Bruce Bennett


That injured mouse you carried in a box:
what pity you displayed. And when it died
how sorrowful you were. And how you cried.
I tried to comfort you. I was perplexed.

I did not have an inkling I was next.


It wasn′t the time
and it wasn′t the place
and it wasn′t the voice
and it wasn′t the face

And it wasn′t the one
who had driven him mad
but a gift is a gift
and he took what he had

Yes, a gift is a gift
(though it′s ever so slight)
and it′s dark when it′s dark
and the night is the night

And the night is the night
but it′s ever so long
when the place and the face
and the voice are all wrong

When the time′s never right
and the day breaks in vain
and the gift′s not a gift
(though it′s given again

And again and again)
since the nights are so long
when the places and faces
and voices are wrong


He knows his power; wields it. Silent. Grim.
Aloof. They know he knows them. None knows him.


Except for her. She senses, feels the cold.
Offers him warmth. Establishes a hold.


All guns are blazing. One man stands alone,
and keeps on standing. Then rides off, alone.


The bar stays empty. She sits. Just one more.
She sits. She waits. Her eyes fixed on the door.


Somewhere he still is riding. Sun goes down.
Trouble′s ahead. He grunts. Another town.


There is a man who haunts our town,
who walks its sidewalks, up and down,
wearing a scowl, or else a frown.

He talks to no one; dressed in black,
he skulks and sulks his sullen track,
eyes to the ground. We see his back,

And think, Poor guy, he needs a friend.
Someone to listen, who might mend
his melancholy mood, but end

Up doing nothing. No one will.
He′ll die, and he will haunt us still.
We′ll feel his passing shadow′s chill.


Edward Hopper, Edward Hopper
could you suddenly appear
you would find a scene that′s proper:
everything you′d want is here.

Mystery and isolation
people lost, alone, apart
dazed, as if with concentration,
longing at their secret heart;

Cups of coffee unattended
steam ascending, polished chrome.
Nothing started, nothing ended.
Edward, you′d be right at home!

Bruce Bennett

Bruce Bennett is the author of seven books of poetry and twenty poetry chapbooks. His most recent books are Funny Signals (FootHills Publishing, 2003), a collection of political poems and fables, and The Deserted Campus (Clandestine Press, 2003), satirical poems about college life with illustrations by David Grossvogel. His most recent chapbooks are Coyotes Interlude with Little Miss Darling (FootHills, 2006) and Examined Life (Scienter, 2006). His New and Selected Poems, Navigating The Distances (Orchises Press), was chosen by Booklist as "One Of The Top Ten Poetry Books Of 1999." Bennett co-founded and served as an editor of two poetry magazines, Field: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, and Ploughshares, and, during the 1980's and 90's, served as an Associate Editor for State Street Press. He has reviewed contemporary poetry books in The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Harvard Review, and elsewhere, and his poems have appeared widely in literary journals, as well as numerous textbooks and anthologies. Volume XXX of Paintbrush, entitled "The World of Bruce Bennett," was devoted to his work. He teaches literature and creative writing at Wells College, where he is Professor and Chair of English and Director of Creative Writing.



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Contributors' Notes

Karren Alenier

Jon Ballard

Virginia Bell

Bruce Bennett

Sarah Bonifacio

Sarah Browning

Jared Carter

John Thomas Clark

Jennifer Pruden Colligan

Claire Crabtree

Yoko Danno

Anthony DiMatteo

Robert Farnsworth

Carol Frith

Martin Galvin

Jen Garfield

Do Gentry

John Grey

JoAnne Growney

Amanda Halkiotis

Kirsten Hampton

Sherry Horowitz

Reamy Jansen

Brian P. Katz

Jesse Keegan

Mary Ann Larkin

Nancy Tupper Ling

Gregory Luce

Pete Mackey

Larry Moffi

Judy Neri

Shep Ranbom

Cynthia Nitz Ris

Lori Romero

Janice D. Soderling

Sandra Staas

Paul Kareem Tayyar

Naomi Thiers

Davide Trame

Jean Tupper

R.J. Van Zandt

Sharlie West

Barbara M. White

Terence Winch

Kathi Wolfe

Ernie Wormwood

Katherine E. Young










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