Grand Lake Review

All poems © 2005 Leslie Benson
Published in
Grand Lake Review, Volume 6 No. 5, 2005

“Midwestern Woman”

a pack of Marlboro lights, a rusty blue Toyota
skid marks in the mud-caked front yard
broken beer bottles, Jack Daniels in the belly
a wooden bar stool brushed by faded leather
a gravel path, dead grass pushed down by the soles of 1,000 feet
squirrels, pigeons, spiders, mosquitoes
the wind rustling leaves, crickets, quacking, chirping
wet fur and pine
a scrape against the bark of a tree, the low tide
dipping fingers into cool water
“The Angle: Sunday Night”
Dawn rising – and the sputtering,
back-fire exhaust flames
of a bat-out-of-hell Crotch Rocket
pinched between the thighs of an
all-American greaser
once known for her
full-throttle body massages
as a second-hand stripper.
Black leather chaps against
growling, hungry metal
tearing across back country roads,
shielding torn, thrift-store jeans.
Faded KISS t-shirt
slapped by the wind.
No holds barred rock-n-roll cowgirl;
single mother of three.
Virginal idol born into whoredom,
you empty lush – lift me up in your glass.

“One Breath”

Only a breath between us
slow and steady
you lean into my bubble
whisper and point at the stage
I inhale you deeply
ladders of smoke rising around us
like steam from a train engine
your words sifting in and out
untraceable, just one long breath
hot on my neck
You’re discussing poetry, as I,
aching for tenderness,
contemplate your kiss
or what it would be like to wake
beside you untouched, unscathed
untouched, unscathed

“Pop Culture”

Drunk drugged nauseous stomach cramped knots like fists punching pounding into fleshy middle convulsing in waves head pulsing like neon strip club sign flashing on off on off shaggy hair like drapes not Venetian blinds mod Brit pop children of Lennon swarming the bar like some kind of Thrill Kill Cult in red cowboy shirts embroidered with Howdy Doody designs like that platinum blonde Toy Story kid come to life at the Nashville Pussy concert red bandana ‘round neck roaming the midnight streets loudly professing thoughts jumping off fire escapes Ginsberg Cassady Kerouac Burroughs pouring forth ideas from rooftops scouring the city like werewolves out of mind slipping to ash

“Armor of a Sullen Girl”

With Devon devilish Shirley Temple curls loyal old friend you pierced me with LeAnn hair-trigger temper single mother you pierced me with Mary tattooed waitress married swinger you pierced me the daughter the son you hid the girl who refused you were her father with all three you pierced me and I bled when I begged you on my knees wet from wounds stinging scars thin as strands of hair red scratches wrinkled dark shadows under closed eyes begged all you could do was pierce me awake mistaking your lust your fury indifference for love and nothing no one never again can betray me as I have – as you have let me let you cut me.


belong in dishwashers
or ovens
or bathtubs
or underwear drawers
or laundry baskets
or the interior of beds and couches
but you don’t know Max
he’s a rule breaker

normally dance
or snarl
or cuddle
or eat Honey-Nut Cheerios
or play peek-a-boo
or hide-and-seek
but you don’t know Max
he’s a rule breaker

usually chew straws
or squeak when excited
or crawl up pant legs
or nibble toe socks
or follow your feet as you walk
or chase terriers around living rooms
or sleep in piles of dirty laundry
but you don’t know Max
he’s a rule breaker

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