5 Poems from Jon Bennett

Big Wheel

 

We were 13 and had 2 liters

of watermelon wine cooler

because of Tim, a dude

who’d give you $5

if he could take your picture

with no shirt on

“No touching…”

or give you some weed

“No touching…”

though some kids

left his place with a $20

Anyhow, we were lit

“Rasberry’s better,” I said

“Gimme,” said Dave

“You gonna puke?”

“Nah.”

We went down The Path

which cut between the houses

“Hey, lookee,” said Dave

There was a Big Wheel

in a backyard

“Yeah,” I said

I slipped in and got it

and we took turns

riding it like crazy people

It was funny because

just a few years before

me and Dave took our Big Wheels

very seriously

but now it was, like,

ironic

Then the police came

“What!?” said Dave

“Don’t run,” said one cop

“It’s reported stolen,” said the other

They put it in their trunk

and brought us back to the house

The Big Wheel was covered in mud

and me and Dave

had to hose it down

in the people’s front yard,

their little boy

watching us

eyes wide

like it was the most

amazing thing

he’d ever seen.

 

The Elf in the Basement

 

I put my vegetable scraps

in a big pickle jar

and dump them in the compost bin

I don’t do it for the planet

it keeps the roaches down

When I open the compost bin

there’re some bug eggs

and larvae

and always at the bottom

vegetable scraps in plastic bags

I guess my neighbor doesn’t have

a big pickle jar

but the bin says, “No Plastic Bags”

in several languages

Anyhow, my studio stinks

so I go over to CT’s

She has an old fashioned flat

with a garbage shoot in the kitchen

Everything goes down the shoot

bottles, cans, cigarette butts,

egg shells, broken appliances

tampons, vomit, more

bottles and cans

“You don’t recycle?” I ask CT

“There’s a guy down there!” she says,

“he sorts it! I’ve seen him!”

Then she dumps another

bucket of vomit, cat shit, dog shit,

asbestos, sulfuric acid

and one Diet Pepsi can

down the shoot

“Out of sight, out of

your mind,” I say

“Fuck you!” says CT

and she’s right

we’re all fucked.

 

Community

 

I hate him

the guy with the dog

always talking right wing crap

and to who?

the Nigerian security guard,

the deli clerk from Palestine

the lady with MS who stays at the shelter

They nod, smile, I don’t know

maybe they agree with him

Today I overheard him say,

“I wake up, I’m just glad

I don’t have to

kill anyone today.

I come down here,

have a coffee, it’s nice.”

He’s an old fucker

in his 80s, and his dog

can hardly walk, but

they make it down here every day

“I was in Southeast Asia, Somalia,

then back to Southeast Asia,” he said,

“killing folks was just a job,

you have to be able to

turn it off, especially

at night.”

Then he didn’t say anything

he just sat there

trying to get the dog to eat

some cold cuts

Later, I passed them on the sidewalk

that dog has a bad hip or something

and was leaning against a building

the man waited, holding the leash

but the dog collapsed on its side

so the old man picked up

the injured old dog

and carried him

back home.

 

Walk Ins Welcome

 

There were 2 sunny side eggs

staring at me from the griddle

and I couldn’t stand it

I plated them

“Order up!”

Quiet, 3:33 a.m.

a few old men

and they’d be there for hours

“Checking inventory, Alice!” I said

The waitress was named Alice

which was funny, but

I was sick, at least

getting there

Our walk-in freezer was

my personal North Pole

which made me Santa

I sat on a bucket of mayonnaise

and rolled up my sleeve

the cold made my veins stand up

like the stripes on a candy cane

and as I drove the needle home

I knew Christmas

had finally arrived.

 

Colonel Corn

 

The Colonel got home

and took a razor

to the black tar heroin

he tasted it

“Licorice!”

This was not good,

it wasn’t the kind of candy

he was after

He donned his SS uniform

put on his armband

duct taped a swastika

to a mop stick

and crossed the street

to the projects

where his connection lived

“You #@&%*!” he shouted

goose-stepping in front

of the apartment block,

which was difficult

due to an abscess

on his right foot

“Get out of here, motherfucker!”

someone retorted

soon others joined in

The Colonel stood and listened

an easy target

from all those

darkened windows

but no bullet came

and again his survival

was entirely dependent

on the goodwill

of man.

Bio: Jon Bennett writes and plays music in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. You can find his work on music streaming sites such as Pandora and Spotify or by connecting with him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jon.bennett.967.

There there by Andrea Hasko-Marx

there there