walter mackey

sarah jean alexander / crispin best / mike bushnell / dennis cooper / gabby bess / melissa broder / steve roggenbuck / ellen kennedy / stephen sturgeon / bianca shipton / luna miguel / jane yeh / mira gonzalez / walter mackey / thais benoit / spencer madsen / grant maierhofer / guillaume morissette / ben kopel / dorothea lasky / timothy willis sanders / xTx / stephen michael mcdowell / tao lin / paige gresty / megan boyle / noah cicero / juliet escoria / stephen tully dierks / giancarlo ditrapano / richard chiem / zachary german / sam pink / amy liptrot / chuck young / chia-lun chang / chelsea martin / scott mcclanahan

"In an era rife with seductive antiheroes, Walt White’s transformation from, as creator Vince Gilligan likes to say, "Mr. Chips to Scarface" has arguably been the most harrowing—in part because we’ve watched the creation of Heisenberg, as White is known on the street, step by mostly well-calibrated step. "When I first read the script, that’s what struck me: I thought, ‘Tony Soprano, Dexter, Vic Mackey. When we were introduced to them, they were already that kind of person,’" says Cranston. "But I’m not sure this has happened before: Where we take one kind of person—bright, depressed, just turned 50, dying of cancer—and say, ‘For the next two years, he’s going to go on the greatest roller-coaster ride of his life.’”

– from The Last Stand of Walter White, GQ Magazine, August 2013

   Photo by Nathaniel Goldberg

name walter mackey
age 22
occupation student, writer, whatever

1.what is your present state of mind?

i just visited the doctor’s office and i talked to a man about his recycling. he was very nice. the doctor was sort of weird, i don’t know. i think i am pretty much calm but i feel sort of hungry.

2.where were you born?

i was born at james paton memorial hospital in gander, newfoundland & labrador, in canada. that all happened on may 9th, 1990.

3.where do you live now?

i currently live in cull’s harbour, newfoundland & labrador, in canada, which is about 45 minutes from gander. i will be moving to st. john’s, newfoundland & labrador in about three weeks. it is about 3 hours from where i currently live and 3 and 1/2 hours from where i was born.

4.where would you like to live?

i would like to live in toronto or boston. my true loves (lucy k shaw and ellen kennedy) live in these places and i would like to spend the rest of my life with them. i feel like if i live in toronto, i would probably just megabus to boston a lot and vice versa.

5. do you think you’re interesting?

i guess parts of me are interesting. i live in a town of ~30 people. a lot of people are really fascinated about where i live and where i’m from. that’s probably interesting. i don’t know what else is interesting. i have a degree in folklore, that’s pretty interesting. feel like i should ask someone i know what is interesting about me. this seems like a vain question.

6. how is your love life?

my love life is non-existent. i haven’t been with anyone intimately in almost two years and i don’t think i really have a love interest in anyone at this point in time. maybe when i move to the city, but who knows?

 7. what were you like as a child?

as a child, i was very dirty. like, not dirty in a hygiene-state but dirty in like, talking about dicks a lot or something. i was very immature. i played with a lot of girls as a child and this led to my mother buying me a barbie—gymnastics barbie. i would perform concerts in my basement with my mother’s records to an imaginary crowd; hits like xanadu by olivia newton-john and 9 to 5 by dolly parton. remember distinctly telling my mother i wanted to grow up and become a priest at one point, too.

8. what did you eat today?

i haven’t eaten anything yet but it is nearly noon so i guess i will have mac & cheese soon or something.

9. have you ever created culture or art?

sometimes i create art and i guess i help to create culture or facilitate it in some way, what with being involved in the ‘alt lit’ community or whatever. i do not think that i am a curator but i am certainly a ‘role player’ in the consumption of culture. i have a social science degree so i feel like i could talk about culture all day, but i won’t.

10. do you like drinking alcohol or using drugs?

i don’t know if i ‘like’ drinking alcohol or using drugs, but i do both.

11. what kind of people do you hate?

i hate fake ass bitches and people who seem to hate me for what appears to be [no good reason]. i feel that the internet is a weird place and a lot of people are quick to form opinions about one another very quickly, especially in the ‘alt lit scene’. i don’t know, i feel that a lot of things i’ve said to people have been misconstrued in some ways and if they could hear the tone of my voice or the context of why i’ve said some things, they would think differently of me now. seems like i have a lot of haters. this is a formal apology to all of the people i’ve offended. i’m really sorry.

