Icebergs (Part I)

Icebergs (Part I)


1.  Two Icebergs

Promises at dawn
Amount to nothing, at twilight.

She waits, she does
through sluggish afternoon, air conditioning
traffic crawling below
And worse,
Doom and Fate and Old:
the terror of
drying up before her time

It seems to her that always
he is spent by the day,
Programmed for the ground
Dashed, torn upon the curb
an accident victim

The accident of his Life
Just confounds him

She waits, she does.

But just so
Sound replaces light
Motion replaces reason
Lust replaces motivation
Frost replaces feeling


2. The Frost

He is Sent out On an iceberg
Into the wide North Sea

No spear,
No fur
An expedition of one

In the towers
of the Trees
Crawling on bloody knees
he gathers the earth
in slabs of clay

Around his mud-streaked body
night falls
wind howls through corridors of fir
Snowladen and Black

A little further North
North seems right


3. Suites

Credit goes to the crazy ones
Checking in, Checking out
Of their private hotel suites

She is one of those now

From the plastic pink deck chair
from the hotel’s penthouse
suddenly she knows the shape of this skyline

They all slide back, the details
like a row of dusty books removed from a shelf
then shoved back in all at once

A suite of Useless memories
that may as well be lies

His bed was over here, And over here the closet

Where above the suits and ties,
sat old primary school shoes
And a flimsy diorama he had made as a child, of the solar system

Often she stared at the diorama in the early morning beside him
And wondered how they two had happened to collide
in all the billions of miles of Space.

She couldn’t say now if in that whole of that solar system
he still  existed anywhere

The solar system of faded crepe paper and cardboard
smeared with Elmer’s paste
Yellowed, decade-hardened;

She wonders where it is
She wishes she had kept it.


Pleiades, The Bear

Pleiades. The Bear.


Photo: (c) astronomer Hakon Dahle. Oslo, Norway

we lay
on our backs
in the night fields
in the sweet grass
And spied on the Pleiades. The Bear.

And of course broad Orion
in the Southernmost sky

Arm straight,
Leg back, tense.
Pulling taut the sprawling starry fabric of the Almost-dawn
With the steady draw of his single bowstring

Once also there was a shower of stars
that fell silently
over the mint fields
And the grass seed fields
Far Across,
the purple streaked beginnings of our Dawn.

But summer rolled suddenly to her side
Pulling the comforter with her

And in the haste of her departing
kicked up a Deadening

hiding Me from You

And so you would travel
Alone your long hidden way
to the northern cities

And I would wander the midnight country
After a kind of a Ghost

of what

Greeschlyn Can’t Fail

words and photography (c) 2013 by Benjamin J Spencer

When will you move?

A new town is called for.

You have your neat grass,
Your dew drops (you reason).

Then again you also have your stinging flies

And your defeated people
who look into empty, empty

shop windows,

Rubbing their hands together.

this is why You must move to Greeschlyn.
Greeschlyn cannot fail.


Greeschlyn has the most artfully glass-strewn of warehouses.

Greeschlyn’s water is pure lysergic acid.

Greeschlyn is glazed with two centuries of baker’s flour and petroleum

Greeschlyn’s young are clinically insane
(And They find this instructive)

In Greeschlyn, you can fish for starlight in cold, salty puddles
And eat moonlight cake with shy pledge-drive orphan kids


You see

Possesses those things that can strum your nerves like a lyre

And peel the skirt right off your pelvis

Momentous things
Glinting things.



A Dedication

I found this dedication from the author in an original 1935 print of Eli Greifer’s “Poetic Lotions, Pills and Potions”, while I was sorting through the dollar carts at Strand Books:

To Moe

 -And may she find this volume helpful in sending her on the delightful path of sin – – or, if she is already dancing in the direction of the Deuce, may this book remove any sense of guilt, if such there be.

– The Devil’s Agent,



words (c) 2012 by Benjamin J Spencer

photography (c) 2011 by Benjamin J Spencer


Amarillo was the place
most aptly named
the harshest exposure of

The day empties
The light dies
Sand pours from my eyes
Carves my dreams in granite

Dreams carry
big animals

Cribs of white pearl
(thin, pink plastic mattresses)
on Threadbare carpets
Stained with
Grape soda,
Chip oil,
Beer water

The Corrections Officer paces the Supermarket aisles
Aisle 7: toilet paper,
dry, wrapped
In Pyramids
Aisle 11: aluminum foil
skin-ripping Teeth glinting Flourescent
He Scans down every aisle now – Faster
rising panic

In Twilit cracked Slab asphalt Parking Lots
Soft and silent drops the Snow
Splotching green vinyl seats
Through Rusted-open doors of Broke-down Mustangs

Amarillo was the place where
Our Road Trip
announced it’s eternal end
Our Metal frames
Drooped, exhausted, overheated
Panting and Hissing

In this Yellow
The hardest tone of Yellow

The Seal

words (c) 2012  Benjamin J Spencer

photos (c) 2007 Benjamin J Spencer

The Seal

He tries to stop doing this thing.
Reinventing himself.

But he is in the tide now floating out

They say you pick one life and stay within its borders
Its mannerisms and memories
Its committed parameters
Its field of options.

In this way you can find

He floats facedown now past the breakers,
staring into his future
Toward bottom.

He supposes he must learn to breathe in what is down there
In that cool expanse below
And let it calcify him
He will stick with the scuttling crayfish
And let their curling tails drag across his face
And watch his sides slicken with algaes
And let the gravel nibble his surface to chalk

In time he will be a smooth, wise head
They would call him teacher…
Master, maybe

But who to revel?
His sainted mother GodRestHerSoul? No.
Better to float.

How many have offered him poles? Ropes and Preservers?
His preferred state is submersion,
They couldn’t have known.

Long ago at the shore
a riptide tugged at him
and his feet dragged free from flat sand
He saw them rise in front
His toes surmounting the rolling swells
Which made of his body a mere bauble rising and falling on the sea

He expelled from his lungs all of the oxygen
Every last bit.
and sank under.
In the second before blackness
Fear and attachment
kicked his nearly-dead weight up to the air

Why he tested his mortality in this way he could not say.
Only he believed that part of him
still tied to the land and the air
To be already dead

And it distressed him to need them so.
All of them
All of those scrabbling people
Fucking and killing and fucking and killing upon little scraps of

While he
A Seal

Sealed in self-nourishing layers
of Fat
and skin

Snout and whiskers to navigate

Now abreast in cold wild waters,
Now hovering off of golden shorelines

A myth that the world only half-believes in.

For Benji

Road Trip

The moon glows all across your back
Legs curled against your chest
You’re not my brown eyed girl now
Mute in thunder, deep in hiding

North to Memphis highway 61
Torn down barns and ragged fields
These care-worn highways keep on calling me
With forever fading twilit grey

But the first time I met you
You stood behind the curtain
Of a waterfall
We slept in parking lots
Til rosy fingers heralded the dawn

Then I received a faint,
Morse-coded signal
from a lost and lonely satellite
Would you ever leave

One midnight the wind swept daggers
from the woods up on the islands
Our fire was
And with no sand-scattered driftwood left to burn

On our black tide-scoured beach
I wrapped your father’s blanket

Round you tightly

And I said I’d take care of you
If only you’d take care of me