Poetry: Selections from Benjamin Riddle


We languish in our ephemeral words,
hanging there with the ghosts of our good intentions.
I'm lying half-dressed on that rug
you always loved, the one I
never understood,
waiting for you to draw the curtains;
to find out if we are still lovers, or if we have gone back
to being good friends.
The empty bottle of wine speaks to our decadence,
brought up from your family's cellar.
Nothing makes me feel more like a stranger
in your family's home than the opulence.
Phonaesthetically, cellar door is one
of the most pleasing phrases in
the English language;
the wine clings
to my teeth, and
I want nothing more than
to fuck you against it
until every corner
of the house is
haunted with our sounds,
until every creak reminds you of me.
The fireplace beside me keeps warm
the space I wish you always took,
the one that makes people saythey are as close as family,
they share everything.
You stand by the window,
dressing gown draped from your shoulders.
In the dim light, you look like you are
a conquering hero posing for
portrait, and I wonder if
my body is just
another empire.
Perhaps that is all it was ever good for.


We walk together down
the tenebrous spiral staircase of the self;
past quiet rooms where children
play with coloured blocks
filled with past
down, down past
your teenage bedroom littered
with band tees, first kisses,
walls painted with who
you were, or I was, or
the universality
of rebellion
as a mechanic of constructing
our missing identity; we
pass the car crash
the I'm sorry,
the letting go.
We find the grieving,
the late nights and whiskey
that slept in a small bottle beside
your books, your meds; your
memories. We come to
the bottom of the stairs to find ourselves
quietly ascending, then wait
there patiently in the dark; waiting
in these hallowed, tenebrous halls for
something to find us. This is how we remember hope.

Benjamin Riddle is building, and this is the most interesting thing about him, a little library of all the contemporary poetry he can get his hands on. (The voices of poets go still too soon).