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Image by Priscilla M Rodriguez


We take our breathes silently and slow,
speaking hardly a word to each other.
Our stream of consciousness, a river of packages,
a machine humming its gears without pause and relent.
The higher it pitches the heavier it weighs,
the heat of the summer, mowing us down at every turn.
Wet towels wrapped around our skulls,
we tie ourselves down in hope of not losing our minds,
as our thoughts scatter to the sky like birds
underneath the hot rooftop,
our dreams kept under a frame of steel.

I can see the fan in his hand fluttering
like the wings of a butterfly trying to catch wind
on a whim that will carry him through summer.
My colleague is as exhausted as I am,
tongue half out like a hound gasping for air.

How will we come out the other side of the meat grinder?

How will we come out the other half of the year?

At the end of the shift I see someone igniting his cigarette
like a dimly lit sundown.
As if to sear through all the smog in the air
and set the fans in our hands on fire,
our little origami hopes, vacation plans
folded into spirit animals.

As if there was something building deep down inside us,
helping us to cross over
to the other side of the fence. 

Factory Line

I’m a poet with a purpose.
I’m a poet of the factory line,
every verse a machine
spitting out the so-called
human condition
back into your face.

The sound of a buzzer.
The ticking of a clock.
The wages you get per hour.
The way they fuck you up.

Here we are, standing proud,
dirt on our sleeves, shirts full of sweat,
bodies fighting through shifts,
their backs rebelliously aching.

My mind is a frame of steel
always spinning out of control.
My thoughts are marathons of labor
constantly gasping for fresh air.

The gears are calculated.
I am wild. A stallion 
constantly held on track
to keep production up,
to keep our numbers high.

Success is a drug
you get hungry for with time.

This machine needs fuel.
This machine needs food.
This machine draws blood.
This machine is us,
a human sacrifice.

Exploding verses on the page,
letters of fine print.


Blues howling out of the speaker. Hips
swinging to the song. Sorrow’s sweetness
swaying smoothly. The record is broken,
but yearning persists. Climbing across
the dents and scratches of its vinyl body,
its melody builds and builds and builds
until tension becomes a bridge surviving
the wound. What happens after this song
has reached its end? When the needle runs
in static circles but the hips still swing?
What becomes of the candle once our lips,
laid bare, have given its flame a final kiss?
What becomes of that bang of tenderness
dissipating from our mouths like smoke?
What becomes of the memory of us
and the echo that persists?

Daniel Schulz (he/him) is a U.S.-German writer, academic, and factory worker, known for his former work as curator of the Kathy Acker Reading Room at the University of Cologne, the personal library of the writer of Kathy Acker. Known as the editor of Kathy Acker in Seattle (Misfit Lit 2020), his work has also been published in various print and online journals such as Gender Forum, Fragmented Voices, Cacti Fur, Shot Glass Journal, Flora Fiction, Steel Jackdaw, Scavengers, and The Milton
Review. He has also appeared in anthologies and collections such as Heart/h (Fragmented Voices 2021) and the catalog Get Rid of Meaning (Walther König 2022). He is the author of two poetry chapbooks Welfare State and No Change to Abuse (Backroom Poetry 2023) and is currently finishing his PhD Discipline and Anarchy: the Labyrinthine Writing of Kathy Acker at the University of Cologne. IG: @DanielSchulzPoet


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