Levi Andrew Noe




A Conspiracy of Chapstick

I think it’s for the same reasons
that artists do their best work
when they’re heart shattered, tormented
or why musicians make better music
when they haven’t been sober
for longer than they can remember.

It is these tragedies and masochisms
that invoke the muse.
She won’t just rake her sweet claws
upon the face of any desperate simpleton.

So instead of wondering where
the inspiration is I have modified
the questions: What sacrifices of body,
soul or mind have I slit the throat of lately?
What atrocities have been committed upon
my person? Am I walking the edge of the blade
of sobriety quite properly?
If I must imagine or dig too deep
for an answer I know quite objectively
that as a would be writer
I have not earned my keep.

So if tonight I am outside of your window
wooing you even though I know
full well that your husband sleeps
beside you,
or if tomorrow you see me
on the sleaziest corner of the
most syphilitic street, don’t
approach, don’t try to intervene.
I’m researching, I’m working
for the Muse’s most measly
seeds of devastation.

Because it is too well known
that it isn’t perseverance or
dedication that publishers sell.
It isn’t a five course meal
of balanced craft, invention, and syntax
that waters the mouths of the critics.
It is the raw, festering wounds of
suffering and martyrdom
that give readers a reason
to lick their lips,
and buy more chapstick.




Levi Andrew Noe was born and raised in Denver, CO. Levi won first prize in 2011 and 2013 in Spirit First’s international poetry competition. His works have appeared in Twisted Vine, River Poets Journal, Elephant Journal, and Japan Travel, among others.   He is the editor in chief and founder of the podcast Rocky Mountain Revival, Audio Art Journal, which can be found on iTunes or Stitcher.  Podcast: http://rockymtnrevival.libsyn.com

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