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EDITOR'S CHOICE: lytton bell's


John Bennett

Photograph by Myles Boisen
Photograph by Myles Boisen



BEAUTY & THE BEAST

By John Bennett

Gray train
freight train
train of
blue evolution
thimble of
torment &
fright.

Odd fellows
good fellows
& the
jolly green
giant a
fistful of
dollars an
ungainly sight.

The rolled
sleeves of
the righteous
kiss the
sweet child
good night
grim &
determined setting
everything right.

A fetid
corner to
breed in
the benefits
of delight
a fetid
secret to
stew in
a new
face on
the blight.

The long
fall of
ambition from
a spiraling
height the
quick reflex
of survival
the departure
take flight.

The muffled
hens in the
hen house
that put
the red
fox in orbit
the farmer
loading his
shotgun kicking
open the screen.

His wife
tosses in
slumber his
children surge
thru his
spleen.

It's all
about hunger
about feed
troughs &
barley about
tiny gnats
& fat
bullfrogs
with retractable
tongues.

About bee
swarms &
honey pots
& the
attention they
garner about
deep aches
& longing
hot blood
steaming entrails.

Beauty is
the refinement
of agony.



BURMA-SHAVE

By John Bennett

Everything
bothers me
more than
it used to.

Heat
cold
restless legs
grinning
faces with
no brains
behind them
fat people
on motorcycles.

Cars vibrating
with baritone
boom-box radios
cars driven by
shriveled
blue-haired
old ladies
cars with their
mufflers dragging.

The internet
television
radio
movies
brimming over
with violence &
gutter sex.

Graduations
weddings
funerals &
the Moose Lodge.

The American
Legion flag-
waving Neanderthals
pulpit pounders &
drunk-tank judges.

Politicians
CEOs
henchmen &
suck ups.

Do gooders
waitresses
who say
are we still
working on it?
& drug counselors.

If small
children &
puppy dogs
ever become
part of
this list
I'll know
it's time to
slit my wrists
longways
in a
tub of
warm water.



CARD TRICKS

By John Bennett

The flip side
of the rose.

The betrayal
of Zen.

The blue
thunderous sky.

The click
clack of
the time
machine the
unexpected
departure.

The high
price of
solitude
one step
back then
another.

Don't go
crying to
mother
don't lodge
a complaint
with
blind justice.

Do you
expect understanding
from that
which you're
running from?

Has it
slipped your
mind what you
opted for?

Because you're
right doesn't
make it
less painful.

Even a
trip to
the dentist
is a
compromise
once you've
made your
way past
the border
guard, &
now your
own biology
has tracked
you down.

When it's
time to
play that
ace up
your sleeve
will you
have the
courage to
slap it
down?



John Bennett



John Bennett is the founder of Vagabond Press and the former editor of the small press magazine Vagabond. The magazine was started in 1966, and he published Charles Bukowski, Tom Kryss, d.a. levy, Anne Menebroker, William Wantling and many other poets, new or established. John Bennett has 39 published books to is credit novels, short story collections, journalism, poetry and shards, a form of prose poem Bennett has made his own. He now lives in Ellensburg, Washington, where he writes, publishes and sends his shards out on a regular basis to a highly-appreciative and wide-spread email list.




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