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