Ben Stainton
My Name is Terry

The police never found the body.

Mr Smith left his sprinkler on all night.

I call him brother but he never listens.

Thursday. In the canteen,
Gary pulls a rubber knife on Craig.
The girls laugh.

It’s windy outside.

On the park bench,
I loom over my sandwich
like a tyrannosaur.

Lucy pins a photo to her monitor.
If only her nose was smaller.

The clock is my nemesis.
(Watching only makes it harder)

One day I will have you.

People avoid me.
Maybe I should gossip more often.

Jason is having sex with Tara.
(Little tramp… follow her)
I need a revamp.

Maybe I should listen to Terry.

On my walk home,
I call in at the bakery, for cake.

Right. This smelly woman
always tries to short-change me.
(Spit in her face)

I leave without saying thank you.

That’ll teach her.

My Home Entertainment System
is more expensive than yours.
Five remotes, lined up in a row.

After tea and cake,
I pull a long hair
from the back of my throat.

The light inside the fridge is broken.

For an instant I feel absolute despair.

On the bus,
Nathan and Christine from accounts
are all dressed up.

They seem preoccupied
with something outside.

I lean down and tie my shoe
(to get a better view)

Yes, I agree.
The city is beautiful after dark.

My usual table.
Comfort and service.
The restaurant buzzes.

On a napkin
I write
alcohol is a hermaphrodite
and pass it to the waitress.

Dark voices from the lobby.
(Don’t make a scene)

The lamb was especially tender.

I climb guiltily into bed.

Another wasted day,
and so close to the last.

There must be something I’ve forgotten.
(A full and frank confession)

I could have tried harder
to make them listen.
(The big man with his big ideas)

People are so easily distracted.

(My name is Terry)

Is this a dream song now?


My sugar bowl is empty.

Every time I eat cereal
a voice pops into my head.

I think it’s God.
That makes me special.

Lucy wears her hair up
on dress down day.

The choices are endless.
Red tie? Or grey?

Some people place symbolic value
on colours.

Someone has forsaken me.
No more king prawn curry.

The lunch hall is like an insect’s nest.

Christine pinches Nathan
and Lisa notices.

The big fish plop sugar into cups
of coffee.
I am alone at the centre.

No one talks about religion.
(Tell them)
Maybe now would be the best time.
(Tell them) Yes.

It’s what he would have wanted.

I’m going to a concert.
(Forget the whole thing)
I paid for it online using my credit card.

Long shower.
Aftershave applied to hair and crotch.
Best boxer shorts.
T-shirt of a band I’ve never heard of.

Through the taxi window,
fit kids walk in my direction…

(is transient)

When I arrive, the venue turns me away.

Cheated. Crucified.

The KFC is filled with youth.
All so skinny and colourful.
(Move in for the kill)
Maybe I can soak up their energy.

Home to comfort cleaning.
(Lucy might be naked now)
I’ve washed my hands of her.

This cream doesn’t work.

I set up a facebook profile,
then realise no one
will be watching.
Listen. All I can do is wait.
(Waiting is hell)

I hate Terry.


Early morning hard-on.
That dog’s barking again.
Maybe I could buy a hunting knife.

Maybe I should ring my dad.
The alarm clock stops.

My boss calls.
(Little bitch)
I’m prepared for the worst.
She’s concerned about the incident.
(Please let me love you)
She feels I need help.

I hear myself say waiting is hell,
and hang up.
(Back to bed
with no breakfast)

My shirt is already wet.

Someone is guarding my door.
Probably the Jew.
(Watch your tongue)
Little bastard.

Now the locusts come. insects
(They smelt blood)
This shroud is just for show.
I’m dreaming of heaven.

There is no one here but me.
(My name is Terry)
My bedsores weep.
I must be pure.

The wounds are too deep.
I hear a voice through the wall.
(Just a little more sleep)

This is the worst time.

Tomorrow, I’ll go swimming.


Everything floods back,
like a dam breaking.

My landlady will discover
the empty room.

Not even Terry to explain.
I should not be so alone.

The hole in my side hurts.
I dab it with cotton wool,
before rising.

God says I’ve let myself down.
No excuse presents itself.

I’m still whole in spirit.

Maybe Lucy reads the papers.
Maybe she’ll have a vision of me.

Resolution is a strange arrival.
I am resolved to be free.



Dave Oprava

I see, you’re bred enough for me to feel your wedding noise in the NYT, he looks NICE and I’m sure he likes rowing, nature, and eats ice cream with a fork as only you could. This tries to be good, but a vitriol is stirring in if’s when’s what’s then’s and there’s no filling the sucking sound eating through the decade past. I buy a platitude, says, it never would have worked out anyway.

we learn so little,
reading leaves and peeling bark
from trees felled whilst young.

