this peculiar format. Listen in to find out Joe’s theory. 

The last poem discussed was a department of corrections state-of-mind blues, which many of described perfectly as a fresh piece with crazy imagery and strong tone. According to Marion, it was quite witty as one of the lines specifically winked at her.  

Plot twist! The final verdict left the cast stunned and even had some begging for a recount. Listen in to hear the final decision on this piece. 

As this podcast comes to an end, Tim Fitts announced that Patrick Blagrave, a regular voter in Painted Bride Quarterly’s democratic process, started a magazine of his own, the Prolit and no! Tim did not just promote the new mag because his flash piece was published in it! 

Finally, Marion gave a much needed thank you to Habib University's student journal. Habib is located in Karachi, Pakistan. We love to see students being afforded access to a creative writing outlets—around the world! Also, her recommended read for this podcast is Hajibistan by Sabyn Javieri.




Brandon Thomas DiSabatino was born in Canton, Ohio – the same town Hank Williams died in the back of a Cadillac to avoid playing in. He used to take pride in this fact, and has since been in contact with several psychic mediums as to the possibility of a posthumous rain-check performance for Mr. Williams to fulfill his outstanding contract. After several years of minimum wage, minimum effort work throughout the Midwest and Florida, he washed-up in New York and began writing as a way to compensate for the fact he would never be drafted into the NBA. His work for the theater has been performed in Cincinnati and throughout NYC, and his writing can be found in Belt Mag, Silver Needle Press, After the Pause, Stereo Embers and other publications. His full-length poetry collection, “6 Weeks of White Castle /n Rust,” is available from Emigre Publishing, with all proceeds benefiting his Faberge Egg habit. He now lives in Brooklyn with his partner Shelbi and their toothless, one-eyed cat, Leonard. He considers himself an adequate dancer and a decent American.





“tuscarawas river song.”


born sightless but

going into focus


w/ the softness

of an acetylene flame –


your eyes, blue animals

running from their own reflection


(torn-into) as a mouth

w/ the gums gone        open:


for hog-tied whippoorwills

in mock poses of the living;


clouds balled w/ the fists

of arthritic gamblers;


naloxone canisters, clorox walls,

the hard asking of rain –


the rain

in the fashion of a human body


that does not fall

faster while laughing.




“a portrait of cave fires on walls as the first sitcom in syndication.”


the naked, midnight diners

are at it again, posed

in the windows

like an advent calendar

across from me.   totems

of unwashed dishes

pile in the sink; heat

from hog grease peels

their wallpaper back.

a nightmare

of human real estate.

scalloped potatoes.

shrimp cocktails.

cheeto bags /n chicken-

fried steaks – every night


vast servings in silence

sitting naked in generic, metal chairs.

they have never noticed i am here.

i have been watching them in darkness

since the utilities were turned off.

i ask myself

when will she give it up –

beat his head-in w/ a frying pan,

blow her brains in the tuna casserole

out of grief.

because i am a romantic

i can imagine it:

brain spurs stippling

cheap, yellow tile,


decomposing to shadow,

leaving an outline

like a child’s drawing

on the ceiling of the apartment below them,

undiscovered, for weeks,

until the neighbor is fucking his wife

on the living room floor, witness

to this new constellation above him.

i am envious to be there –

not so much w/ the wife

on the living room floor

but as a guest this time,

on the couch, maybe

watching the super bowl,

astonished by something, anything

i look into.





“a department of corrections state-of-mind blues.”


white trillium gores

through rib-bones frozen

on the shoulders

of county roads




these clouds give cinema

to a surface of windows

that have yet to be blinded

w/ wooden boards


this horizon     laid

- as smoke raised

from a mirror –


meant less to reflect

than see           yourself





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