from Insert Coin

by Joshua Zelesnick

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the drone operator flies along

the pathway of a dark wound

never treated, today is about

remembering those who died


the lightness of their hands, soft

sounds, utterances from there

to here, promises kept along

the way, and passages squeezed


through, the dusty edge

where the world explodes

again and again without even

a discussion, in the morning







the operator refuses

the bonus, points upward and says

what level is this, below the clouds

there’s a bubbling of


whirr sounds! could be an attack

so which way to go when nowhere

when god damn you! this is

the mirror level!


images appear then

disappear, cling on, laser

accurate penetration

to the soul, shaped like an eye







good banking is good citizen

shipwrecked without a safety boat

again, and the waves are almost

too much to take a look at me


my bobbing ears, I’m not

in the drone, my heart drenched, filling

with soggy future, its bell gone

deaf in its place, just a humming


cover my head and force me where

heroes get too big to fall, I

could only win when I climbed back

down the stalk to earth, no more







terror as an assembly line

refrain, who looks in and who

looks out windows screens is actually

only one way of looking, OUT


how to look back into the camera

becomes the subject of the new

documentary series, a scream

like script I am hinting at, banks,


exxon, teledyne, et al. don’t give

a damn about you, just push murder

paper around all day, we say here

a coup, there a coup, clicks into place







I confess to you my sins

petal-shaped around the edges

as a way to escape

my big and ugly center


what happens when the risks

are entirely one-sided

keeps repeating in my head

can hear the stone and dirt collapse


glass from windows all of it

scratch into each other

until finally a pile, as if

an asteroid drifts by, wipeout