Artist Statement:

Hi! I’m Mike Atkins! Despite my use of question marks, I don’t like writing about happy things! The story “It’s Not Absurd, It’s a Bird,” was essentially an experimentation in what I could and couldn’t do with my own writing and style. It’s the culmination of a workshop deadline, months of reading only Vonnegut, hating writing/reading conventional short stories, and a sudden realization that I didn’t have to write things that I didn’t feel like writing. The poem “Ha.” is what came out when I tried to write myself out of a case of insomnia. “Mishearing Him as Saying, ‘Distribution of Health,’ Made Him Seem More Human,” was my brain realizing that the Occupy movement was a good starting point for a lot of the thoughts I had on society in general and is one of the first pieces . “The Man in the Moon is the Man is the Moon,” is inspired by the Man Man song “Van Helsing Boom Box.” It’s about that song, loneliness, and outer space. I enjoy exploring existentialism, alliteration, humor, permanence, things we pretend have meaning, death, and ice cream. My favorite flavor is probably chocolate chip cookie dough, which I just realized has a fair amount of alliteration in it. It’s funny how things like that happen. It’s funny how they don’t, too.

"Whatever It Takes," Took Everything,

Mike Atkins

My eyes sting from staring at the sunset your gun downtown hums smooth sin
Under all that artificial light your last cigarette and choke on the smoke the innocence
Remember when we lost faith in humankind of like children understanding lies bleeding, down
Down at the riverbank deposit his cash out him wrap up in a sack lunch comes up
Even the waves stop their crash the car into the door of the building blocks their hopes of escape
Reaching into people's bags under our eyes closed for the last time as we forfeit live capture
Everything stands still breathing for the moment magazine empty

Drag a man to the vault's lock our sights on his head of the operation makes sure the bag's full
Your shot in the dark rings out his neck until the throat relaxed for too long, got sloppy
Over the counter with the fortune tellers press the alarm clocks ticking bomb makes the hole neat
Under the alarm street I hear the sirens sing songs of temptation and deliver us from evil
Running for cover you iced the first of them versus us weakly we try to make keep shots good


Injured cop fires rage in your eyes closed for the last time flies when your life is ending
Nobody else reacts to his fall from grace of God saved us so far but it's just beginning
Now that they're about to surround sounds stop motion begins toward our man-made exit
Outside all their lights sting my eyes fixed on freedom press the gas leak out as they enter
Cops in hot pursuit of happiness fills our hearts of gold for gold, buy gold, fuck the people
Enter in town square rooting for silence but we hear burning tire iron the suits of their corpses
No one else survives the car's roll over and cough up blood money all that's in your head
Crying like a child getting a shot in the back of the head strong arm of the law claims my heart
Everyone is bleeding out of their cars brake you like it's just let the ink run red with glory

Euphemism Campus Box 4240 Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240