Ben Newell

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bright future

I read this
the electronic billboardArtwork by Gene McCormick
during my morning commute,
part of the college’s
latest marketing campaign,
an attempt to entice
and lure,
this two-word assurance of fulfillment
and happiness
and success—

I served this institution
as an adjunct.  

Factor in class preparation
and grading essays
and you have compensation
far below the minimum wage.

So I gave it up,
sought my supplementary income
at a bookstore
where the pay was just as lousy,
but at least they didn’t lie
expect me to do
the same.


Ben Newell, 43, works as a library clerk at a small college in Jackson, Mississippi.  His poems have appeared in Chiron Review, LUMMOX, Nerve Cowboy, Pink Litter, Your One Phone Call, and others.  He used to be a pretty damn good skateboarder until he became too old and too uninsured.