Last Nickle Phone Call by Jeff Bagato

Houdini gawks into spirit world
when sudden punch sends him spilling
from his own guts, looking on a city
spread out pretty in the sunlit dawn,
yelling, “Holy centennial,” begins tapping
floor boards & table tops for all
to hear until Ouija offers
to channel phone calls from the other
side, slight of hand pitches letters
like Niagra falls, spraying tricks
& cinema miracles in a fount of new
wisdom—spelling: “see your
palm reader twice a year,
call psychic hotline, future world
reading is the real thing, crystal
ball television, horoscope tourniquet
not a noose but medical miracle
for the tomorrow-blind”—
Ouija pulls brake on her axle,
catching on metaphysical,
sending back: “please insert proper
nickle fee to continue your call”—
Houdini neglects coin-song jingle,
feels the cut, Ouija spelling his last
words then like spirit death—
“can the jive, however brighter
on the other side, need all the help
we can get”


A multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, Jeff Bagato produces poetry and prose as well as electronic music, glitch video, sticker art, and pop surrealism paintings. Some of his poetry has appeared in Empty Mirror, Futures Trading, In Between Hangovers, Otoliths, Your One Phone Call, and Zoomoozophone Review. His published books include Savage Magic (poetry), Cthulhu Limericks (poetry), The Toothpick Fairy (fiction), and Dishwasher on Mars (fiction). A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at


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