all eredniC and the Seven Snow Whites

By Ben |

I wrote this story back in high school (early 1990s) and submitted it to a dozen or so magazines before finding one that offered to buy it … and then went out of business before they could send me a contract. Rereading it now, it's clear I'd had a bit too much literary analysis.


“It seems like it’s all over before it’s begun … ”

And they all lived happily ever after.


Worm Bin poem

By Ben |

shredded newsprint
    moistened, yellowed, pungent
shelters squirming handfuls
    garbage eaters, dirt makers, red wigglers
slimily slithering
    beneath, between, among
silent, secret orgy in the green beans

brownness from greenness
warm and heavy, dark and musky
beforeness from afterness

soft skins explore, recoil
    sing a single whisper of wriggling
neverending moistened newsprint
    baking soda rain

SWUUSI '92 poem

By Ben |

I wrote this poem after attending a summer camp for Young Religious Unitarian Universalists in 1992 (age 16). It was an eventful week, because there were a few kids intent on breaking the rules. They kept at it until they got kicked out, after an epic 5am meeting called by my youth director, Bill Gupton. Bill was equally adamant that he would not be the one to kick them out; the group had to agree to enforce the rules... we just couldn't end the meeting until that happened!

The Electronics Shop

By admin |

There's a bit in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance where Robert M. Pirsig says that there are two types of mechanics [I'm paraphrasing]: those who have to have a place for everything and everything in its place, and those who remember where they put everything down. If you disturb either one of their organization schemes, they won't be able to find anything.

One Night in Cleveland

By Ben |

In 1996, my sister and her boyfriend had just moved into a new apartment in Pittsburgh, and they invited my family to join them for Christmas. I decided to take the bus there from my college in Grinnell, Iowa, which meant I had layovers in Des Moines, Chicago, and Cleveland. As I recall, the Cleveland layover was from roughly 11pm to 2am.

The Cleveland bus terminal back then was one big hall, with gates on three sides and a ticket counter on the fourth, with seats in the middle of the room and restrooms up a flight of stairs. I settled in to wait.

Some things I've learned from Dad

By Ben |

Both my parents turn 80 this year. Dad's birthday is first. Here are some of the life lessons I've learned from him specifically, that I wouldn't have got from just any father.

The road less traveled is there to be explored.

Dad has always made it his business to know where every road or path goes and what one can find there. He rarely takes the same route twice in a row. Often a routine trip home from church in Tulsa or visiting his parents in OKC would turn into an adventure in the countryside, as he would spot a road he didn't recognize and turn off to explore it.