September 12-18, 2011: Benjamin Schmitt and Stephanie Mesler

week of September 12-18, 2011

Benjamin Schmitt and Stephanie Mesler

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Benjamin Schmitt

Bio (auto)

A graduate of Boise State University, Benjamin Schmitt was born in Columbia, Missouri. He currently resides in Seattle, Washington though he has spent most of his life in Idaho and Wisconsin. Over the years he has worked a number of odd jobs including dishwasher, banker, janitor, and customer service representative. His work has been published in Pearl, The Evergreen Review, The Fine Line, Danse Macabre, and Otis Nebula.

The following work is Copyright © 2011, and owned by Benjamin Schmitt and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

In the name of a martyr

oh blue-eyed spectacle
oh savage accumulation of bank teller and auto-mechanic rage
there is blood on the news desk
there is a shotgun singing a lonely song
there are the people who loved you and the people who loved your magazine covers
the latter holds a candlelight vigil in a super shopping center with a discount on flannel
the media age would have reduced Keats to a bumper sticker
it would have severed all of Shakespeare’s literary limbs leaving only the sex, drugs, and Iago
one hundred years earlier and you might have been a painter
filling landscapes with aborted fetuses and oceans with Parisian urine
one hundred years later; maybe a terrorist
bombing record companies
taking pop stars hostage and having your sex with them recorded for the world
writing a poem for every corporate leader you assassinated
and leaving them at the scenes of your crimes
demanding the propagandists read Baudelaire on the air
to make you stop
but you were born in our time
and it shaped you
disaffection and dandruff collected on your sweaters
your jeans were torn and stained with an end of century madness
cataclysmic events ensued with swinging guitars, flying cymbals, and a bass drum blown straight through

oh dreadlocked man from Boise
hit by a car that we have never seen
the angles of your artistry still exist on pool tables
beer glasses perspire with tears shed for you
I remember audacious heterosexual kisses
upon soldiers and infidels
and if a man didn’t know
your lips would reveal himself
I remember your voice that snapped
that creaked with humor
before the joke
like a window opened onto a scene
of chipmunks boxing in the grass
you who coaxed our better natures
and put those other snakes to bed
you who bought rounds for everyone
we have a shot named for you
you who found peace in bicycles
and your lover a woman who shared
the foreignness of your eyes
you who rescued those weird nights
when you served stars on silver plates, orbs glowing under garnish, helping us forget the banal

a Rapture has come
and taken the vagabonds
a thousand crows descend upon the square
a ship of gamblers goes down in the storm
miscarriages squeeze hearts until eyes change from green to ash
and tongues drip mucus
that vanishes into purple steam
fervent Christians have reservations booked
at the hit show of the antichrist
they’ve called ahead to get
a table in the Babylon café
and the blood keeps dripping
from envelope-like leaves
a baboon shouts in the heat
that will not pass
a heat that seems to be hungry
you feel the cold relief of being dipped in ketchup before you are consumed
oh martyrs, oh drunks, oh junkies of the midnight aisle
how many bullets were made to pierce you
how many drinks were poured that threw you out the door
you were the ambassadors of shantytowns
and those with alternative lifestyles who could only fall asleep in trees
you were the honest ones who spoke for liars and thieves
where are those voices now
as most of us fall to join the unfortunates
in tents made from designer suits
and the shopkeepers lament those loiterers now dwindled
as a new kind of criminality becomes the norm
cunning without honor, on, on,
oh yes, the rich must carry on

Stephanie Mesler

Bio (auto)

Stephanie Mesler is a poet, play-write, story-teller, eroticist, musician. preacher, teacher and mom. She has been previously published in For the Girls, Skysong, Columbus Monthly, Bedtime Stories and Art and, most recently, in Pillowtalk, the August 2011 edition. Her play, Mothers’ Days, was presented at Third Avenue Performance Space and was nominated for a Columbus Theater Guild award. Ms. Mesler currently lives and writes in Florida, at the moment in New Port Richey, Florida, but her precise location is subject to change without notice. She is madly in love with a rocket scientist and her recent works reflect her current condition. Ms. Mesler uses this blog to publish some of her works, especially sermons and rituals not likely to appear in print elsewhere. Once in a while, she sees fit to update her poet’s diary and share her wisdom (such as it is) and reflections on the writer’s life. Her chap book, Ermengarde the Expansive can be purchased at

The following work is Copyright © 2011, and owned by Stephanie Mesler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Mother’s Red Shoes

Four years old,
May West boa wrapped around my neck,
playing dress-up.
A cartoon of grown-up lady elegance,
black gloves up to my arm pits,
reaching for My Mother’s Red Shoes
in a clear plastic shroud at the back of her closet.

Mother calls me away,
offering silver sequined sandals.
But they are not tall
or red.
They do not satisfy.

At fourteen,
dressing for a boy whose name is now long forgot,
striving for sophistication.
Mother-love is offered in the form of once forbidden treasure:
My Mother’s Red Shoes,
Stylish in 1960, not so in ‘75.
Thanks, but no thanks.
Back they go, entombed, unloved, unused.

Orphaned at forty-nine,.
Celebrating life requires dressing the corpse.
Rummaging in her closet a necessary intrusion.
Violating her privacy,
a box containing diaries with keys and letters,
the kind written by hand, postmarked and stamped for delivery-
I find a woman whose power I never imagined:
Mother was a romantic;
Mother inspired poets;
Mother broke hearts and disrupted happy homes.

In an envelope wrapped in red ribbon,
folded between pages of verse,
a photo:
There she is, dark-eyed with gypsy curls and ruddy cheeks,
blooming on the arm of a man whose eyes match mine.
My Mother’s Red Shoes on this woman’s feet
tell of joy in life, abandon to love.
I can see her in the arms of this man whose eyes are blue,
dancing in My Mother’s Red Shoes.

Eulogies spoken and songs sung,
poems read and prayers offered.
In a room for private goodbyes,
I release my tired feet from practical mourner’s shoes,
Lift the lid.
I see this is not my mother,
wearing gold lame’ to meet the god in whom she did not believe.
This decaying relic will not mind wearing black flats to the hereafter.

I do not cry at her grave,
do not hear the final prayer, blessing, or dismissal.
Red roses fall onto her casket.
I stand in My Mother’s Red Shoes,
scanning bereavers’ faces for eyes of blue.

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