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by Wayne Benson Jr.

When my grandmother asks 
when you gonna start making money 
from your poetry
I want to say don’t worry 
I’m just keeping the gate warm

I didn’t mention I’ve stopped 
submitting to the bipoc issues
All I have are issues       
and words that don’t understand themselves

Past the gate there is no middle 
gound     no room for thought—
either this or that but I might
just end up the guy with a Kangol hat 

hair slicked back at your local reading
saying everything meaning nothing
Archive: II
by Wayne Benson Jr.

My lineage goes back as far as Edward Lear’s
The Owl and the Pussy Cat—
My great grandfather's fav
orite poem—
my grandmother told me
he could recite it on command.

O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
              What a beautiful Pussy you are,

And this told me everything and nothing
about the man. I can only assume
he loved
the idea of an owl and a cat swindling a ring
off a pig and eloping out to

I can only tell you, and my children’s children
how much he loved his wife
because that is what my grandmother told me
Archive: XI
by Wayne Benson Jr.

let’s admit it, we can only name 
but so many plants, and honestly, 

we’ve named them all to a grave, a metaphor, 
a casket made with orchids and peonies
and lilacs and tulips even white mangroves
(Yes, I’ve loo
ked these up)
They are laid atop an empty body. These words 
that, even now,  want to remind you 
there are flowers in a bed at your local Giant
waiting to be bought by someone who hates them
or an MFA graduate (me) next door, sitting 
in their yard, coming
 up with nothing. Nothing coming up 

Yes, I can only tell a rose from an Ivy cause I’ve been 
poisoned by both, and if that’s not enough, so be it
In My Late 20s
by Wayne Benson Jr.

“it’s all downhill from here”

I used to say
this as if 
I’d reached the top 
of something 

and there was always someone 
to say there is life and death 
in the tongue! 

but coming out now, maybe
on the other side 
of disillusion

downhill seems 
such a lighter walk.
It was worse before

trying to know the difference
between pain that is 
growing and that which grows

from standing still—and still
at times I am
the wrong side 

my life is forced 
to wake on—
The problem has always been

light was only
at the end of the tunnel

Wayne Benson Jr.

Wayne Benson is a poet and editor from Pennsylvania. He earned his MFA with the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Wilkes University. Wayne runs his own podcast, Basement Poetry Podcast, where he talks about poetry in his basement. Wayne currently has poems published in CP Quarterly, perhappened magazine, Stick Figure Poetry, and The Elevation Review. Find Wayne @Wayney_Gang on both Twitter and Instagram.

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