June 29-July 5, 1998: Ben Ohmart and Mary Tomaselli

Week of June 29, 1998-July 5, 1998

Ben Ohmart and Mary Tomaselli

Ben Ohmart


BEN OHMART, a New York based poet, playwright and composer, has written for the stage, television and film Most recent stage works include Ooglesnort Part II, a Pythonesque revue; Caliban, an absurdist reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest; Daughters of Rage, a ballet based on Garcia Lorca’s play, The House of Bernarda Alba and commissioned by the Dance Department at Florida State University; Henry, an opera about William Rufus, William the Conqueror’s son; Two Panic Plays, a translation and adaptation of two plays by Fernando Arrabal, performed at Syracuse Stage After Hours; and The Friendship Play, commissioned by the Groves International Committee on Friendship and the Family The Tell-Tale Heart, an opera based on the Edgar Alan Poe short story, was commissioned by WFSU television and scores for Stonewall: Old Blue Light and Jesse: The Jesse James Musical were commissioned by Theatre West Virginia and the University of Mississippi, respectively A finalist in America’s Best Comedy Script competition, Ben is a professional “gag” writer with several published and performed routines to his credit, as well as many poems and stories published in journals across the country, including A Madman’s Dream, Black Bear Review, Interbang, 13 Magazine, Reflections, X-Ray Magazine, On the Road, Artisan, Alternative Press Magazine, Reptiles of the Mind, D.C.C.R , Transcendence, Sparks, Planet Chaos, Zap Inc , The Wicked, Sink Full of Dishes, Buddagus, Parthenogenesis, Skidfish, The Arm’s Extent, Furry Chiclets, Holy Temple of Mass Consumption!, Mongoloid Moose, The Subterranean, Farm Pulp, Frayed, Children Churches and Daddies, Gortday Review, Kaspahraster, Vox, Suffusion, 10 Things Jesus Wants You To Know, Feh! and The Iconoclast His translations in collaboration with John Franceschina of the plays of the Marquis de Sade are published by Hollowbrook, and his musical adaptation of The Jungle Book was recently toured by Syracuse Stage.

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Ben Ohmart and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

She’s Hard Like Old Erasers

we put the money on the money
5 on 5 if we want a pizza
she hasn’t come up with her half
in 23 years
I’d kick her out of bed if
I wasn’t an amputee

8th St Crap

bottle of green-yellow liquid
a mom
pieces of pieces of a puzzle
the 12pm picture that comes on a new clock
a wife’s soiled napkin
3 strings of G

The Pardon’s Fart

in chains, he saw the man
coming with the white #10 envelope
stop at the door WONK!!!
and depending on the answer
it didn’t really matter


in my yellow Sony bag
it was shower wet at one end
I didn’t know what she wanted me

Station Eerie

every loose woman standing still
the tile lights start to blink
a whosh of air coming in on the other side
man with the blind dog
staggers and goes 6 across 1 down

i walk in beauty like the asshole

up the street
gets in his ice cream car
money out of the ash tray
played that Frigging music
all the corn kids follow
with mother apron money
stops, feels what they need
little girl needs a hard vanilla
and it’s cheaper than the van
while the beer cooler opens
store brand comes out
kids are happy, chocolate nose hardens
the asshole squeezing the tube

Word Responsible

friend of mine does the words
i’m on music with a 4 track
got 2 song contracts in the mail
actually, publisher got them mixed
ours were Pump My Water
and Milk Me
contracts were for Love You
Meet Me in the Screen Door
and Half Off
signed anyway
i mean
a contract’s a contract

Six Snow Inches

called my grandparents
60s children that
used to drive gas cars
light gas stoves
get real
they had 6 inches of snow
in their yard
we live about 5 blocks away
said we had less than an inch
grandma cussed me out
i looked out the window
invasion .

