Poetry by Steve Benson

by: Steve Benson

In this poem by Steve Benson, the personal questions the political, the quotidian slides in and out of the cosmic, the self finds solace in the other, if only for a moment of shared reflection on the overwhelming, all-encompassing nature of the spectacle of postmodern life. And yet “…we’re always seeking the latest// materialization of possibility” as though seeking is what makes us whole.


Nothing but

This, only this, could be
the hole in the wall at the end
of an impossibly hard journey
but this is all in someone’s fantasy
because it hasn’t been all that hard
to get here and at times a pleasure
just to make the way clear
slashing down brush greeting
the natives or are they also
wayfarers here? I can’t tell
Their enthusiasm and willingness
to speak, to see me, are astonishing
and I hope one day to return
Meanwhile I leave, one foot
accepting the weight another
springs off from, light still
unsteady in atmosphere
Still you are with me, shaking
in the uncertain glow of dawn
You shake me down for change
of heart. You make me forget
about you and then remember
you another way as though I

had always felt restless or happy
mystified wistful or cross. This
mood is the only one I know
But you may know one I don’t
someone or something constantly
turning into the other on us
So you look into this end
until the scene collapses
or congeals into a bevy of dots
similarities and differences
undermining order by presencing
nothing in particular accented
or undone lines elided remnants
lost down drains, thunder storms
iridescent. Fumes glowing
People are roasting on the fires
Time stops. Later as it begins
again and again I drop a dime
in the red collection box
It is nice to pay in cash
Do you have my blue polo
and where have you been
all my life? This time

disintegrates as you touch it
It evaporates when reasonably organized
I want to stay aware of what you do
I can imagine reading it in books
I can imagine running over myself
in a roller coaster having fallen
onto the tracks while also holding on
to the bar that holds you in the car
The machine is running out of steam
and besides it only fixes parts
of obsolete equipment for jobs
that can no longer be filled because
money is being outsourced
to offshore virtual banking instruments
we live in on under wind
and waves we are one with
we own what we live on
we live on air and water
of course we live on earth too
and we wouldn’t be human without
fire and so what else is new?
Yes we’re always seeking the latest

materialization of possibility. Is that you?
You come in through the bathroom mirror
without shaving, cut nevertheless
cloth hanging off shoulders and hips
closed lips, hooded eyes, then
a sigh hits the floor ahead of you
your body rests, relaxes, and
rigidifies. What does someone do
today to something that’s outlasted
dream constraints? I want to read
everything, I want to reread every-
thing I’ve ever read in light of
all the other things I’ve ever read
seen imagined or run from
in terror and disgust. On fire
the bloodstream thickens before
it’s burnt off leaving a dry stain
straining comprehension and the eyes
have what passes for a fit before
it’s over and all returns to the new
normal. A haze that’s forever waning
as one looks off in dismay

at what had been there in one’s imagination
A scene ripe with promise. A crowd
contextualized into order. A wealth of instances
it seemed impossible to betray. Every moment
opportunity knocks up against circumstances
beyond anyone’s control. Why not take
time, why not take advantage, why not?


Steve Benson has lived in downeast Maine since 1996. He shares links to his creative work online through http://www.stevebensonasis.com/ while a current project of daily poetry texts appears at https://www.tumblr.com/blog/stevebensonasis. In the spring of 2015 he improvised nearly daily posts as Page One, which remains archived at Annex Press’s website. He co-authored The Grand Piano series of autobiographical essays (Mode A, 2006-10), and What are these signals from?, a chapbook of recent work, appeared this year online at Essay Press’s website.

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