Exile on Washington Street

The collected mass bays for blood.
“Kill him” and “Crucify him,”
they sing through assorted smiles.
This is no ordinary execution.
The condemned is no ordinary man.

In the spring heat outside,
the world passes by.
But, inside,
in the makeshift praetorium,
the judgement becomes somber glee.

Like Winter Into Spring

A life consumed by quiet
ends at the beachwood park.
There, among the mud and wind,
the man in gray says goodbye.

Who will mourn?
Not the green grass
or the dead leaves.

All will be forgotten;
no plaque will resurrect his name.
The man in gray will disappear

like winter into spring.

The Brotherhood of Night Drivers

Cradle to grave,
all in black.
Some luminescent green
breeds digital blood.

Every oily night is the same—
and lonely.
The few faces on the road
look suicidal.
No one would blame them
if they did.

They’re just an unwanted brotherhood
unaware of their shared

In the Valley of Zero

There’s a concept down there,
waiting for you and me.
We cannot grab it, fondle it, or subtract it
like the years between us.

It exists wholly inside and outside of itself.
I cannot give you a better picture of it from here,
but you’re not listening anyway.
You never listen.

I guess it’s my fault.
I talk in blank pages full of empty ideas.
But you’re no colorful painting, either.
I’ve seen the white-walled house you were born in.

That’s why that valley is perfect for us—
two milquetoast entities brooding over extinguished fires.
We could feel nothing down there,
and we could rationalize happiness down there.

So let’s go then,
into the greatest void lacking mathematics.
Let’s equalize ourselves
like two square roots cancelled out.

Let’s love again and again
and come around,
back to zero,
and succumb exponentially.


“Exile on Washington Street,” “Like Winter Into Spring,” and “The Brotherhood of Night Drivers” are excerpts from Benjamin Welton’s new poetry chapbook, PANIC. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.