Two Poems | by Benjamin Brindise

a room full of mannequins

a circle of blank faces
soft eyes, block hands
stances that never change
even when the water comes

sometimes it feels like Hertel Avenue
that one time it flooded
right up to everyone’s porches

when anything kept in boxes
basements, under stairs, put away
was brought to the curb

had to be thrown out
for health reasons

they stare unaffected
from stitched together sockets
no matter how loud
they don’t remove the pins
from their eyes

sitting on those wood slat piers
that splinter in your shoes
it’s all right—
the wind coming off the water
keeps flies from landing on your cheeks
the rush of air fills your ears
blocks out screams from the kid who
dropped their ice cream overboard
you accept this as the best it’ll ever be

sometimes speaking
is like shooting a fridge
full of thermite
the last moment of pressure
pulled tight on the trigger
the instant explosion
that you can’t get back

this lack of body language
has me feeling like a unicycle
playing the floor game
where the floor is my life’s greatest ambition
and I’m in stasis about it in full spin
never finding traction

sometimes I sit in rooms
full of mannequins
and make sounds with my mouth
dictated by scratch marks
on the paper in front of me

I look up and project
the absolute nothingness that’s inside me
onto their stocking faces
and nothing changes
the pins in their eyes push deeper

sometimes I sit in rooms full of mannequins
make sounds with my mouth
and wonder what the fuck
I’m doing

 

 

 

 

these aren’t mine

woke up with a swollen throat
as if it wished to remind me
a voice rattles in it

there’s a suggestion box at work
covered in wrapping paper
and ribbon
that I don’t think would take much
to start on fire

I’ve gotten so lazy
want to take other poets’ imagery
stitch it into a wardrobe
and wear it as a costume

I don’t know where my hands went
These aren’t mine

it all feels like work
the kind you do to get through
to something you’ll fall in love with
in a world where they never invented
the things you love

which is to say
these bandages have grown
and placed the right way
make me a mummy
the kind that don’t scratch
last rites inside sarcophagi

which is to say
there are days when words
feel as useful as kindling
stuffed inside a suggestion box
that no one looked at
until it was on fire

which is to say
when my throat swells
sometimes I think it’s to remind me
that all faucets
eventually run dry

 

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Benjamin Brindise a writer from, and operating in, Buffalo, NY, who has previously published poetry in The Magnitizdat Literary, Foundlings, Peach Mag, Ground & Sky Quarterly, Page & Spine, and Ghost City Review, among others.

 

 

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