Benjamin Bennett-Carpenter

Now They Could

It doesn’t matter where we are: things will be said, 
things will be done.  Just get it on the calendar for 
posterity’s sake.  If it isn’t documented no one in the
future will know it’s happened although some will 
feel it 7 generations later.  Someone’s got an inkling.
Now where did that come from?  Don’t think somatic 
markers are only inside the body. Flags are flying 
everywhere and tell us what’s what if only we can figure
out what that is.  So says John who appeared to me once
at San Juan Bautista School and then again last night.  
His name was Nelson and he was a cat.  My doctor 
prescribed sardines.  Dad served them with ketchup on
saltines on rooftops in summertime.  We left at sunup and 
worked til sundown.  On the first job the guy was surprised 
me being there because I was 5 years old.  Later he handed
me a Susan B. Anthony.  We made more in one weekend 
than he’d made all month from the church job where they 
laughed at him when he told them to treat him like a pro.  
Where he left and proved them wrong about laughing.  
Where later they welcomed him back in for all that he had 
done.  What they couldn’t see, now they could see.


Moving Around

You hadn’t thought about it. It just is what it is.
What’s the point?  I do what I do and so do you.

If you look straight ahead you'll see a tree. It’s 
been standing there in front of your place for-
ever only now it’s taller.  Taller and fuller this 
time of year and, what, with all the rain and heat,
the climate is changing in the front yard and in 
the house and in the basement, along the stair-
ways, kitchen, living room, even the bathrooms 
and garage. Did I mention the patio furniture?

No one can keep up with the Joneses, not now.
They are way beyond reach of anyone. It helps 
to wish again, out loud. Your stone skips across 
the water, the ripples rip at the skips, and the 
stone drops.  That’s done.  It’s now evermore.  
But it’s different every time, until the differences 
don’t register and then it’s all the same to you.  
Same, same, same, same, same, still gives value 
in the repeat:  quantity has quality.  More isn’t 
necessarily better but it’s something.  Less isn’t 
necessarily more, but it makes a difference.  What 
comes around doesn’t necessarily go around but 
either way things are moving, moving around.


What’s Love Got

No one is a statistic.  Statistics don’t exist.  A series of hellos 
and goodbyes.  No one can tell you what it’s like and others 
know that feeling.  Rumbling indicates hunger but some say 
it’s more like withdrawal.  There’s no police here so Burn Out 
Here says the sign.  Up ahead is a swat team hummer parked 
on the grass.  Tops are down and back ends are jacked.  Flags 
are flying to let people know things about strangers.  We’ll 
take an alternative route around the crowds, through the 
cemetery, right past grandparents whose bones rest under 
the knoll along the bypass drive.  Up ahead is a bridge over 
the highway.  We pass through several neighborhoods.  Some-
one makes a comment from the backseat.  Now she knows 
(again) what it’s like to be there.  She, like all of us, thinks she’s 
better than the rest.  She, like all of us, feels she’s worse than 
the rest.  It’s the perfect generator for a storm when the power
goes out but you need light because you need it and you’ve got 
work to do and shows to watch and anti-social media to catch 
up with so that people won’t congratulate you anymore.  They 
already saw your update and so what’s love got to do with it?

Benjamin Bennett-Carpenter, PhD, MA, teaches at a public university in North America and consults/coaches at Sollars & Associates and independently. Bennett-Carpenter is the author of Death in Documentaries (Brill, 2018) and Explaining Jesus (Lexington / Rowman & Littlefield, 2019). He co-edits Cruel Garters, a contemporary poetry publication.
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