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Liberty Walks Naked
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DANIEL BENNETT

 

 

 

Daniel Bennett's poems have appeared in a number of places, most recently in Structo and The Literateur, and he has work forthcoming in The Best New British and Irish Poets 2017 from Eyewear Books. He is also the author of the novel All the Dogs. You can read more of his work online at http://absenceclub.tumblr.com/'

 

 

 

 

Taxi Drivers

 

 

The first is Transylvanian.
He talks about oil contracts
and corrupt gold deals,
and the end of communist rule.

His wife teaches in Bucharest.
His land deal collapsed in Spain
and he wears a suit every night
because this is work.

The next exists in negative space
asking questions to repel
any interest in himself. A phone call
is cancelled on the first ring,

he talks about my hotel, the route
to the hospital, the intimacy
of disease. He greets the change of lights
with a whispered curse.

 

The last waits for me at five am,
when I am almost cancelled
by this night. A photo of his wife
peels from the odometer.

I will be his last job before he returns
to sleep behind sealed curtains
exiled from his family
by the time zones of work.

And though I think of him as defeated
in the same way I have been defeated
by this long night of rides
and the churn of responsibilities  

he will still find time
to point out the clarity of the moon
with Venus bright above it,
this silver horology, and for a second

we are breathless at the sight
and can almost understand
what we are doing here
out on this road, so early, so late.

 

 

 Poetics

 

We're off the map, in ocean territory,

on an island growing for years.

 

Whole reefs of styrofoam and metal

drift like strands of acid

trapped in a centrifugal whirl

 

creating a bobbled coastline

of bottles without messages

fjords of printer cartridges, plane seats,

 

inlets of  ruined toys

from forgotten childhoods

their plastic sea-rinsed and brittle

their smiles somehow intact.

 

Really, it is exiled from itself.

One day, maybe, we'll travel here

consider names, boundaries,

fight over ludicrous territory.

 

Now, if we think of it at all,

it is with a sense of vague unease

about our love, our histories,

 

those reckonings which have defined us

but like all landscapes it is indifferent

accumulating steadily in quietness

                             My grandfather said

'See Antarctica before you die.'


 

 

 

 

©2017 Daniel Bennett

 

 

Author Links

 

Poetry in The Literateur

Poetry in Clear Poetry

Poetry in The Manchester Review

 

 

 

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