Emil Bennett Learns Something About the World

The air shrinks, crowds thicken-over–
Emil Bennett is the ant under
the Earth’s palm.

All the bodies are pushing against him.
All the lights are tracking him.
Bennett’s lived here for many years
but now he walks faster home.

The pale man sees him waiting
to cross the street, trails him
but Bennett only moves faster,
just wants to see his room

The pale man has gotten him.
How ’bout this heat? Bennett nods.
Taking the bus? Bennett looks
at the man’s greasy, white face.
Warm breathe. You know the benches
in the park, now they’ve got armrests
in the middle. It’s so the homeless
don’t sleep on them.
Emil Bennett
doesn’t say a thing.

Emil Bennett

Is present once again
in his blackened room,
hears songs in the trees.
The window glows: the sun
reaches all, and doesn’t care
about your comb-over.

Darkness leaves the world,
life refills the street:
cars commuting, bodies shifting
across concrete, passing
familiar others. Emil enters.

He watches the girl
over there: greasy black hair,
paled skin. She is pretty
in her damaged way.
Emil shoves away
Those thoughts, bites
into his McMuffin:
these are getting better.

Slow through the park,
Emil lingers. Joggers in their routes,
a Frisbee keeping itself in the air
until sputtering in the trim grass–
Emil overlooks everything.

He sees the marks glow
underneath his secretary’s
sleeves. He staggers over,
smiling, “I heard what you said,
that your girlfriend broke-in
and bit you in the arm.
If you need to, you can
stay at my place
for a while.” She smiles
a smile Emil’s been aware of
since middle school,
when girls wouldn’t even look
at him and his acne-scars twice.

He opens his door, and walks
within the black, only outlines
of things show. He flips the light
switch. Only he can alter this world.

Christmas Poem

At six Grandpa’s hands were calloused.
He leaped onto beaches, over wires,
dying to meet evil’s swelling.
Four brothers dead. He limped
to the factory for decades.

Grandpa thrusts his rant
from his aching
lungs. Mother listens
every Christmas
about the War and his

(Left in silence is the nigger’s
teeth planted on the lawn,
and her brother.)

This generation doesn’t know!
He settles on the couch, coughs
hard into his handkerchief.
Their damn ipods and gizmos!

(I watch
Grandpa’s wrinkly face.
I smile, and laugh with him.)

Mother fixes her hands
to the tree. She can’t think
about her brother being
disowned years ago.

The Hack

I walk in and Brad offers to show me another card trick; I humor him. He’s a tall, middle-aged man whose spent much of his life dedicated to one thing. Most of the time he’s morose creature, but there are more amusing instances where he turns into an animal recently released from his cage. He tries to suppress himself, modulating each word to the same volume. He hates “modern magic” which he insists isn’t really magical at all, but dangerous and nonsensical tomfoolery. But his anger isn’t most concentrated on the likes of Criss Angel, but puppet comedians. He sits his faded, black top hat onto his balding head and begins to perform.

[Unemployed magician Brad the Brilliant on the talentless prick Jeff Dunham]

The stage is his and the audience
has already collapsed into
his cum-encrusted fingers.
His hand dances in the ass
of a Southern cartoon, making the Yanks piss
with enjoyment. I like Nascar!
Oh you, oh you! But I don’t blame
the dolts in his grasp, I’m not swollen
with contempt–it’s fun
to laugh at the dirty, dumb
beer bellied cousin-fucker,
or the ancient crank who never used
a cell phone, or the Mexican.
I don’t even blame the jackass onstage,
the empty hack, rich, and poor
because of it. He will be swallowed
in dust and nothing will remain there.
He’s in his gold mansion, spending
fifteen minutes on hackneyed jokes
and the voice that will justify them.

He will be gone.
And so will you,
but great monuments
are released from the torrent
of dust and the leveling of time–
I’m not fueled with disdain, I’m not
fueled with envy. I cannot be. I have to be
focused, my hands continuously carve, unbroken
from their duties. The dummies can keep
their hacks, their fading con men, their smug asswipes, I will be forever,
if I play my cards right.