12.what are your goals, if you have any?

i don’t know if i have any goals. maybe to one day be happy; own my own house, maybe have a car, something trivial like that. i don’t want to pay rent every month for the rest of my life and ride around on a fixed gear and dumpster dive or something when i’m 54. how awful would that be, man?

13. do you have any depressing stories about your life?

i don’t know if my life is depressing, to be honest. sometimes i feel depressed but i can’t think of a depressing story. i don’t know, maybe you should talk to a starving child in africa who lost their parents to war and then talk to me about how i went out in public with my pants on backwards or something and just see who has the most depressing story.

  14. who are your favorite authors?

i guess my favourite ‘writers’ are: dennis cooper, eileen myles, noah cicero, tao lin, jean rhys, augusten burroughs, miranda july, simone de beauvoir, ellen kennedy, lk shaw, megan boyle, jacob steinberg, spencer madsen, and carolyn decarlo. i feel privileged to be able to talk to most of them on a daily basis.

15.what will you be doing ten years from now?

i feel that ten years from now i will be working as a construction worker in toronto and enjoying my life. i don’t know if i will continue with my writing and i don’t know if this community will stay around long enough for everyone to keep in contact with each other, but i would like to imagine that it will still exist. i feel like my future is ‘bright’, for sure.

Things That Happened in my Dream Last Night
  • I was with Theo Thimo in NYC, staring at a moth that actually looked like a cat/bird hybrid. I told Theo that the moth could jump really high, and he said “cool” and made a video of my mom buying homeless people 40 oz’s and the moth jumping really high at the end. He put the video on youtube and called it “cat jumping really high”. I was pissed about the title. The video got like 100 views.
  • My boss at Subway ‘confronted’ me about putting a video of my mom buying “possibly underaged” people alcohol on the internet. I felt confused because the homeless people in the video all looked at least 45 and I didn’t even make or upload the video. Everyone was ‘disappointed’ in me.
  • Realized the Subway I work at is actually an insane asylum. Everything made sense.
  • Walter Mackey sent me an email telling me he had a crush on me. I told him I knew he was lying and to please stop fucking with me.
  • Decided to go ‘see’ the Eiffel Tower, despite having knowledge that I was currently in NYC. Walked ~3 blocks in a random direction and found the Eiffel Tower. The bottom half was either invisible or just made of ladders. Felt terrified.
  • Watched a dog stand on its hind legs and drink from a water fountain. Initially thought, “this is amazing,” before realizing that no, dogs have just been getting very advanced lately. Behind the dog drinking from the water fountain was another dog trying to jump, imitating the “cat jumping really high” video, which had apparently gone viral at this point.
  • Spencer Madsen texted me thanking me again for messaging him on tumblr saying nice things about his poetry. I felt angry that someone had given him my phone number without asking me first.
  • Had a conversation with Aly Cat about how the internet is like various drugs and how some people just, like, need it. I then underhandedly tossed a white macbook to her, and we both smiled.
  • Stephen Michael McDowell messaged me on facebook telling me he really liked a “seapunk” video I had collaborated with John Rogers on. He told me he was interested in doing a similar collaboration with me, but felt he was “too old for this kind of thing.”

'the universe is big and i am a little smaller' by walter mackey

so, it’s winter and everyone is feeling depressed and lonely. you can’t really go outside much because it’s cold and it starts getting dark at 4pm. you spend your nights walking back and forth between your macbook and your refrigerator. you feel ‘creatively drained’. these are some songs to make you feel a little less lonely. satisfaction guaranteed.


okay, so do you remember a few years ago when tumblr was exploding with pictures of hipsters wearing native american apparel? you know the photos—girls in headdresses, wearing warpaint and god forbid a loincloth. i found this song by browsing some weird ‘anti-native american apparel’ blog. some girl was actually native and she was really pissed and just spent time writing long text posts that nobody ever read about cultural appreciation vs. cultural appropriation. i read them, though.


sometimes after a long day of doing mostly nothing and spending my entire time on gmail chat and writing poems i like to take drives in the night time to nowhere in particular. usually i will bring a pack of cigarettes, my ipod (and dock), and a bunch of emotions. i will blast music really loud and scream along to it and smoke cigarettes and drive really fast. lately i have been blasting this mix. it’s really great.


