New Poetry: Schizo Reads a Tombstone on the Set of a Western by Jake Bailey

In “Schizo Reads a Tombstone on the Set of a Western,” the speaker experiments with language, imagery, and juxtaposition to create a collage-like poetics. The result of such experiments, behind a beautiful Western backdrop, is avant-garde art, in the lineage of e. e. cummings; in the lineage of Mina Loy; but, importantly, still Bailey’s own unique voice.


Schizo Reads a Tombstone on the Set of a Western

Coins in falling waters / A wish for more
++++++Train whistle mouths line the horizon
Vines escaping hands / Hands whispering

Voice like / Shame stretched
++++++Into copper
Ribcage split / Into laughter
++++++A basket of teeth

Beneath / The body is a wet-suit
++++++Strapped to storm
Storm stripping stems / Planted
++++++For years

Waxing rapture / Captured
++++++In irregular heartbeats
Meat wedded to wander / Blurred in machine

It means falling / Waters grasping hands
++++++Hands holding nothing
A hole where / Light escapes
++++++A hole
Without a shape



Jake Bailey

Jake Bailey is a schiZotypal experientialist and host of Poetry and Pot. He has published or forthcoming work in Abstract Magazine, The American Journal of Poetry, Constellations, Diode Poetry Journal, Guesthouse, Mid-American Review, Palette Poetry, PANK Magazine, Passages North, Storm Cellar, TAB: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics, Tar River Poetry, and elsewhere. Jake received his MA from Northwest Missouri State University and his MFA from Antioch University, Los Angeles. He is a former editor for Lunch Ticket and lives in Illinois with his wife and their three dogs. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram (@SaintJakeowitz) and at

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