three poems - Levi Rubeck

Levi Rubeck is a poet and critic from Wyoming, though his day job is at MIT Press in Cambridge, MA. He was an editor at NYU's Washington Square Review, is a co-editor at the online journal Paperbag, and writes on games for Kill Screen. More info can be found at


At the foot of paradise

I think only

of the time I wasted

draining my pen

to the gurgle.

My co-pilots

brought pencils,

Russian cowboys

wrangling against

the future.

I heard they even

ground out any

love of cooking

they might have had

before the trip

so they wouldn’t

miss it.

They wait in line

to pray. They

could learn some things

from me, like

a proper pirouette

on the fuselage

or the tiny joy

in expensive things.

My money lines the hull

and it just burns me up.



Heaven's residents

have gone full-feral,

leaving me here to punch up

the season finale. I'm thinking:


sexy border patrol, plucked

chickens in sombreros

and grand wizard regalia,

enough to embarrass

the moldiest state-run rags


There's no action

in the bunny clouds of paradise.

It's why everyone reads

the first volume and moves on.


Suffice to say I'm unimpressed

with the security and the spread.

Thirsty years mostly remembered

is a fair bit of living.


even without the cuts

and the fratricide.

So roll back the tape

and let me off at the recap.