i saw diamond rings live about a year ago. he wore a cool grey sweatshirt and had dramatic eye make-up. he played upstairs at this bar that had a black and white checkered floor. a lot of people didn’t know who he was at the time so the crowd was really small. it was intimate and i liked that. when he played this song i got on the stage with him and danced. okay, i kind of grinded on him but whatever.


i don’t know if lindsay lohan wrote this. i don’t know if lindsay lohan was a lesbian at the time. i am pretty sure lindsay lohan was on crack at the time. i am pretty sure lindsay lohan is still on crack. i am so in love with lindsay lohan i don’t know what to do with myself, most days. it is like a debilitating illness or something. i want her to @reply me on twitter. i want her to love me so hard. until then, ‘i can’t live without ya, can’t breathe without ya, i’m dreamin’ ‘bout ya’.


these days, you hardly hear a harmonica on a track. i mean, if you hear harmonica on a track it usually sounds like ‘wub wub wub blub blub blub’ and is produced by skrillex. the harmonica really makes this song, i feel. the intro is also captivating. bradford cox is a genius.


i started listening to this band recently and i am so obsessed with this song. it’s just, i don’t know. i think it says everything about how i am feeling in such a short time. it doesn’t have many lyrics and it isn’t that long but it’s absolutely incredible. the mute trumpet is beautiful as well. jesus. ‘i’m so tired of you’.


i don’t think i can ever make a playlist without putting jann arden on there somewhere. i am going to end this mix with jann arden because i think it feels appropriate. jann arden reminds me of being seven years old and taking my cassette walkman with me along with my dog and the keys for the mailbox. this song seems really calming. ‘cardboard masks of all the people i’ve been’ is probably the best line that has ever been written in canadian music. jann arden was the original canadian adult contemporary goth. remember that.

i hope these songs make you feel a little less lonely. i guess we could all feel a little less lonely sometimes.

here’s a virtual msn messenger hug:

by walter mackey

dialogue about how to end your poems

10:20 laurens_verdonkschot: i end all my poems with ‘there the poem is finished’

10:20 omardecol: u just burned me

10:20 carnivorousjudy: i try to end my poems with someone funny

10:20 carnivorousjudy: or just like

10:20 vicki-tingle: i end all poems with ‘i h8 myself and want to die’ in blank text so nobody can read it

10:20 carnivorousjudy: ‘and then he came on my chest’

10:20 laurens_verdonkschot: like the cruuise

10:20 carnivorousjudy: which is equally as good

10:20 mseidlinger: HOT VOICE SPEAKS ITALIAN!!!

10:20 johnstmoonpie: poems should never end

10:20 gabbygabbby: i end my poems with ‘and now i am dead’

top five pokémon i highly identify with from the original 151

5. muk
- big purple gay glob of shit, barely capable of any type of motor skills such as ‘logging into facebook after he’s cleared his cache, history and cookies’ and ‘walking to the nearest coffee shop only to ‘people watch’ because his bedroom has started to feel like it has become his tomb’
- will eat anything that is already contaminated such as pad thai in a box under its bed after its been there for a couple of months, pizza with shit on it; adores kombucha
- spells kum backwards 

2. snorlax
- much similar to muk in being a ‘big glob of shit’, snorlax will eat a bunch of mcdonald’s and fall asleep wherever it lands, it is the fattest pokémon and will block paths
- can only be woken up by some sweet music like björk, fiona apple, beach house, but most people don’t have access to these artists in their remote villages so hipster snorlax may remain asleep for quite sometime
- looks like a bear; a big gay bear 

1. diglett
- pretty much resembles a big piece of shit sticking up out of the ground and bobs in a ‘prairie-dog like’ form for the eternity of its life unless it evolves into dugtrio in which it suddenly forms two other pieces of shit which look a little ‘angrier’ than the original diglett but are still, in the end, three pieces of shit that must share a hole for the rest of their life
- only real move is ‘dig’ and no matter how far they dig into the ground they can never dig their own grave because they are pieces of shit—they are nothing
Walter Mackey

Valentine's Day Megapost

Many things came out on Valentine’s Day 2012. Most of them will be reviewed here. Some of the bigger things will be given due consideration and reviewed at a later point. Read on.

OKSTUPID by Walter Mackey
reviewed by Justin Carter

Walter Mackey wrote a story about love for Valentines Day. It is about Sarah and Greg. They meet through OkCupid. They are both depressed. Greg is in an emo band. They talk on AIM. They meet at a library. They discuss things like ‘being straight edge’ and ‘being vegan’ and ‘Skype sex’. The story is told in a very deadpan way. It reminds me of Tao Lin sometimes. It uses details to draw emotion out of the characters and the story.