Tell that to the kid who almost died missing you for a mere month as your parents held you at bay and I swayed from the trees half-hung with forlorn, what? Lust. Yes, and Armageddon ardour even selling my vital organs wouldn’t have tamed, tame what? Infatuation. Yes, and I blame myself for being four years older, more drunk, less sane, unfaithful and generally inhumane, but still, all’s fair they say.

passion so rudely
cruel, I knew it as myself
and wished it often dead.

The closest I ever came to a JD was two bucks a shot at the Squirrels Nest, but you got one, always the striver and driver when I’d had too much, those country lanes wished past looking for a lilac bush to make love, and there was much of it on the muddy shore of the leechy lake or the star-shine shower as nature egged us on, never again come so close to perfection of the carnal form, nevermore.

crumpled letter kept
close, sent whilst still smelling of
our very first grin.

Spent a week jerking this verse off my chest resting little between bouts of regret and whisky wishes that we’d never gone past that first cold night spent arms-a-twist in fumbled advances, tried to kiss you but miss slipped a few hours forward when you did it and saved me the shame of failing, necking intently till you had to go for a month as I tore paved roads to find you again, thus is began and two years later would be gone.

on top the mound shake
you gasped Jesus, first time quake,
I held your trembling



david martin

ever feel you’re bound in wire?
all razor-sharp and twisted knot –
you fashioned it to harness soul
in pain to maintain self-control.

my skin is lacerated through
exposing bone and muscle strands
the wind it whistles through the wire
and sets my skin and soul afire

you hover just outside my reach
and i’m constrained from touching you
i stretch and strain and bend the strands
my blue hands bound in red-hot bands

when stubborn pride is stripped away
like ragged strips on a barbed line fence
humility taught with the blade of an axe
your pedestal cracked and blood on the tracks

you then discover what you are
and what you are is what you’re not
a breath that god had once misplaced
expelled and gone without a trace

and raspy breathing rusted pipes
your fortune wrapped in god’s own chain
the measure of your conscience cold
it’s time you had your fortune told –

a bloodless palm, a lidless eye
your brilliant soul in shabby clothes
it follows down each hidden street
i pray the lord my soul to keep

each night i dream my soul to waste
each night my soul stares back at me
i turn away, turn out the light
still it looks on throughout the night

they say –
god laid low the arrogant
with the jawbone of an ass
and crashing down blow after blow
my god you sure did lay me low

now angel white and bible black
in stern and solemn stillness there
a thousand i’s dressed up in ties
a thousand whys a thousand sighs

my god my god my god my god
they told me you were kind
and always to be trusted
my soul has crashed my wheels are flat
and i am




Joseph Reich
aphorisms ~ your survival manual for caucasia


when it comes down to it if you really look at it closely our whole
life is veritably based on some literal fragile self-fulfilling prophecy

it is just those putting on absurd dramatic acts and roles these
silly and shallow games with their identities trying so desperately
to convince themselves to try to convince you and to convince me


does existence not become like some poor and pathetic
payment plan of patience some choreographed leap of faith

where you hope somewhere in the end
to proverbially reap the fruits of your labor?


sleep is the sweet slow perfectly pristine procrastination
in many ways the only real true reality cutting through any of these
(un)certain influences of paradoxes and hypocrocies of human nature

of the contradictions and condemnations
of a conformist mass mentality of superficial
predictable pseudo sort of culture civilization


(beware it may very well all be
simply a situational depression)

something (they do) collectively passive-aggressive
in order to stimulate growth and development


and so supposedly in all these late great
stages of growth and development
man will ultimately become

this individual of complete and intellectual
maturation, more sophisticated and civilized
yet i don’t know, from everything i have seen

and experienced with my own two eyes
he just appears far more full of hypocrocies
and contradictions (incomplete and fragmented)

of absurd and arrogant and aloof lies
with (without the conscious) the
ability to rationalize and justify


“he said she said” in later-adolescence
was in no way shape or form

a coincidence yet rather
a “tell-all” premonition

in which your heart
originally got broken

(and you turn more and
more hollow and vacant)

try not to become a victim
in a no man’s land of “tourists”


as such you wonder if peter pan ever did find his shadow
or was it simply transplanted to some other amorphous
down-in-the-dump feeling and form to benjamin braddock
in the graduate trying to constantly escape or run away
from impossible relentless overbearing parents silently
blowing bubbles balanced at the bottom of deep-blue pool
used and abused in his scuba outfit in the late-sixties of
some wealthy suburb in los angeles or just the eternally
excrutiatingly lonesome joe buck riding that greyhound
from the dustbowl of oklahoma to midtown manhattan

to become some absurd tragic stud gigolo
who ironically innocently got hustled and
taken advantage of all against his better
(the best he could do) judgment or simply marlon
brando collapsing to his knees like some sort of defeated
distraught prize fighter in streetcar dramatic damaged unable
to keep down and control his emotions below the beaten disheveled

