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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...
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Tug

 
by Ben Doller

The tug on my arm but soon spread
Perhaps now they could prove me there.

I've been watching the sky closely & for some time,
My hands in it, making crude, beautiful doves.

Sometimes a sprinkler spits
An arc of silver water over me,

Hissing, bisecting. Half of a thing
As much of a thing as ever can be.

If they have to water it, it's not a real field.
It's a yard, connected to a white building.

Once, I was inside a building.
Tooth, your shadow the color of the hour.

                    *

There was a smell of some spice,
I don't know what it was called.
I wanted to take a bath, change my gravity;
Feel my skin loose & leave a ring.
The man said they only had shower stalls. 
Those were the days everyone lived
In fear of a fierce spouse,
Paddling through the steam,
Something in her hand:
Hair-dryer, toaster, leaf-blower,
Plugged-in & zinging.
And you there, stewing in your own 
Sauce, whistling an oldie.

                   *

Deaf by dawn & if dawn comes
Day may break--bellowing
Below thing, be low, sing,
Slinging blows, blowing slang
Songs, bowing. Bring out the big
Amp, vinyl torn, plywood exposed,
I think the tubes are ready, sir,
The dew I flicked on them leapt & left

                    *

Steelsleet, the weather from the recycle tower
Less yellow as it lowers, a film of its tinting
The buildings, tinning the yards with first light.

I've seen the hours of train from above on the bridge,
Each car brimmed with rusty blades, broken bayonets,
Naked bent frames of things. . . .I can't tell. . . . 

Can you smell the crimson? And the cars behind me,
Metal mixed at the proper ratio, careen dying to be there,
Gasoline hemorrhaging, pistons punching themselves out.

The barge gravid with metal took its miles to pass as I stood
On the bank not saluting, thinking now, now what am I going to do.

The first blast of the opening ore-oven decays all decay.
The scraps shine. The smelting starts seamless, top down, bottom up.
Hollowing. Hello, thing. Hell, lathing. Howlingly singing holes.

                    *

So what are you going to be?
--A ghost.
I stole a white sheet from a line.
Leaves were stuck to it, I'll 
Punch some holes in it, I'll
Jump from the balconies
Of bleached buildings






From Radio, Radio by Ben Doyle, published by Louisiana State University Press in 2001. Copyright © 2000 by Ben Doyle. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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