Jon Bennett writes poems and songs in a 9 by 12 room in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Sometimes people plug the drains with chicken feathers, but it’s affordable, and he’d rather live there than Oakland. He’ll be moving to Oakland in August. song sample – soundcloud.com/jonbennett14/modesto–jon–bennett
We the Jury
Me and the other suckers
wait for our names to be called
like it was a lottery for the gas chamber.
“Have you ever belonged to the KKK,
the North American Man Boy Love Association
or The Society for Recreational Puppy Fucking?”
asks a lawyer.
“Why yes, I have,” says one.
“It would have no bearing on my ability
to judge this case,” says another.
Listening to them
I get the feeling
most people just think the wrong things.
Would you like your cantaloupe now?
I walk around my 9 by 12 room
on my knees.
From there the place looks big.
There’s antiques I found at Goodwill
on the shelves. I figure
in 20 years I’ll have enough to pay
for my own funeral.
The room stinks is the problem.
“Do I stink?” I ask my friend.
“You don’t stink,” she says.
Well, I have
and I will again.
A long time ago I was a creative writing major
at San Francisco State University
I didn’t think much of the program
but it was easy enough to get a degree
I never wrote while I was at SF State
my classes were more about
listening to the professors,
they’d hire their old writer friends
to make guest appearances and
it was all bad
Inspired by this badness
I wrote a poem called Letter Bomb
it was a folded sheet of white paper
on the outside I typed LETTER BOMB
and on the inside I typed
FUCK YOU!*, the asterisk
indicated a line at the bottom of the page
that said, “Please return as found.”
I thumb tacked it to the creative writing bulletin board
I thought it was pretty interesting, somehow ironic
and so simple
The day after I left it there someone took it down
someone, I imagine, who was angry about it
While Allen Ginsberg was at Columbia University
he wrote “Fuck the Jews” on the dusty window of his dorm
he got into a lot of trouble for it
later on he sat on railroad tracks to block trains
and, you know, he did a lot more in the name
of civil disobedience and perhaps more so
to navigate his personal demons
which he did navigate quite well
I think we can say this
I did not get in trouble for posting Letter Bomb at SF State
nobody gave a fuck
they just took it down,
something as easy to do as
pressing the delete key.