Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio

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Information about Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio

Published on January 7, 2013

Author: BenWright1



15 pages of selected poetry

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 1Breakup PoemFor years I have tried to write a poem to you,acting as if it were a gift to bequeath; a poem that wouldrest lopsided on your head and pinch your scalp; a poemthat would scratch its thoughts onto your skull and neverbe read again; a poem that existed as a singularity.The poem ached between my ribs.The poem wanted more than anything to be in the ground.Before, I believed you were not worthy of my words,but they were just being rude. The more I thought aboutthe poem, it became The Poem,a Platonic ideal of cigarette smoke and what I wanted to be in adolescence,tired from all the thinking. The Poem has whispered at me lately,filled my limbs with fluid.Once, when I thought about you, I cried because there was too much,but now theres only a phantom limb foldedunderneath me. The Poem kisses me where you once did.I realized, then, that The Poemwas neither a present nor a parasite but insteadthe feral twin of our civilized love, that itbreathes heavily looking through your blindsat night before licking my ears with thoughts.Thinking about you, The Poem punched a fractal into the wall,while the poet sat in his chair.

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 2AbeyanceDo not forget the sky has other zones,I tell my son, tethered to a tangle oftubes and monitor wires, chest floatingslightly above the hospital bed.I ask him what color the barn is,what his favorite flavor of ice cream is,if he wants three scoops or two,if he can wait just a little longer.A drop of condensation,a vein on the window distracts him.This year, a late hoar frost killed the crops.A bloom of ink invades a brain.The threat to lifeisn’t the cold, but the ice. In seventh grade, we froze frogsin an ice cube tray & forgot about them,until the flood.They are putting tubes in my son’s nose, draininghis fluid. The secret to staying alive isn’t the freeze,it’s the thaw. Tell that to the mammoths. Tell thatto the taiga.My son is eased into a machine. He is scared,I am not.The doctor is pointing to his nose with his right hand& then his left. Does darkness eat up the light ordoes the absence of light negate the darkness therein?A machine hums him to sleep.Somewhere, citrus rots under the ice.In the morning, stray dogs press up against the glass.The sky looks like grey matterdiscontent with its potential.

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 3CognizanceThere’s something to be said for a noncommittal memory—recalling, but only sometimes, the precise moment of the fire,the subtle twist of pollen in the air,blackflies swarming around an eyeball. Orthe first time she saw him and it wasn’t momentous.The time lightning struck the field and a herd of cattlelay down. The winter it was so coldthe trees exploded. The time she saton the swing and cried and cried ,tearing up the soil with her feet.Someone dumped paint in the yardand the grass never grew back.Then, absence.A curious state of neurological nothingness;synapses firing into ether. A blank slateshovels food into a mouth,reciting the same poem to the walls.Her brain is a fire underground,asphalt hot to the touch,a pane of glass that a toddler doesn’t see,a sneeze while barreling down the interstate,a chair waiting to be sat onso it will finally break.A pickaxe buries itself into a block of iceand she is there,licking its side.

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 4Mel’s Hole**Mel’s Hole is a purported geographic anomaly “discovered” by a caller, Mel, on the radio show Coast to Coast AMIt all made sensewhen we threw the cows in.They didn’t want to go, of course, and the dogswouldn’t come near the damn thing, so we yelledand screamed and shoved until they were forcedover the edge, one after another mooing and groaning,their tails flapping in the wind for the secondswe saw them fall, before it was too dark.My son grew up throwing rocks into it with his friends,then trash, then booze and cigarettes.When the bull kicked our favorite dog we tookhis broken moist body and wrapped itin his favorite blanket,and we dropped him into the hole.His flannel coffin muffled the sound of his still-warm body.We tied fishing line together80,000 feet’s worth, eighty-thousand by God,and we attached a thermometer and a bucket and a rock,but it still didn’t reach the bottom,and when we reeled it all up,the rock was gone and the thermometer had shattered,and in the bucket were a finger, a cow skull, and a letter:Dear Surface,Sometimes I cannot tell if youare walking on top of me or vice versa oreven if our footsteps match each other’s, if Newtonwas being literal,things fall toward you and I don’t knowif the world is in love or I am.Everything was covered with frost.Come winter, the snow was seventeen feet thick.We were lying on top of the drifttrying to feel the emptiness below uswhen the dead dog came back;same collar, same bark,nipping at the heels of some invisible draft animal.When our neighbors threw their trash down the holeit was a reverent act, as if

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 5the hole had some wisdom in its absence.On the first day of spring, sunlightpressed down on thirty head of cattle,dead and laid in a circle head to tailon our front lawn, their bones embeddedin the growth of trees all around,as if they had been therethe whole time.A cloud of smoke rose and fell,as if the hole was breathing.Our chimney crashed downand began to sink asevery material possession we had left crumbledinto wood dust.We shot a bullet down the hole, hopingthe bottom would be takenby surprise.First, we lowered my son as an experiment,along with months of food and water.We instructed him to pull on the linewhen he got scared.After three days of unspooling,we thought we felt something,but it was only our shaking hands.My neighbor threw downa box of matches and oil soaked rags.We sent more and more peopleafter him until the worldhad followed.I imagined asking the hole what it was liketo have the whole worldinside of you,and the hole said,Ask the sky.And when I finally climbed down,I stared at the sun until I couldn’t tellif it was dark or I was blind.I felt fourteen billion hands pass me,and heard someone lighta far-off match.

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 6CharityAfter Mark StrandI give up my toenailswhich no longer protect me from the cold.I give up the air in my lungs,out of pressure.I give up my eyes, shrinesto something ancient.I give up the tip of my tonguewhich no longer pleases you.I give up my calluses for the waythey rub against each other.I give up the stagnant bottoms of my feetin an effort to streamline my life.I give up, I give up.I give up the enamel of my teeth.I give up my blanketswhich just wanted to lie in the trash anyway.I give up my neck whichis tired of turning.I give up my death which breathes heavyin the corner each night.I give up my thighs,wrapped around a secret.I give up my penis and bury it for later.I give up my ribs which were dust from the beginning.I give up my tendons which wrap aroundmy bones, trying to get them to stay,lovers at an airport.I give up my voice, crystal sculptureon my grandmothers shelf.I give up my glasses,reminders of what I cant see.I give up my knees so everythingstands straight.I give up the idolatry of your body,stone tablets crashing over my skull,the gold melted down for some other godwhich will be outlawed next week.

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 7SpectrumSometimes it’s hard to tellif the leaves are cockroaches at night,if the soft pop-pop-pops down the road are firecrackersor death breaking the sound barrier,or how much time is really between your breaths.Once, at a funeral, I mistook a floral arrangementfor an archangel,and pity for grief.After the first mouse was caught, we kept seeing more of them.A sock on the floor, ghost walking up the steps.We listen to the baseball game on the radio,watching the rocking chair move on its own.The microwave warms itself.A cold spot on the ground grows like an amoeba.Before we pulled the blanket away like magiciansunveiling the chair underneath,the vents moaned and smelled like death.A cat watches a spot on the wall,tail flicking back and forth. A lightenters the wall and disappears, andbrushing your teeth you can feel someonebreathing on your neck.When I was 7,you let go of the steering wheel,but I could not tell the differencewhen you were in control.

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 8Bible BeltHere, the land is mostly unassuming. You may wish to count the churches on the corner, read theirwitty signs. You may be seduced by the family-friendly atmosphere or the haunted houses wherepeople apologize for scaring you, but its for your own good. You dont want to count the grams ofsugar or the money; theres never enough. You may be unaccustomed to the weight that now sleeps inthe small of your back. This, the weight of your transgressions, is normal, briefly forgotten about in theheavy nights when it blends in with everyone elses. Along the highway, ignore the abject poverty andfeel the glory somewhere within, but dont ask me where it comes from. Sometimes, you swear you cansee the light come out of their mouths.

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 9SnarlHer skin tells me its secrets; every pore secretestiny, flammable puffs of honesty that are lostin our breath.In the morning,her bones tell me, we will achefrom our promises.

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 10STS-107I dont think we need to knowthe reasons for the crash orthe trajectory of the fall,why I woke up that morning and turned on CNN,how we were so eager to sit in front of the TV again,why the comet of its death caught a piece of sunlightand turned the screen white, why I calledmy father and urged him Wake up,something is happening,why the map of the debris looked like a pillowor what the nematodes onboard thoughtof the weightlessness, then the shaking,the fire, the fall. We dont need to knowthe histories of the hair that fellin clumps from the skyor the excitement of discoveringanother piece of the remains in a field.We need to knowthe warehouse, the masking tape outlineof the shuttle voluminous in its loss,the pieces stacked inside it. We needto file past it slowly, let our mothersdab our eyes with used Kleenex, let otherssee our backs on the screen,let them see usin the wayof the empty coffin.

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 11A Table at the 2009 Convention of the Georgia Association of Funeral DirectorsNext to me are merchantsof a better post-death experience; workshopson upselling caskets, the latest in preservation technology.There are slides of made up faces,threads in their cheeks tugging musclesinto Mannerist smiles or the lopsided grinof a stroke victim, workshops on dealing with the hysterical.I used to want to style the stars,a presenter says too close into the microphone,but its easier when your clients cant complain.Theres a hush of laughter over the roomwhich gets lost near the ceiling.I go home with pamphlets about prewritten eulogies,Mad Libs to the afterlife, the value of thecustomer experience at your funeral home,the business card of a man who specializes in casketsfor the morbidly obese.This table has paper over it,a hospital gown. The woman next to meis painting her fingernails red and not paying attention.I wrote a note on my legal pad:Add a bright red baseto combat the pallor. The presentertells a story about howshe colored a client’s hair oncebut it grew before the viewing.The guests complained about the rootsbefore the the driving, the procession,the digging, the quiet of the night,the sound of footsteps somewhere close.

