John Bennett

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Restaurant Love

I'm so
old now
that I
can fallArtwork by Gene McCormick
down in
front of
a restaurant
& beautiful
women bend
to help
me up.

And so
do it.

I hang
around until
a woman
with good
legs &
a sympathetic
steps out
onto the
sidewalk &
then down
I go.

Nine times
out of
ten she
bends over
me &
reaches out
a hand.

I take
her hand
& let
her pull
me halfway
up then
fall down
again pulling
her on
top of me.

I've been
at it
for over
a month now.

Sometimes I
pretend to
go into
a fit
while she's
helping me
up &
my body
into hers.

Other times
I pretend
to be
unconscious &
hold my
breath so
she thinks
I've stopped
breathing &
gives me

But sometimes
things take
an unexpected
twist when
I try

The other
day a
woman instead
of giving
me mouth-
me her
dress riding
high up
her thighs
& began
pounding on
my chest.

It was
painful but
thru hooded
eyes I
saw her
breasts quivering
under her
thin blouse
with each
blow she

& when
I gasped
as if
I could
breathe again
to her
first aid)
my fluttering
fingers came
to rest
upon her

The only
things really
backfired was
when I
pretended to
be in
a confused
& held
the woman
in my
arms &
while kissing
her face
& neck
the name
of an
old lover.

It turned
out it
was her
name too
& I
wound up
at the
police station
where I
was interrogated
for eight
hours straight.

But now
I've covered
all the
in town
& what's
left are
places like
Burger King.

What will
it say
about my
moral character
if I
that low?

The Nice People

I was
full of
coarse love
& the
nice people
put a
soft pillow
over my
& said
Shush now.

Then they
There there
until my
legs stopped

They didn't
lift the
makes them

They turned
the lights
low &
hummed lullabies.

Hatred is
too strong
a word
for them.

Their hearts
too faint.


John Bennett was for many years the driving force behind Vagabond Press which operated on the run from Munich to DC to New Orleans to San Francisco and beyond.  He’s published four novels, two novellas, five short story collections and numerous books of poetry, essays and shards, a poem/story hybrid of his own invention.

He keeps slamming out the words, if anything with more ferocity than ever. As Henry Miller said so eloquently around half a century ago, “You may as well have your say, they’re going to shit on you anyway.”