THREE POEMS by BEN RIDDLE

OH BOY, HERE I GO KILLING AGAIN ​ Drone strikes strafe the suburban streets of Kandahar, I don't know who turned on friendly fire, but the fires came and rained down imperial apocalypse, an urban cleansing, a street by street annexing of kids and mothers. I forgot the HUD inverts; left becomes right, right; left, up is down, that hospital makes either bombs, or families. We are replicating the asphyxiation of Dresden, asking for the same kind of forgiveness. It is for the greater good, I tell myself; I, a drone, a bureaucrat.

 

SHELVED IDEAS ​ Every night, I decide to change my entire life. I've wondered if it might be the moonlight filtering through my window as I tinker tanker with clocks, the tiny mechanics of time pieces strung up like flayed men or the working class; I take them apart like the Australian unions; police the remains like my blue-gloved hands will find evidence of the treachery of time. We stay up late because it's the only time we have to ourselves like it is the only gap we get between racing speed traps and 9am to work and back, like it is the only time we have to be ourselves and dance covered in paint in your studio, or naked beneath the moon. The laundry is done or undone, we procrastinate sleep because living like this is dreaming; is all we have when people are done taking from us. I am tired taking sick leave to feel like myself. If everyone is sick, then it has to be something in the water, in the ecosystem; if everyone in the system is sick, maybe we are breathing in too many flecks of rust like the machine is old and needs to be replaced, or maybe we are breathing in too much oil, and we do not realise we are choking on it; or maybe the whole system is on fire and there is no longer enough oxygen so maybe we can't breathe, maybe this is our last gasp of consciousness as we fade hallucinating illusions like the differences between us, or that anyone in government gives a fuck about our homes, our water, our fucking air. Late at night, I think it's a little easier to breathe while we lie with someone we love and pretend that tomorrow is going to be different, or better, or we say things like "it's going to be okay," because we want it to be, or we want the person, the people we love to believe for a little while; in anything. Every night, I decide to change my entire life. In the morning, I choose to do nothing.

 

STREETCORNER SERMON ​ Someone had graffitied Mathew 6:5-8 on the wall across from the church where they teach you how to hate; a tired anointment of black ink on grey wall, somehow a holier font than the spring inside the church. In Rome, they would soak fabric in piss to bleach it white and angelic. Perhaps the priesthood still baptises itself with human filth. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites who pray to be seen on streetcorners.

 

The most interesting thing about Benjamin Riddle is that he is building a little library of all the poetry he can get his hands on. The voices of poets go still too soon.