banisters of the steamy french quarter in good old mad macabre new orleans
desperately screaming out “stella!” hoping and praying for forgiveness and redemption
and so did peter pan ever find his shadow or did he simply spiritually psychodynamically
naturally become a shadow of his former self just like all these other decompensating
self-destructive characters who all went by the same theme song of–i’m going where
the sun is shining, through the pouring rain, going where the weather suits my clothes…


if the coward dies a thousand deaths
than the hero must die a thousand more

you decide at last to stop fighting
and become the strongest
man in the world


(as such believe i believed
in everything they tried to
make me believe about me
i believe i’d believe in nothing)


we live in a plastic cookie-cutter
culture with almost all pieces missing
its forms and images of repetitive monotony
where the whole (half-hearted) tragedy in the collective
and even more importantly the individual consciousness
is that they care more about their gimmicks of electronics and technology
than to even think or consider to contribute something positive to the community


those labeled or identified in our culture as some of the kindest and generous
(who sit on boards and make their token yearly donations to relieve their guilt
and conscious, as indeed they want to be seen as doing their good deed
but when you really get to know them couldn’t be anything or anybody
of more sleazy transparent greed) in real life are some of the sneakiest
and most self-interested; it was just that they put themselves in a position
through being single-minded and competitive, through self-aggrandizement
and self-promotion to receive the gratuitous praise and recognition that their weak
egos and identities so much craved and were desperate, then surround themselves
by those (with similar ambitions and lack of conscious, “climbers” if you will) who will
pose no threat and flatter them so as to keep their fragile and transparent narcissistic
personalities in tact; in fact, if you really knew what happened behind closed doors,
actual lack of morals and ethics; rabble-rousing and rhetoric, you’d be disgusted!


out here the women
always seem
pissed off



of a cross

between loss
anger and emptiness

while their husbands
mechanically and obsessively
try to commit axe of indifference

(searching for victims to prove you don’t exist
for whatever absurd reason “of insecurity”
to try desperately and pathetically
to make them feel more secure
or to alienate you from culture
and turn you into “the cause”)

then look to acquire and purchase at all costs

at the playground they’re always the ones on (never getting off)
cellphones not paying any attention to the creatures they
brought into the world (as ultimately in many ways they
have become possessions, an extension to their self-
interested, fragmented narcissistic vision) and then
try some attention-seeking behavior just to grab
their attention as they strike back with over
compensation with something
overly-punitive and rigid
and disciplined

teenagers with wooden expressions
and cellphones to noggin like tumors
real-life (in many ways dead)
walking rumors zapping
their car alarms before
they leave the parking
lot and stroll into the mall
to torture some poor soul
and try to make them feel
(no longer feel…) small

these types of individuals the worst sorts of criminals
the ones who always make you doubt yourself
act out or become self-destructive
and make you feel miserable

when you get to the supermarket
you forget what you’re there for
you may forget who you are
what your wife sent you in for

aisles of farm-boy-hustler studs
with their gorgeous down-
to-earth russian brides

ahh! then it all comes back to you
“bread and chocolate milk

that’s right!

chocolate milk
and bread!”

when you leave you blow a kiss
to the motherfuckers
in the parking lot

and as always they act shocked
or as the blacks might drop–
“act like you know”

when someone questions and forces them out of
their pitifully absurd and acquired, safe and secure, unconvincing
roles, then seem awfully helpless (not so cocky and confident) alone


the herd the mass mentality
is a massive heart attack
a massive coronary
of fear doubt ignorance
arrogance sheltered insular
safe and secure insecurity
know-it-all know-nothing
reactive behavior
fighting fleeing
and entitled
a parasitic
feeds off
the stranger
the innocent
and scape-
goating and
turning him
into some
and thief
for purposes
of desperately
trying to relieve
and even redeem
a fragile identity
this brain-
wash and
onto off-
the vicious
cycle of
a literal
and ridiculous
delusion of not
only grandiosity
yet even persecutorial
and conspiratorial-like
state of mind to help
assuage guilty feelings
and deflect and displace
justify and rationalize
a rather almost even
sociopathic filthy
way of li(f)e


people practice indifference
like a bad religion

and like some self-serving delusion
somehow consider (convinced)
it as creative

the last sincere soul-survivor cannot help
but to constantly and excruciatingly
feel lonesome and alienated


you inextricably remain
a slave to seduction


somewhere between seduction and self-destruction
is the absurd and savage cruel game of existence


if time heals all wounds
than what the hell heals time?

(more time?)


you wake up from the dream in a semiconscious state
most likely the most keen and perceptive you’ll ever reach
and sway in some sort of mystical haze of smoky familiar
faraway silhouettes of a crystal seaweed wilderness window
entranced intuitive and insightful to know deep within the dream
lies the nightmare and somewhere in the nightmare the dream


just past madness
“lies” the dream

the nibbled core
of your primal scream


truth be told…

2 thoughts on “#51

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