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Regardless, I Stay

I arrived at the ocean’s cliffside

and found the waters frothing—wild and black.

A drop to a ravine of jagged rocks that glint in the sunlight like the jaws of a smiling wolf

lay just before my bare feet.

I stand and stare at the wine-dark deep—

God’s carving breath down my neck,

oasis of sweat dripping down my forehead,

a horizon at my rosy fingertips, the glittering guts of angels streaming in the sunset.

And I, I stay facing.

I have made my choice.

There are parts of me…speared open, tender to the touch.

And making those parts beautiful wasn’t enough

to fill the void, to feel joy,

to say I had a foot down on all of the bullshit—

but rather that I must have a hand in it.

Oh, woman made of straw & sticks! I could never let my guard down.

What the hell did I have to give?

A soul as sweet as strawberry jam isn’t of much use

when it comes to the subject matter of self-preservation.

I have made my choice.

I decided I will never again be in a room without a survivor,

even if I am the only one in it.

So spare me your prayers!

I keep faith with Death: Tomorrow.

And when tomorrow comes? That one-word whisper. Then repeat.

In these moments,

I am a state of grace; a white-tailed deer that escapes the hunter’s gaze.

I am a dying star in reverse; an ember embracing burst.

I buzz more than burn! I drift! I consume and am not consumed! I who am fire and song came from clay!

I am the winter rose’s precocious frosty bloom,

bright as blood against an ashen sky.

Hopeful and defiant.

Dulcet and quiet.

I am Dead Sea mud and Mount Everest ice.

I am here.

I survived.

Choice is our magic.

Now, relinquish the slip-cover scar-tissue madness.

Go inward, and swallow.


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You kept roses pressed in your pages

Andd rubbed the desires with your thumb

And they lost their rosete in years

Your collars hold worlds

Of delimnas, tragedies

Your heart is preserved in an artistic vase

In the most beautiful corner of

A catacomb

You sharpen your ink on the hollow

Surface of moon

And write on the tourniquet of night

Your journey has phantoms of memories

And your home

An abode I never saw

Plasters of ink don’t leave furniture in place

And calls are answered after ninety nine times

There is a contradiction that holds your hands

And I leave my address in your sleep

In the corner of your letter

And you died writing a return.

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it don’t take much

for the bird to fly

middle digits two fingers

to get raised

thrown at you on the highway

that irascible nature

people behind the wheel

frothing close to the surface

people you know maybe love

see them screaming

mouths twisted in rage

to think I’ve kissed those lips


if its you

man I could punch that face

words you might never use

but for being on the road

driving your wheels

neil benbow

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To the bone.


Hug in my loneliness.

Crying in the cold.

Knowing that nothing will ever be the same, but the effort to change does not matter if I always feel the same way.

I do not feel my feelings, nobody feels me and I am tired of waiting for an affection that collapses this coldness.

I lose myself for nothing, living a life that is of no use to me.

Feeling that I am not and there is no place to be.

With nowhere to belong or be welcomed, just someone else cut off from society.

I don’t have the strength to be strong.

There is nowhere to go.

I have nothing.

Deep down I still have naive thoughts, but when reality hits it is impossible to fulfill dreams.

But how do you want me to keep feeling this weight?

Hating every part of me to the bone.

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I don’t like tattoos

she said all prim proper

don’t get one then I offered

its more

I don’t like men with tattoos

she went on

& she had reasons up the wazoo

for all the worth those had

tho’ i seemed to be listening

seemed to care

one thing led to another

as listening will do that

& some time later

she changed her mind

about tattoos & men

told me I’d done that to her

& I told her back quick

like tattoos

I didn’t do it for you

neil benbow

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October 11 2020

Here’s to the ones who have never loved us

Here’s to the ones who have never cared

Almost seeming as if the love they did have

Was happily shared

If only for a life time

If only for a night

You stay away from the darkness

You stay under the light

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