Dave Landsberger: Poems


Quiet tonight. Autumn evening’s onset
and the cicadas are dead.

Even the couch hates you,
or rather, the feeling you trudge out after waking on it.

Every time someone dies riding a horse I feel as if they deserve it.
When someone dies in a car, the moonroof must confuse them.

I prefer to be barefoot,
to eat grass with my toes, lavahop syringes.

How excruciating is the slow, cold, heating over of an unprotected cicada,
withering with each warbling Earth,

raise your hand if you were conceived at a barbeque.
This morning, a man sneezed outside at the bus stop:

so violently
my lover and I laughed ourselves awake into Thursday.

Scientists, in film and laboratories
have conjectured for years

as to the noise a pterodactyl makes.
Problem is, we keep learning more things.

This is the problem with most things.



One day I will die
doing that which I loved—
disrespecting the dojo
of earth.

born to die for wedding banquets,
eating creatures regardless,
filled with boring music.

The shopping malls of my childhood—
I’ll paint them
when I learn painting,
leaving space for neighborhoods

to blossom, and everyday
the internet rewards me
as the atmosphere rakes away choices.
Failure: it’s going around.



The strip of this town, the one I stop in, is meager. The Pizza Hut is open, and next to it is another building with the same ridiculous architecture: red trapezoidal Spanish roof, round keystone brick windows, broken panes of a neon sign—an abandoned Pizza Hut next to a newly installed Pizza Hut.

I just stood there, sweating, darning the hole in this diorama, assisting absurdity in my neon sunglasses as it attempted to hide behind the thin newborn trees of the parking lot. “That’s gentrification,” I said to no one, least of all the visored employee holding the door open, awaiting my entry after tossing garbage. The dumpster out back—invisible to me—perhaps a precise dumpster replica of the abandoned hut, and “You coming in, Sir?” and I closed my eyes, tried to envision that abandoned dumpster: faded green belly and stained black lid, yammering blathering nonsense like a pastoral animal’s lackadaisical tongue of infection.

Snow on the mountains
the valley below is nourished—
on back of the debit card: magnets.

Dave Landsberger is a poet from Chicago.  His book Suicide by Jaguar is forthcoming from Jai-Alai Press. He is a founding member of Poems While You Wait.


  1. […] Visual Arts by Carolennys Oullette, Madison Poulter, and Marcin Majkowski. Fiction by Claire Ibarra, Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams, Jeremy Townley, John Hough Jr.,  Justine Manzano, Matthew Dennis, Teresa Milbrodt, and Valerie Valdes, Nonfiction by J. Michael Lennon, Erin Khar, Rebecca Cook. Poetry by Dave Landsberger, Yaddyra Peralta, John Sibley Williams, Joseph Mills, Katharyn Howd Machan, and Patrick Williams. Interview with J. Michael Lennon. A Conversation Between Poets Yaddyra Peralta and Dave Landsberger. […]

  2. […] I would love for you to talk about the cicadas in IS IT THE SHOES? […]

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