I think the story here is interesting. I think the writing might be a little rough in spots but there is clearly a lot of emotion in the story. I think that the emotion and the way that Walter pays attention to small details and uses them to build up the characters is good. I feel like you should read this. I feel like Walter Mackey has a good grasp on human emotion. I am unsure how to comment on the Paul Cunningham controversy surrounding Walter because I have never read Zachary German. I don’t know. There is a gchat excerpt from Spencer Madsen and Stacey Teague at the beginning of this ebook and I find that interesting.

Pretty Flowers by Gabby Gabby

reviewed by Rachel Hyman

Gabby Gabby wrote a chapbook called “Pretty Flowers.” Pretty Flowers blows the Black Dot Series out of the water. True to its name, the words in the chapbook are pretty. They’re also conversational, and evocative, and sweet. I read the chapbook and imagined Gabby Gabby sitting on her bed, or maybe by a window, with a faint smile, speaking half to me and half to whatever’s out there. Pretty Flowers is wry but quiet in its beauty.

She says:

I don’t think I really like state fairs but I like the idea of being the type of person that likes state fairs.

I think if I tried hard enough I could really be that person.

She speaks of buying a corn dog just to hold it at the top of a Ferris wheel.

She moves from state fairs to the 50 states, wondering if the people on one side of Michigan miss the people on the other side.

She thinks about the square states in the Midwest, and how she would spend her whole life trying to be a circle if she lived in one of those square states.

She shows us, with a picture, how Virginia slopes upward or downward, depending on your point of view.

In one of the last few lines, she admits, “Maybe I am an optimist. At least for today.”

Reading Pretty Flowers makes me optimistic for the future of alt lit. It’s casually pretty, effortlessly touching, without being overly quaint or twee. Highly recommended.

Love Stories/Hate Stories by Russ Woods and Brett Elizabeth Jenkins

reviewed by Jackson Nieuwland

I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while

because Russ Woods has been one of my favorite poets for a while.

Once I made a facebook status update about how awesome Russ Woods is.

I don’t know anything about Brett Elizabeth Jenkins.

The concept is simple:

Russ wrote love stories

and Brett wrote hate stories.

These stories are in the form of poems.

These poems are my favorite type of poems.

They are short.

They are witty.

They are fun.

They are funny.

They explore the concept of the joke as poetry, which I am very interested in (the joke form is just begging to be utilized in poetry, right? Especially since failed jokes are always funnier than successful ones, right? (shout out to Adam Robinson)).

They are spare/minimalistic.

They are beautifully balanced (I love a poem that uses line breaks well like so many of these do) (the collection as a whole is also really well balanced because the two writers play off each other wonderfully. Maybe a few poems could have been cut though because a few jokes/references were recycled).

They are not obvious.

They are well laid out.

They are making me write a review that is so overwhelming positive that I want to think of a few detractors to throw in to make it seem more balanced…



Everything is fantastic

Kimbra by Zack Schuster
reviewed by B. Barrera
B. Barrera attends an MFA program in fiction at a university in America

"Love is like a silhouette in dreams." 

When Kimbra sings this line in a hot pink dress in the official Youtube video, I have no idea what she’s talking about.  Zack Schuster, in his story Kimbra, however, manages to turn this idea into something palpable in a relationship between two characters.  This story is made up of tiny moments, wiping a  stray hair from across the face of a beloved, feeling the cold on bare feet, and these tiny, stolen moments are all this couple has to work with as a relationship.  They seem to be “Cameo Lovers,” able to share only night time with each other until one of them is pulled away from their bed into the unremarkable realm of the awake.  There does seem to be something else hinted at about their relationship.  At one point the man leaves his sleeping lover voluntarily for—what?  an affair perhaps?  With such sparse prose it’s difficult to really tell what else is at the heart of their hurt, besides just never being awake at the same time, but there is definitely something deeper at work.

The prose, while sparing, is lovely.  The atmosphere of Kimbra is wistful and romantic, everything colored in black and white.  The warm, dark fullness of his lover’s hair and their bed together vs. the cold room, the man leaving the bed in his “tidy-whities,” a color palette worthy of Kimbra’s own signature look.  And the setting where the lovers finally meet, awake at the same time when their love becomes something real and not just a “silhouette” is suitably colored “brown.”  The use of Kimbra lyrics in between sections of prose is lovely, the black-and-white atmosphere of the silhouette love the characters have is perfectly heartbreaking, I just wish there had been a few more “brown” moments with the characters interacting, that they had really “opened up [their] heart to me,” instead of kept me at a distance.        

