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About this poet

In 1973, Ben Doller (previously Doyle) was born in Warsaw, New York. He completed his undergraduate education at the State University of New York at Oswego and West Virginia University.

His first collection of poetry, Radio, Radio, (Louisiana State University Press, 2001) was selected by Susan Howe for the 2000 Walt Whitman Award. He received his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he was awarded a Teaching-Writing Fellowship. His second collection of poems, FAQ, was published in 2009 by Ahsahta Press. His third collection, Dead Ahead, was published by Fence Books in 2010.

Doller has taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, West Virginia University, Denison University, and was Distinguished Visiting Professor at Boise State University in 2007.

He is co-editor of the Kuhl House Contemporary Poetry Series at the University of Iowa Press, and is vice editor and designer of 1913 a journal of forms and 1913 Press.

He lives in San Diego with his wife, the poet Sandra Doller (formerly Miller).

Satellite Convulsions

Ben Doller
When I bend back to gaze at the satellite convulsions, I
am an aqueduct for twilit rain. Quite literally I stand

in the littoral zone: a lens--no an aqueous humor, my
feet on the land below the high-water mark, my hand

a glazed waver: hello light-purple lights, hello red spots,
you've beaten the stars out tonight but you're struggling with the

atmosphere, ain't ye? Over centuries the river became not
a river: Lethe's end crept together--self-scavenging sea

snake--& the middle filled with water--morphology dubbed it
a lake & now the moon swims in it & the moon orbits it &

the moon tidally tugs on it. The moon is a satellite in a fit
of paroxysm. One minute past, I emptied an aluminum can

of dull opiate to the drains to wash down my antipsychotics
& then Lethe-wards slunk I. There must be this wire shaking

loose in my mind, an unattended firehouse, a spasmodic
filament attempting to cool the baby planet but lacerating

precious gray matter. Thought leaves no vacancy for memory--
I forget & forget the rules, the thirst an auger, rain only whetting

it, I bend & lap some lake up, tongue it, suck the silty mammary
right where a light from the firmament meets it. I keep forgetting

the rules, a Ptolemaniac with stars & suns circling me; I keep
missing my cues, can't arrange the particles moments are made of--

and it's all good!--because when I bend seriously back & peep
at the satellite convulsions I am a sluiceway for night rain. If I love

at least I love aptly, terminally, like a man who loves his dinner until
he's done with it, then settles to the couch to easy pixilated dreams

(bounced off, yes, satellites, & beamed into a pale dish). And still,
even unfettered by history or hope, the world does not seem

shocking--simply something to fly a canvas balloon around, to 
dig a hole in. To climb into. To allow to fill with water, perhaps

it is raining, perhaps you dig below the watertable; it gushes through
the dirt; your bath is drawn & in it are drawn (sputniks & stars) maps

& charts with which to constellate your body. Connect the dots.
A little ladle with four handles--a tiny light strobes in the cup, in hot

convulsions of distance, bleats of temporal ignorance, synapse of morse
but no code, blood but no pulse, the stream but no mouth or source.

From Radio, Radio by Ben Doyle, published by Louisiana State University Press. Copyright © 2000 by Ben Doyle. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

From Radio, Radio by Ben Doyle, published by Louisiana State University Press. Copyright © 2000 by Ben Doyle. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Ben Doller

Ben Doller

The author of several collections of poetry, Ben Doller's first collection Radio, Radio was selected for the Walt Whitman Award

by this poet

poem
The curtain is kind

of cool. Hitchcock
liked it. Why

not. Great place 

for getting shot
or famous or for 

bleeding back 

behind the iron 
one. The score

diegetic as they

come. Bernard 
Herrmann forever 

human. 

The gowns hanged
in greenroom ligature.

Edith Head never 

dead. Great place
for a nail-bomb
poem
In the middle of every field,
obscured from the side by grass
or cornhusks, is a clearing where
she works burying swans alive
into the black earth. She only
buries their bodies, their wings.
She packs the dirt tight around
their noodle necks & they shake
like long eyelashes in a hurricane.
She makes me feed
poem

whiter I make it when walking right in
unswerved, sweating fluorescent bleach,
preaching a moon page that says its welts:
learn this by heart is empty but do it
to do it. I make it somehow whiter, zombied
and I opified allover the absolutely
whitest room. I say keep your lines in line