Ben Nardolilli-

Diner Lyric

There goes Mr. Live-Forever,
Opening the door with a handkerchief
To sheath his glove covered hands.

There goes Mr. Live-Forever,
He orders the burger made out of turkey,
He would eat the feathers if he could.

Yes, he has traveled, he asks
The waitress for the meal to be deluxe,
And for a baked potato en lugar fries.

There goes Mr. Live-Forever,
His breath smelling of celery
His glass half-full of iced mineral water,

There goes Mr. Live-Forever,
Under the grace and guide of the experts,
So he might sleepwalk in mint condition.


Jeremiad #12 & #35

Tell me I don’t have to feel for you,
All of you,
My generation,
Please give into rage yourselves,
I won’t sink myself into your hearts
What you wish to say,
Then say it for you,
My generation,
You break the mirror when I do it
(The mirror is not always backwards)
You laugh, cackle, guffaw,
You sometimes throw furniture
But only in your dreams,
You have called for honesty
In high places
But what about in the gutters
That line your insides?
No election is needed,
No dark horse for projection
My beloved, you threw a party
But not too far,
I have gone through your rooms
And found sedation,
Only among the coats was love,
The Kool-Aid was delicious, I’m sure,
It smelled like your memories spiked,
Father and summer camp!
My generation,
The disease is no feeling,
The crimes are fed on apathy,
Not greed,
Greed would set us in motion,
Rage would shatter the frames that hold us
Pop the good doctors’ cushions,
My generation, let’s have no more heartburn,
No more indigestion
That you call nostalgia,
There is kindling inside
And you can be the arsonist.
My generation, here is a flame,
I will take the water away for tonight,
And risk drowning for you all,
I’m sure you know the ritual,
Don’t blow it,
Don’t blow it out.


Personals Ad #64

Let Jonathan tell you about his revelation,
No let him love you first,
Then you will understand his exasperation,
The total purification rundown.

Give it a year,
You should find yourselves amorous,
And in comfort without any fear,
Then he can sit you down and ask

With prayer on both his knees,
If you would like to hear
His account and voyage, free of fees,
Where the boat went up on coral and rocks.

But in a year, where will you travel?
Far from him,
Then his hopes unravel,
Better to get love and confession over with,

Would a week do, to tell of the abuse
The old devil and moon conducted?
He has the right language now, is not obtuse
But no syntax is immune to nervousness.


A Sighting


Liquid nails running down my hands
Wondering if my own cuticles
Have peeled and gone to waste,

I drag along, Boswell-like beside the author
To paste the posters of his reading
On every virgin lamppost and phone booth

Sometimes putting them over a title
Or an advertisement for a television show,
The star now looking up at the announcement

For a reading as if it is holy writ,
Stuck to the side of a bodega
By the sticky fingers of God himself.

He says he never thought writing would mean
Getting hands so unclean,
He was always concerned more with his reputation,

About the lawsuits, or the simple stains
From postage stamps and wet ink,
He knows the big names sell out their events anyways,

That there is always a budget for them to tour
While he is left (with me) to do the work
Of getting the word out about his outing of words.

We cross the street and he stops me,
It is too late to look around, he says,
And we have just missed a specimen of celebrity

Whose name he tries to get me to recognize,
I think and file around faces, but nothing
Sparks or shines, not even a faint outline,

We go on to continue our illicit publicity campaign
While I think of how such rare creatures
Have come to make these streets worth watching,

Each one an exotic species whose plumage we admire
And whose appearances take the place of angels
Since all we know of nature are rats and pigeons.

The only idols these streets allow must move,
To remain immaculate from mustaching graffiti
And the once-in-a-nighttime writ of writers above them.


Out on National Harbor

The bustle has vanished, the
Streets are clean, no merchandise
Is tossed to make way for new wares.

The sidewalks wear garlands made
Of the footsteps of happy customers,
Plans to consume, consummated.

I search for a market,
For negotiations on the spot,
I see the sales planned in advance.

Adam Smith, this all seems
To be a ritual now,
This is a temple to your writ,

But such rites you would detest,
Commerce cut neatly, currency
A fine marker of communion.

These are standards they have sought,
Now the gold and silver are gone,
Except in the holiday lighting.

In this day of fiat, all must be planned,
Considered, taken cautiously,
A run, a panic, a departure avoided,

They have built this city on gravel
And daily shift the weights
To imitate the tides they declare to worship.


Ben Nardolilli is a twenty four year old writer currently living in Arlington, Virginia. His work has appeared in Houston Literary Review, Perigee Magazine, Canopic Jar, Lachryma: Modern Songs of Lament, Baker’s Dozen, Thieves Jargon, Farmhouse Magazine, Elimae, Poems Niederngasse, Gold Dust, The Delmarva Review, Underground Voices Magazine, SoMa Literary Review, Heroin Love Songs, Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue, Cantaraville, and Perspectives Magazine.  In addition he was the poetry editor for West 10th Magazine at NYU and maintains a blog at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com.