john bennett | the silent treatment

16 09 2011

POETRY DISPATCH No.352 | September 16, 2011

The Silent Treatment
John Bennett

Sitting around
Ferlinghetti’s
apartment
over his
print shop
on upper Green
almost
40 years ago
after Bukowski’s
first
City Lights
reading
with Ferlinghetti
Bukowski
Rip Torn &
a host of
minions
someone said
Bukowski
you’re the
only one
who’s
done it &
I said
no one’s
done it
or we
wouldn’t
still be
trying to
do it &
Ferlinghetti said
the Beats
did it.

The Beats?
I said.
Kerouac?
Ginsberg?
Ferlinghetti?
But then,
you’re Ferlinghetti
aren’t you.

The room
got very
still &
Bukowski
smiled
down into
his beer
cradled on
his great
protrusion
of gut
& said
Now you’ve
done it
Bennett.

Ferlinghetti
stared at
me with
ice blue
eyes
that said
we’re
going to
silence you.

Which they
never did.


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7 responses

16 09 2011
Eric Chaet

The two of John Bennett’s novels I have read, Bodo and Tire Grabbers, are masterpieces of American, and world, literature. I have posted reviews of them at their Amazon.com pages, where you can buy copies, which will someday be worth a fortune, even in terms of money, probably.
Bodo concerns the life of, first, a boy, raised in east Germany, as it is occupied by the triumphant, rapacious Russian army, who becomes a young man in, first, New Orleans, where he is a successful disk-jockey, during rock ‘n roll days, then a true believer of the California hippie scene, traumatized, again, by its implosion. Then he has to figure out how to live in the society the hippies hoped to un-do, a problem many of us have faced most of our lives, some with more, some with less grace or success, and periodic and surprising ups & downs.
Tire Grabbers is a dark fable about those who deviously compete for total and exclusive power, interwoven with the life of someone living at the bottom, shown at various stages of his life, who pins his hope on the imagination, a radically endangered state of being.

16 09 2011
Charlie Rossiter

Interesting poem–I like it though the mention of Rip Torn seems completely superfluous. Opinion-wise, I agree with Ferlinghetti. If it’s been done, I’d say the Beats did it. And that says nothing about whether others of us should continue to attempt to do it.

16 09 2011
David Dix sr

Rip Torn? Something about him other than that Hollywood-contrived name must have along the line escaped me.

Silent treatment? We here for sure know about that. Write on.

Love the poem and posting!

16 09 2011
Ann Medlock

“It,” eh? Since we’re all going to see “it” our own way, don’t everybody stop writing, OK? My money’s on Bennett.

16 09 2011
Paul Fericano

Satire often makes us feel a little uneasy. We question why we’re laughing. But that’s its job. “The Silent Treatment” is John Bennett at the very top of his game. For me, the most vital thing about poetry has always been the skillful use of humor in all its forms. John has known this very well and practiced it for years. The ability to accept the true nature of reality as essentially absurd exposes our own folly and opens a door to laughter. Humor in poetry is often viewed from a great distance as strange and uncharted territory, difficult to navigate through and perilous to find a way back from. This is the terrain I feel most confident traveling and exploring, and it’s where I find the best of John Bennett.

16 09 2011
Leonard Cirino

The Beats might have experimented but they didn’t learn a thing from the experience. I’ve had run-ins with Ferlinghetti — all he is is a privileged white boy whose family paid for everything including his education and business. He is a Stalinist Commie crap head and if you don’t know it a Fascist on the left. Good insight John, Leonard Cirino

17 09 2011
Ralph Murre

I have most all the books from Kamini Press, and any of their efforts are well worth your time. What is NOT worth the time, it seems to me, is this cult of the personality. Read the writer’s writing, see the artist’s art — beyond that this one-upmanship of “oh, I’ve had my run-ins with this or that person” smell a lot like jealous crap to me. Spoiled white boy? Maybe. Helluva writer? Yeah, and that’s what matters and will continue to matter after we’re all ashes blowin’ in the wind.

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