Leveler Poetry Journal
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incentive salience, a system of motivation to run wild



perhaps distance is protection, a way of dealing with threats of all kinds, actual or imagined. reduction

continues with labels: i’m proud to say i am.


the city fades as murals beside playgrounds. i say, try to see the sky before you sleep—shooting stars will

never be predictable, thus always anticipated.


this should have been over long ago: the gray area is dangerous territory. in nature, all beautiful things are

poisonous or impractical.


deception comes in every form: bright toads and peacock feathers. certain actions you cannot undo. let us

decide against clipped desires, forced laughs.


mediocrity passes for enough. after youth, we realize simple happiness is all we’re going to get. settle for our

bodies, our hearts full of errors.

O. Ayes