john bennett | the black blood of dinosaurs

25 05 2010

PoetryDispatch No. 321 | May 25, 2010


Editor’s Note: There is so much anger in me over the oil spill in the Gulf I can’t stand to hear or read another word about it. I know I am not alone trying to deal with this rage.

In a few weeks I will be teaching my annual Writing Workshop at The Clearing, here in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin where I have not so much ‘taught’ as presented my sense of the writer’s life for over thirty years. The theme of this year’s workshop is “The Writer and the Bigger Picture.” Major study includes: Carolyn Forche’, Nadine Gordimer, Tim O’Brien. I suspect you know where I am headed with this theme.

I prefaced my description of the course this year with a quote from Pablo Neruda: “From the Inca to the Indian, from the Aztec to the contemporary Mexican peasant, our homeland America has magnificent mountains, rivers, deserts and mines rich in minerals. Yet the inhabitants of this generous land live in great poverty. What then should be the poet’s duty?” (Italics mine).

John Bennett has always known precisely what the poet’s duty is in both poetry and prose. His brilliant ‘shards’ (a new collection of these gems recently released, DRIVE BY ) are evidence enough. So too the poem below, (a likely candidate for class study) where, with a single image, John skillfully raises the mundane, preachy aspect of the “poetry of politics,” turning anger into art. —Norbert Blei

The Black Blood of Dinosaurs

John Bennett

Two memorial
services in
one day after
mowing half
the lawn, a
20-minute nap
that turned into
three hours,
sitting on
the hill
drinking coffee
with darkness
coming on
while 2,000
miles south the
Gulf of
fills with
the black blood
of dinosaurs.

Both John’s new novel, Children of the Sun & Earth and Drive By are now available by credit card from the Hcolom Press web page by clicking here…



9 responses

25 05 2010
Alice D'Alessio

The black blood of dinosaurs! Oh don’t we wish we could dip all those big shot oil magnates in there and let them wallow in it!

25 05 2010
Jean Casey

I never take it lightly that those scales on great lumbering beasts, some who rose up to challenge the sun on leathery wings, are quilled feathers on the birds who bless us every year with their return. PLease! Don’t anyone take that away from me! What a dazzling concept, “the black blood of dinasours.” Yup!!

26 05 2010
MaryAnn Grzych

I could only gasp at the last three lines. What a powerful image. It’s one of those phrases that I’ll never forget and always wish I had written.

26 05 2010
Jeffrey Winke

Another brilliant, I-wish-I-said-that poem from John Bennett. What an incredible image: the black blood of dinosaurs!

26 05 2010
jude, hey

Don’t think I’ve ever felt an image as powerful as this ~ talk about nailing it! ~thanks Blei!~

26 05 2010
George Bisbee

Don’t want to get into the oil spill. My anger spills way past the company and our leaders in Washington. One said we should pray! Are you kidding me???? Fix the problem, then sort out who pays for it. This is a life-ending catastrophe, spare no expense to fix it-NOW.

Re: the writing class. I have chosen to focus on Tim O’Brien, although I have read the other required pieces. I’ve also begun Sandburg’s Lincoln, the Prairie Years. It is outstanding, and I aspire to write like that.

31 05 2010
Ed Markowski

35 years of peace
sunlight spills through
a defoliated jungle

fish oil fish

doc said ” 227 no need for statin drugs quit the soprasetta

the asiago the genoa salami the mortadella steer clear

of carbonara alfredo cannolis stay away from ferrucci’ s

market walk two miles at least four days a week pump

a little iron pump the missus pray to the blessed virgin

pray the rosary then go to carbone’s drug store buy a

bottle of this take 3000 milligrams a day tell carbone

doc rinaldi sent you if carbone’ s not there tell his girl

angie & you’ ll get a discount from that day on buy it

from carbone & keep your mouth shut because if you

slip there’s plenty of places in the Adirondacks where

tony the tongue can dig a shallow grave ….. ”

full moon
a blue eye gazes at
its empty socket

ed markowski

3 06 2010
Jason Mashak

Bennett’s had a macro-perspective gift for longer than I’ve known him, and that’s a few thousand years already.

3 06 2010

Excellent …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: