Four Poems by Jake Levine

The Knife

Say high to your mom because the stars blink for us
parenthetically crooked like blow on a mirror.
This is a passion pit full of sleepyheads that edges
over a sociological pulpit as dense as Tecate on the tongue
without a lime. What else is there? Royksopp.
Understand me anywhere you look. Still night
is still life. My moon, my man, it’s time to pretend
I’m the last man standing, and these young folks
at breakfast are compromising our electronic renaissance, offensive
to our collective intelligence. The magic spells omelets cast turn
any restaurant into a crystal castle with its oohs and aahs,
but I’m the knife, I’m girl’s night out, someone great.
Zap, zap in our marble house.
Breathe, destroy everything you touch.




I’m a kid, the best I can, but the best I can is not enough.
Tomorrow they’ll be no conversations. That’s human
behavior in a violent yet flammable world. This is the bird
of music. This is ice cream. This is the new pony club.
I can spell what you can’t say. Day, let me make your mouth
run dry. What you want. What you need: A cyber-criminal
like a wraith pinned to the mist. Forget. Pretend we don’t exist.
We’re like Antarctica.
Blame it on Blondie. Blame it on Berryman.
Blame it on how they don’t love you like I love you. Now,
don’t stray way out. In the waters, see us, with your plump feet,
courtship dating in our sleep. Wait, they don’t love you.
Swim through icebergs, to find –
like I love you, where is my mind?




Lost marbles are exploded evidence and it’s blitz in this dull life.
We steal the night in the deep cuts made by our heartbeats. I am a technology
professional. I am writer’s block, a nation called Amsterdam. You can’t hurry
love, hurry the supreme wait. It’s like I like drugs, but must have clarity of mind.
It’s like a supercomputer in an avalanche. It’s like a clash of oh my god,
whatever, etc… like beating on a wall for the very first time like an easy tiger.
Like folding a card table. Like someone you used to know that you made hard
and scarred, it’s your show, like blow drying a muffin warm. Like I’ve got to let you.
Got to leave you. Making mistakes and being forgiven. It tastes like magic to me.
It’s got to be you, changing your mind. You do it all the damn time. Lend me a piece
in this strict machine. We are 17, we are glitter, we are the final score: inevitable.
We come from the north. We share our mother’s health, a silent shout
reverberating in the cave named hellish business. We are the knife fight
conducted in bear suits, the battle, broken, bruising individual experience.



I Can See A Lot Of Life In You

Forever young in casino twilight, your dress looks nice. I can see a lot of life in you.
We’re in a catholic youth group.
We’re into satanic worship. No one deserves our health
care or a chance and here by the roulette table you can catch people gambling
their dreams vertiginously asway on the sharp end of a needle that shoots a thousand
flights into the reflection of electricity that pierces the darkest part of the night sky.
Everybody’s changing hope into fear, death into a profitable industry, and I don’t know
why. I like Las Vegas, but gimme fiction. Gimme fiction, America, because I never got you.
The morning bell soft shocks constantly the head of an amnesiac, our nation’s head.
These are the days of demons, the days ripe with bananas, overflowing from the lips of evil
tea which tastes a lot like exstacy. Real real bad. Real bad bad. And when you order
your pastrami and swiss it occurs to you that you may be eating a mother and her milk,
are a part of the only species that eats an entire family of animals at a single family gathering.
And at night, through the backyards of our neighbors, we are the knife, stabbing like a pen.



Jake Levine is a director at Summer Literary Seminars and is an editor at Spork Press and just got back from a Fulbright in Vilnius, Lithuania, and has a chapbook, and has poems on the interwebs and elsewhere and is on youtube and has taught at Arizona and at Chax Press and also served on the POG board of directors and curated the reading series Aural Pleasure Party and Poetry Fuckfest in Tucson and was Editor in Chief at Sonora Review and got his MFA at Arizona. He likes Tucson and recently marched in NYC with OWS down Lafayette. He is also the translator of Tomas “Slombas” Butkus. A book he translated is called God / Thing, with an audio / visual element done by the concrete bunnies. You can check that out if you’re in Lithuania.

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