Dockyard Press


Three Poems — 7 March 2021

by Zak Mucha

The Meat Empire

The sausage king of Moscow was found zip-tied and run through with bolts like St. Sebastian in bed.

Impatient extortionists let his girlfriend slip away to collect her cut after they ditch the

car and crossbow and do something with the other guy they left drugged and cuffed to the bed in their flat.

One last job, just like they say in the movies, to reach the land of Crown Royal bikini tops,

shopping mall lots filled with camouflaged Hum-vees, and Jason Stratham movies that have a sense of humor.

The Fly

The patron saint of second place check his numbers on Wednesdays and Saturdays, knowing end times come

gently with soft thuds at twilight in fields where men jump from barn gables to meet The Man mid-air.

Just one fly was the debate’s surprise. That guy should have been covered head-to-toe within the hour,

choking from bees born in his mouth like Candyman, a rain of black frogs dotting the studio floor.

Jesus could have stepped on stage, shaking the Buddha’s other sandal from his crook like clicking batteries

into a sock, ready to sift wheat from the tares right before the cameras cut away.

Ghazals for Fat Possum Records

They ran out of North Mississippi bluesmen grown old with swollen ankles, bad hearts, and diabetes,

shirtless in their front yards, cigarettes dangling, posing as if they didn’t give a damn or as

if they didn’t know any eyes were on them. Or as if they had no say or as if maybe they

were in on the white boys’ opportunism long after the first waves of dry recitations.

R.L. slipped from the hospital like Lazarus calling for a wire transfer to the casino.

More white boys who couldn’t sit behind the beat brought the first Theremin to Oxford screaming drunk.


One Rockefeller cannot feed a whole tribe. R.L. reimagined trickster tales of late-night,

pajama-clad, panic attacks shared by Hitler and Tojo hiding with their heads in paper sacks.

And a little monkey, who was actually the probation officer, forcing his way into

the bigger animals’ party, badge hidden, with a front pocket of whiskey and a ass pocket of gin.

The student’s watch and glasses were left behind on an old canoe, his dissertation in his dorm room,

a signal to Mom buried in the scratches of open note hillbilly music before the war.


She responded with a quarter-million dollar reward for information on her boy. Fortune

hunters and documentarians paralleled the shore as arrows plinked the water. Customer

survey cards would fall from Fat Possum packaging, questions mocking embedded race and class issues:

“Where at you get this?” “Where you stay?” “How much money you make?” And above an empty rectangle, the

instruction: “Trace your house key in this box.” The joke died with R.L., leaving British aristocrats

to simulate music of the antebellum south on Jumbotron screens in exchange for your rent.

#ZakMucha #Poetry #DockyardPress


A Street-Level Classic — 14 January 2021

The Herald has reviewed The Heavyweight Champion of Nothing:

“Today, Zak Mucha is a psychotherapist living and working in Chicago. But in a previous existence he used to haul furniture, and this novel is inspired both by his own experiences and those of clients he’s treated who were stuck in dead-end jobs and turned to crime. His narrator is Johnny, “an average guy with a babyface”, who has worked for a removal-truck business for five years and fallen in with the “bad boys” on the team. When not griping about their bosses, customers and working conditions, they’re copying keys and robbing homes, fencing stolen goods through a crooked antique dealer – until, inevitably, the law closes in. In prose that’s blunt, direct but eloquent, Mucha summons up the reality of being stuck in no-future jobs and dysfunctional relationships, of men whose lives are defined by tedium, inertia, resentment and empty rituals. A novel that deserves recognition as a street-level classic.”​

#ZakMucha #TheHeavyweightChampionOfNothing #Fiction #Novels #DockyardPress


Latest Novels from Dockyard Press: Belfas Neo-Noir, Chicago Working Class Crime, & Zombies At Christmas — 7 December 2020

Today we announce the release of three books by authors new to Dockyard Press: The Night before Christmas of the Living Dead, a holiday-themed zombie thriller by M.V. Moorhead; The Heavyweight Champion of Nothing, a Chicago novel of working-class disillusionment—and burglary—by Zak Mucha; and Shot, by Gerard Brennan, the first in a new Northern Irish crime series featuring Shannon McNulty, a former London cop gone home to contend with the murder of her gangster uncle and the disappearance of a politician’s daughter. All titles are available as e-books through our in-house store, and in paperback at all discerning bookshops.

#GerardBrennan #MVMoorhead #ZakMucha #DockyardPress #DockyardPressBookShop