Wednesday, May 01, 2019

The World Underneath

A Saint's Book
—Poems and Visuals by Jon Bennett, San Francisco, CA


I’m like Jesus
except instead
of dying for your sins
I only mope around
for them
And I’m not
God’s only son
I’m more like
his neighbor
across the street
who never really
knew God
and always wondered
what all
the fuss was about.



I was waiting at the Dr.
and I had my numbered ticket

just like at the butcher,
‘The butcher! The butcher!’
I thought, which gave me
a chuckle
A nurse appeared
and came up to me
“Mr. Coughman?” she asked
I looked at my ticket, which read ‘#19’
“No,” I said
She went up to the next person
“Mr. Coughman!?” she said again

and the man let out a cough before saying,
Someday I know
I will be Mr. Coughman
the nurse will approach
and my number
will be up!

 Our House


Near the end she was on
too much L-dopa
and was always fidgeting
with her purse
She’d zip and unzip and
close and open
and clasp
Usually she'd forget
what it was
she was trying to find
Her keys? Sunglasses?
She was like a bird
on a journey
across the world
flying for so long
it forgets
it’s heading


AHM #2

If I’m going
to be a prisoner
and I am
let me build
my prison
on the ivory plain
of your stomach
in view
of the forest
of your long

(prev. pub. in Sassafras Literary Magazine, 2013)



Me and S were sober for a week.
We got so bored
we decided to have a baby.
I called my AA sponsor
to tell him the news.
He was drunk.
“Congratulalayshuns!” he said.
I told S about it later.
“If Ralph is drunk,” she said,
“there's no hope for us.”

(prev . pub. in Horror Sleaze and Trash, 2013) 



I’m working at the local deli
because I wasn’t eating and I needed a job
“Crab salad sandwich,” says the bouncer
Buttermilk.  I check.  We have it.
Each chunk of crab
is the size of my thumb
it’s not really crab
it’s pollock,  a junk fish
processed into a paste
and rouged pink on one side
I know because I used to work
on a ship that made fake crab
I wrap it in paper and he goes across the street
to sit on his stool below the neon lights
where dreams are only
a lipstick smear
and a few dollars

(prev. pub. in 48th Street Press, 2017)


“But now what I'm really into,” he said,
is free diving for abalone.”
“I guess it's very beautiful down there,” I said.
“It is beautiful,” he said
holding onto the word
like it was a strange fish.

The ideas that day
were dripping from my fingertips like candle wax.
It was hard for me to talk to him.
“You got to pop them off before they clench down,” he said,
“it's dangerous though.”
“Yes,” I said.

He told me how he used to write
but his girlfriend didn't believe in him.
I nodded and drank.
Finally he left, and only then
could I see the kelp forest—
the strangling vines and circling sharks—
the world underneath
it all.

(prev. pub. in The Blue Hour, 2013)


Today’s LittleNip:

—Jon Bennett

I ate a heaping angel food cake
fresh from the Chinese bakery.
Steaming, sweet and blonde
I thought of you.

(prev. pub. in
Boyslut, 2013)


Our thanks and welcome to San Francisco Poet Jon Bennett for his work in the Kitchen today! Jon has published nearly two hundred poems, in print and online, and was nominated for a Pushcart Award for his poem "Angel Food." Most recently he’s been in
Red Fez and is forthcoming in Runcible Spoon. He lives in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood.

Jon has also produced several full-length albums and a science fiction novel, entitled
The Unfat (currently out of print). You can find his music on Spotify, Pandora and other music sites. To find his latest publications, connect with him at Again welcome to the Kitchen, Jon, and don’t be a stranger!

If you see this in time, head over to Philz Coffee in Davis for conversion and Coffee with Writers, Poets and Literature & Language Instructors, 9:45-11:15am. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

—Medusa, wishing you a happy and poetic May Day! (For more about May Day, go to


Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.