Leveler Poetry Journal
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every time i hear the word ‘combo’ all i can see is a giant crocodile

crushing something in its death roll



your shit is broken


you are a factory building a burning cloud


that follows you everywhere and spits down on everything with shit


and can be returned to the burning cloud factory for a full refund


because it is broken


go plant a tree and watch it grow


go open your internet browser and refresh it


until your shit is no longer broken


why is the sun always so far away from me


it’s supposed to be a while before it breaks


come here sun


i want to show you my collection of encyclopedias


that i scratch over with ink one page at a time


and then breathe the ink-smell so you seem closer


‘vaccine’ is derived from a word meaning ‘of, or pertaining to cattle’


‘pandemonium’ is the name of satan’s palace in the center of hell


i saw a house dismantled once


until only the pipes were left


it looked like an arthritic hand


searching for the center of arthritis


and the center of arthritis was friendly


but unprepared for vengeance


the atom is almost entirely empty


its parts spin around some dream


wondering if it is ever real


listen to my eyelid collapse


and then climb open again


like a tiny human


impaled on the tusk of a galaxy


carry a calendar around and fill every box with ‘did not escape’


keeping up with days is like a word with a lot of i’s


after you finish writing the word you still have to go back


and put the dots on all the i’s


count the number of times in one day you think


every choice is simultaneously a rejection of everything that i do not choose


multiply that number by a hundred


if your number is less than a hundred write it on some paper


and nail the paper to your door


so i can recognize the homes where shit is broken


winter is like a skull summer is like kicking open the skull


heraclitus wrote


‘on those stepping into rivers the same, other and other waters flow’


rousseau wrote


‘man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains’


i feel like my shit might be breaking


the lake portion of me is drying up


the lake portion of me contains a disturbed outdoorsman


the lake portion of me will be dwindling when you build your fucking ridiculous mansion on my shores


and then 50 years later the lake will be gone and everyone will say


who would build a mansion on that dead gaping crater


i am like the car from christine


blind and evil


and relentlessly hunting your broken shit


the earliest human emotional state is ‘unstoppable blemish’


look it up


and then pour highlighter juice on your face


so you will be highlighted


and not go unobserved


all the light that touches us is old light


so we are like victims of the universe’s sexual assault


and there is no protection save for darkness


put yourself in a plastic bag


so nothing can stain you


put yourself in a plastic bag and intentionally forget


to write an expiration date


no one will know whether or not you are expired


if you can’t be a dying star you can at least be obliterated by one


if you can’t wear the highlighter juice your environment will consume you


cut off pieces of letters and splice them onto other letters


and work the new letters in between the old letters


until words won’t fit in our mouths and we develop telepathy


mechanical rubble


shoved into your hippocampus


and building a temple there for decades


writing looks like tortured worms pulling themselves from the dirt so they don’t drown when it rains


everything i think feels like it’s written


on a pile of bricks with a black sharpie


everything you say sounds like it’s covered


with bandages made of crest teeth-whitening strips


i am a failed nutrition tunnel


do not attempt to freshen me


time steals everything backwards


you smell good


no wait i mean bad


but in a good way


i’m so sick of karate being in everything


and feeling like i have to do flips and somersaults, verbally or otherwise


let’s inhabit the powerhouse of emotions


and mine the megatons of coal required to produce the emotions


and touch each other with the correct specifications


because the iamb is said to represent the heartbeat


and the center of the earth is a giant iron fist


churning a perversely slow metrical form


which is often called ‘horizon’


let the horizon sneak up on us one last time


pig pile on regular earth


regular earth loses




James Schiller