Mrs Slocum’s Pussy

it is 1998
I expect within 5 years
if it isn’t already
there will be a rock
or punk
band called
Mrs Slocum’s Pussy
if you watch Are You Being Served?
you know I am watching it too
I see you
through the tv screen

Cartoonist Alarm

I have tried writing gags
for cartoonists
I send my cartoon ideas
and get back ‘it’s funny,
but I don’t think I can do it I have that kind of sense
of humor too though!’
my gags are locked up
among my cats, women and song
half drawn mind tits
minus a nipple
sex without smiles

Dylan Lips Wife

over around the coffee night can
a Wonderbread deliverance
taped tap shoes on the Singer
white-black man in the olive garden
records crying white blues cheesy
an amazing circus calls the white dog
bitch out at being under the house
come in and wrap the fish in
out of state ads and lime soaked stains
mother in brown hair and letters for bills
stands about the rain on the flat rocks
putting a hat on the half light
what the hell’s wrong?
what the fuck’s riding on you?
the veggie pizza gets there
and you’ve gotta make sense now

Mary Tomaselli


I’m an indexer and library consultant living and working in New York City I also teach a continuing education course at Queensborough Community College in Women’s literature I have been writing poetry for years and have been published in Poetry Motel, Muddy River Poetry Review, Arrowsmith, and other journals My work has been featured on the Alien Flower Poetry Workshop and in Dave Jones’ e-zine Equinox.

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Mary Tomaselli and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Love Poem

I saw a pair of fat red lips
on the marble floor
and, though your lips
were never red like those,
or as voluptuous,
I thought of you;
it may have been that
you were already there
somewhere in the back of my mind
waiting to be thought about;

you, who used to call me
and make me think you needed me;
you, who let me in on all your little secrets,
ones you said you never told anyone else,
you who weren’t quite lying;

you see I had never felt so preferred,
so elected by another to serve with such purpose,
and you were needy;
I don’t know who you talk to now,
or, maybe, youíve grown
to keep your own counsel
the lips on the floor were as silent
as you are on the subject.


like a cold blanket,
an arctic shroud, white,
like Christ’s hanging from the Easter cross;
redemptive and pristine,
an almost welcome cover-up;
clay for mitten sculptures,
like a new infant’s soul,
a momentary treat for
warm tongues, chattering teeth.


They’re throwing marigolds and rose petals
on the coffin containing my ashes;
they’re chanting my name, hip deep
in the holy waters of the Ganges and Yamuna These ashes, my own ashes,
have lain all these years in the dark,
in a vault, cold and gray,
I walked the earth with these people
and stood on the riverbank with them,
loved them and died for them;
holy men wrap themselves in saffron,
women rest on a sandbar,
in this country, where some now call me
enemy Give me back my ashes!
Toss them to the wind,
let them sink below the surface of your memory
and become one with my soul
which runs down to the sea.

No Dream of Gardens

I have no dream of gardens,
lucious and green,
like the Daintree rainforest
I once knew;
no dream of blue-green water,
diamond-flashing palm tree
black against the sun;
no dream of a place to go
when it’s over,
and I’m shut up in a drawer
in a wall of drawers;
no dream of a beautific face, welcoming,
at the far end of a darkened hallway;
no dream of forever, ever after
after life, except
that someone might remember.


I brought home the sun
from the tropical island
and laid it on my bed,
smoothing it out to the edges;
it shone bright and warmed the wintry room;
when tropical flowers grew there,
and filled the room with scent and color,
I thought: it would be enough til Spring.

On My Way Out

I’ve made it a rule of my life
never to leave the house for anything
but the joyous;
Don’t ask me to put in an appearance,
pick you up from the station,
drive you to an appointment,
attend another fundraiser,
show up for dinner at your mother’s;

I’m on my way out
to pick up pizza and a good movie.

Death by Drapery

I see you there in my mind’s eye
doing your balancing act
(your semicircular waters inexorably thickening)
you have lived for ages
leaning, reaching
spreading little clips along the bar
every 3 months, changing things
when they aren’t even dirty
Tempting fate, or the god you think is there
somewhere who won’t save you
I’m sure;
if you lean over just enough
(your corset’s irrelevant now)
gravity will take over
naturally Thank you Mr Newton.

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