We Live In a Permanent State of Cleanup

We can survive on oil and meat for years in this bunker

You eat your heart out

The hole is the good: goods come from holes

A team of anthropologists were digging in the Sahara for bones in a middle-Paleolithic cemetery but found oil – it was hypothesized then that oil was seen by this prehistoric tribe as having shaman-like spiritual qualities – after more digging, a vast series of oil wells and human graves were uncovered that stretched for miles – the anthropologists suggested that oil was crucial in the evolutionary stages of homo sapiens – a special attachment to oil must have materialized at the same time as language and possibly music first emerged in humans

All poetry lines are pipelines

These poems could cost up to $30 billion, but the poetic way of life is not up for negotiation

As the State declares oil as 3/5ths of a person

Years later a second team of anthropologists returned to the site of the first cemetery/oil well discovery – they hypothesized that oil was not viewed as a substance of spiritual power by ancient humans, but rather was understood as a slow, living clock – because humans were being buried in oil, the anthropologists argued that ancient humans understood that oil was an organic substance that came from previous life – to be buried in oil meant being buried in life – with the passage of time, out of this life, new life forms would emerge, hence the belief in oil as a kind of clock of the living – some anthropologists suggested burying animals in the oil to prove how the clock system worked

Dominant psychological state shifting from depression to compression

Insurance now requires all minds to be double-hulled, since single hulls breach when beached

Like a horse-drawn carriage suddenly appearing in the street in the middle of the day, seething with tea


Joshua Schuster teaches English at the University of Western Ontario. He has two chapbooks from Handwritten Press, including Theatre of Public Safety (2008). He is currently writing a book on modernist American poetry and the difference between environments and environmentalism.

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