I’m going to fuck. And that’s a place you little asshole, not a verb by Pancho Espinosa
reviewed by Walter Mackey

If there is one thing Pancho Espinoza is good at, it is creating imagery. This little collection of poems completely blew me away when it comes to translating words into images in my fried little brain. From lines like ‘I’m like a Windows ‘98 screensaver at [night]’ to ‘I know there’s people lined up outside of Best Buy right now’—you really get a sense of how Pancho’s words form these beautiful pictures in your brain that you would have probably not even thought of if you hadn’t read this collection entitled ‘I’m going to Fuck and that’s a place you little asshole, not a verb’.

I thought it was really funny that Beach Sloth in his review decided to do some further research to find out if there was actually a place called ‘Fuck’. However, he states that ‘The title is incorrect. There is no place with the name ‘Fuck’. A town in Austria is called ‘Fucking’. Unsurprisingly that small town in rural Austria has a serious problem with people stealing its signs’ [Beachy Beachy Sloth Sloth 2012]. Nevertheless, I think there should be a place called ‘fuck’. I mean, in my province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, there is a place called ‘Dildo’. Yeah, I’m serious. Look it up. In the excerpt from the Dildo, Newfoundland wiki page, I think it’s really funny that it states ‘It is located on the southeastern Dildo Arm of Trinity Bay about 60 kilometres west of St. John’s’ [Wikipedia 2012]. I mean, I think ‘Dildo Arm’ just sounds a Hell of a lot worst than Dildo. Right? Upon hearing Dildo Arm, I just recall my first experience to a sex shop and being emotionally damaged for weeks.

The poem ‘yes, I am mulder and this is scully’ really reminds me of a Steve Roggenbuck poem. I can really picture Steve shouting in his Mr. Bean voice ‘i am like a retarded seven-year-old when I am with you’. Also, I think the poem at the end of this collection is Spanish. However, I don’t effing know because I’m from Canada and French is my second language. I’ll have to ask Jacob Steinberg about this because I don’t know if I could even have a conversation with Luna Miguel. I always click on the ‘view translation’ links on her statuses and they always appear in really broken English.

Overall, this was a really great collection. I felt depressed after reading most of these poems but I feel that is okay. I am depressed. I am really content with being depressed. It gives me character. It’s part of my ‘brand’. Being ‘depressed’ is totally ‘in’ these days. Feeling depressed? Pop a Xanax. Feeling depressed? Write a poem. Feeling severely depressed? Read ‘I’m going to Fuck and that’s a place, you little asshole and not a verb’.

Oh, also, Pancho Espinoza, I think your writing is incredible and your blog is even more perfect. I luv u, lil bb.

the moon looks red and the sky looks black by Keegan Crawford
reviewed by Justin Carter

Keegan Crawford completes the trifecta of the new emerging voices that I am about to, at this moment, dub the “Screaming Seahorsers.” (The others are Walter Mackey and Gabby Gabby). Keegan’s v-day release is in the form of these tiny little vignettes. The “forward” and “back” links in the collection function as part of the text also. There is a self-awareness in Keegan’s writing that I really like. Here is an example:

Sometimes I wonder if wearing enough black will make me completely invisible, and then I think about how that’s really dumb.

Every piece in this feels like it has strong emotions, but the language is very concrete, for the most part. The emotion in the text comes more from how the reader interprets the writing than from the writing itself. I hope that makes sense. Keegan shows very good control over the language of these pieces. They are easy to understand. Here is another example from the text:

Slow song and I hold you and you put your head on my shoulder and we kiss by a tree and try to find some other place to go but we go home instead and a couple years go by and I still have the ticket in a box in my closet and I still kiss you the same way.

Whereas, I think, other writers in the ‘alt lit’ scene would have a tendency to try to focus more on how these characters are feeling, Keegan gives us the details. He uses language that makes the details clear and forces the reader to understand perfectly what he is trying to say.

Other things that dropped on Valentine’s Day include:

-NAP Issue 2.3
-Pank Issue 7.2
-UP Issue 2
-i’m not a slut, i’m a romantic by Jacob Steinberg (paypal $1)