Three Poems by Ben Nardolilli

Artwork by Ben Culwell
Reasons to Fail at Sleeping in 2018

The work, the workstation,
The state of the work station,
The coworkers, the questions,
The dread of dreading
Going to work and breaking down
While listening to a mix
Of Beck and Phillip Glass,
Their work, your work,
How your work fails to compare,
Your comparisons with others,
Their apartments, their heating,
The hissing that keeps
The last legs of winter away,
The cold of the office,
The white shine of the buildings,
Memorable quotes you try
To remember and fail to,
So you try to recall that poem
You thought of before
Going to bed, the one about
The poem in your head full
Of fears of boxes tumbling
Over you in the morning,
One great wall of paper
Falling down and ending
An illustrious career in temping,
And if you get this far down the list
It’s back again, then, to the work,
The workstation, the mess,
The paperwork and the work
With paper full of letters and lines
You did not write but have to read



Results of a Summer Vacation

I finally managed to produce a cover that sold,
afterwards, I abandoned the theme of the rose
and went off on my own, riding a bus
to ponder the future of my synapses

I can’t say why I got into the language,
I was inspired by visual remnants of the sixties,
that influenced me in terms of structure,
plus the two-thirds of a whiskey carton I slept on

I was often mad, getting too twisted to come out,
Now there are plenty of good reasons for anger,
and I have nothing against anger,
but all it gave me was a wild and paranoid vision

Romping Around the Bend

Have your mountains, your human-less forests,
your people-free hills, call it a frontier,
call it as a wilderness, though be careful
with the name and the claim you stake into it,
a wilderness is a troublesome thing
to preserve when given that title to wear,
it flags it for others to come visit, tourists,
and settlers, plus those who like to think
that they carry the frontier inside of themselves.

But I’ll stay here in the city, among canyons
of towers and peaks of church steeples,
when I need green I’ll seek gardens in summer
and the emerald isles of eyes in winter,
and if I need an empty space, it’ll be within
myself, a hollow so hallowed no one can claim it
as wilderness or otherwise, not even me,
the void which devours cocaine, gold, and sex,
unless or until it starts to choke on faith



Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, Inwood Indiana, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at and is looking to publish a novel.