Fascinating Famous Readers (Infographic)

They say you are what you read. From Stephen King to Madonna, let’s find out just who these famous readers really are. … Now, what’s on your bookshelf?

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Free Falling (A Poem)

© Leslie I. Benson, 7-8-14; revised 8-19-14

As a boy, he had dreamed
of plucking marshmallows
out of the bright blue overhead,
which he’d save later for S’mores.

He had imagined faces here, the
gentle, pudgy cheeks of old women
and upturned noses of old men
wrinkly in the sky–like moving puffs of smoke.

He had not expected the clouds
to be so light—nearly massless—
not something he could travel to
only travel through.

Falling through soup
on a windy day.
That’s how he had imagined
it would feel.

Like soaring through heaven,
outstretched arms as steady
as the wings of the birds
he could see on the horizon.

But as he felt his body
tumbling forward,
his childhood fantasies vanished, erasing
thoughts of thick soup and gooey S’mores.

Rather, he faced combative resistance
and a terrifying roar,
the pressure pounding against his eardrums,
ready at any moment to … POP!

And his arms weren’t stretched out
gracefully as a falcon;
they were twisting and flailing, fighting every inch,
as he spiraled down, and further …

DOWN.

Would he be forgotten? Tomorrow,
would he be weightless and steady, graceful and pure,
or as heavy as right now—as his breath
mouthing a muted scream—here in the boundless blue?

Crooked Crag Bridge

© 1998 Leslie I. Benson

crooked crag bridge
smothered in smoke stack
attic space chimney tops
coughing up dust firelight
folk stories and urban myths
from burnt-out metal

trash cans reaching
to the man on the moon
who turns his face from
this patron of the night
stepped on by the soles
of the hungry

alone in the coal-black eve
dusk throws a shadow over
its once sturdy now dangling frame
cobwebbed carpets and smog
hang over moldy gravel

crooked crag bridge
barely standing like a newborn foal
beneath midnight’s cloak
remaining home to broken down men
and rats who slip through
only to find a mother and lover
in this cast away cathedral

Of a Mockingbird

© 2014 Leslie I. Benson

Of a mockingbird,
Mary Oliver writes—
for a thousand mornings
it flutters about,
stealing songs
of neighboring birds,
and brakes squealing to drown
its mockery.

This beautiful tiny jester
sings avian karaoke
on a post just off the porch,
hovering, twirling twice,
its dance cylindrical,
then lowering like a helicopter
or a slow balloon
losing helium.

Brightly he sings
tales of friends and foes—
this bard of the birds.
Though, when it seems
no one is listening,
he bellows a different tune—
his story of feathery sorrow
of his jester’s loneliness,
the mask before the frown,
of his time on this stage.

Beneath his breast,
his heart beats strong—
not as fast as a hummingbird
or as slow as a crow—
just quick enough
to know he is alive
and suffering.