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 12Canon(After Gil Scott-Heron)The revolution will be televised,recorded from a previous broadcast, with afive second delay so censors can silence certainwords, mouth moving unanimously,devouring the competition.The revolution releases a puff of fragranceevery twenty minutesso it can forget what the outside smells like.The revolution requests you take your shoes offbefore stepping on the carpet.The revolution is brought to you with limited commercialinterruption thanks to our sponsors.The revolution has immunity in the next elimination.The revolution is available for votingafter tonights broadcast.The revolution is hanging on by a chad,burning up in the blogosphere at terminal velocity,flecks of paint flying off and hissing green on the horizon.The revolution is an acronym.The revolution will build you a house in seven days,it will give you a new nose,a blepharoplasty, a facelift,it will repair your inverted nipple and remove your molesone by one picking them like scabs. It will augment yourbuttocks, give you calf implants, vaginoplasty, otoplasty,botox, microdermabrasion, scalp lift, tummy tuck,birthmark removal, and when you die and enter Heaven,naked and faceless, shimmering in the after-death,no one will be able to recognize you.The revolution will spread like a virusfrom computer to computer and into ourglass hands.The revolution kills 99.99% of germs,including flu virus.The revolution is allergic to pet dander and peanuts and citrus.The revolution buys gluten-free and drinks soy milk,afraid of everything it is supposed to be afraid of.The revolution has duct taped the seams of its life,finding comfort in the violent ripping sound of tape being born.The revolution measures the squarepounds of carbon dioxide in its breath, marking each one

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 13with a fingernail on the wall of its room.The revolution practices preventative medicineand trusts no one but itself.The revolution asks you, politelyand in a squeaky voice, to Watch and Discuss,to See What Happens, but never do.The revolution sometimes buys a Big Mac but feels bad afterward.The revolution carpools, driving in its special lane and watchingothers pass by.The revolution learned about sex by watching the Discovery Channeland porn, kissing its lovers in the frantic open mouthedmethod of chimpanzees.The revolution is the true story of seven strangerspicked to live in a house to work togetherand have their lives taped to see what happenswhen people stop being polite and start being real.The revolution never picks the right case of money.The revolution didnt vote becauseit stayed in bed. The revolution will be bought byRupert Murdoch for $327 million in cash.The revolution cannot locate Iraq on a map,or name the vice president. The revolutiondoes not consist of superdelegates or RSS feeds.The revolution will be prosecuted by the RIAAfor humming certain tunes.The revolution gets tramp stamps.The revolution sleeps soundly at night,plugging its ears and self medicating against the ancient and forgottensighs that the earth shudders with at nightand the slow inevitable toxic push of the atmosphere.The revolution is a simulcast tonight.The revolution existswaiting to be hand delivered to its next location.The revolution sleeps withits teachers as a prerequisite.The revolution has Restless Leg Syndromeand acute asthma and is pre-diabetic andhas a BMI that is slightly off.The revolution may cause drowsiness, decreased libido,and may put certain people at risk for heart attack, liver or kidney failure,so ask your doctor before starting the revolution.If you have an erection lasting more than four hours,the revolution congratulates you.While drunk and alone (again),

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 14the revolution called its ex and justbreathed.The revolution tried to instant messageits soul and only a robot responded.The revolution unconsciously puts its phoneto its ear whenever it is speaking.The revolution wants to be touched by someonebut doesnt want to be infected.The revolution always is upsold. All therevolution needs is a reboot and itll be fine.The revolution finds comfort in the nothing hummingof a computer.The revolution sits around in roomsdoing drugs to pontificate about the worldwith the window open so arteries of ozonecan thread its nose.The revolution plays choking gameswith itself.The revolution is afraid of its pastand sings sad songs about it later,speaking in private metaphors,and everyone appreciates it but is confused.The revolution needs to be toldthat its specialevery now and then.The revolution takes pillsfor everything that involvesmultiple body systems working in tandem,because the revolution is a one man show.

Ben Wright Poetry Portfolio 15SeepWhen we drink, you talk about history: howAndrew Jackson hated Indians in the waythat you hate the cockroaches that skitter aroundour toes.The workers at Triangle Shirtwaistripped off their skirts, wrapped them around their heads,soaked them in water & clawed at the chains on the dooruntil they were too hot to touch, jumped, or didnt.This is how you feel every morning before gettingout of bed.You tell me every time you clip your toenailsyou cant help but think of the long, sad history of Portugal.Shackleton freezes in his tent. A molasses floodcreeps down my spine. A farmer lights a cigarettein an empty grain silo and the explosion is repeatedwith every crack of your knuckles.In the car, your head resting againstthe window, you tell me what the astronautsof Apollo I thought when they felt the fireand the locked door.

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