July 4th, 2012
by Benjamin Schmitt

  1. I am beginning to believe
  2. our political affiliations
  3. are the results of high school antagonisms. I wrote
  4. the great American novel,
  5. its characters were the mosquitoes
  6. carrying the virus that will tear this country apart.
  7. The dead have returned as vagrants
  8. and even they are disrespected,
  9. the ghosts of a Hasidic Jew
  10. and a Hell’s Angel
  11. vainly struggle to catch
  12. the spare change they are begging for. As we watched
  13. the fireworks vaulting over the Mississippi
  14. curving over the high jump bar of expectation
  15. I watched a golem arise from the riverbank.
  16. This earthen monstrosity was made of mud and smallpox,
  17. he smelled of the river and Civil War blood. The creature
  18. wept every bullet
  19. that had killed a soldier in our wars.
  20. His whimpering was the trumpet
  21. on the New Orleans breeze. The sound
  22. caused some of the buildings to fall apart
  23. but the good folks of Bourbon Street
  24. put everything back together with beads and liquor.
  25. There is a reality show about this
  26. airing on the channel that carries hope to mourning.
  27. When I fell asleep that night
  28. a limousine took me across the country
  29. and I swam in the waters of the Pacific and the Atlantic.
  30. One of these oceans gave me a rash,
  31. the other gave me a vocabulary.
  32. The art movement has become a fashion movement
  33. but no one is wearing any underwear.
Packingtown Review – Vol.6, Winter 2014/2015

Benjamin Schmitt's poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Grist Journal, Solo Novo, The Monarch Review, Blue Lyra Review, Exercise Bowler, Forth, and elsewhere. His first book was published in 2013 by Kelsay Books. It is entitled The global conspiracy to get you in bed. He currently lives in Seattle with his wife where he teaches workshops to both children and adults.

  1. Michelle Graves
    Feeling Aloneart