Dead leaves are underneath the tarp.
The sleeping bag rots along with the tent.
The cotton is soiled with blood, sweat, and piss.
This is not how it was supposed to go,
she muses as she shoves the needle in.
She has a crowd watching her,
secretly cheering on her death.
the hero is unwittingly betrothed to death.
The ship’s doctor, warmed by candles, approaches.
“You must lead a more normal life,”
he wheezes with liquor lungs.
“You cannot last this way for long.”
The hero, turning his eyes heavenwards,
smiles and reprimands,
“You’re always wanting me to give up things;
What am I to do?
“What man would give up a thirty-year legacy,
just for the comforts of a smoke and books?”
“Any man,” the doctor says, “who loves God’s greatest gift.”
“Life so precious, yet so often misspent.”
The hero closes his eyes,
which have been burned by the Arctic Sun,
and lets his body drift with the ocean.
In the morning, on approaching South Georgia,
the hero will be dust in the snow—
the victim of a wonderful exhaustion.
The doctor will grow cold in bed too,
but with many wishes left to fulfill.
At the Cafe
Fluorescent lights touch porcelain
as I toast to old habits
One of them is sitting in nighttime cafes
thinking about all the stories untold.
I’ll dream another tonight
as I try to forget
He’s Holden Caulfield all grown up,
with his bitterness intact,
it has increased along with his weight.
Tonight he’s losing to some girl
who works behind the bar
and recently wrecked her car.
They’re both horrible people.
When she sinks the eight,
he moves to shake her fist,
but she insists
on a terrible kiss
That says “fuck you” with sugar.
It tingles his fat,
and as he goes to put on his hat,
he makes a finger gun and blows out his brains.
Good Luck Puzzle
The Good Luck Puzzle was written in Mandarin
by a Mandarin
obsessed with trapped fingers.
He rallied around red lamps
with heaps of hot tea
and opium smoke lips.
He sung the blues
and counted one-two-three.
He did nothing but figure
The mathematics of tomorrow
and the philosophy of today.
He dreamed the integral integers
Then drowned in wine and women.
He wrote the book
on divine nonsense.
Let us praise him then
as we do all great men
who obscure definition.
Let’s toast him alive
and eat his skin.
Let’s anoint the oil of his sweat,
And after all has been arranged,
let’s return to the puzzle
piece by piece.
Benjamin Welton is a freelance writer based in Boston. He has been published in Sanitarium, The Atlantic, Thuglit, Social Matter, and other places. His blog is The Trebuchet.