Poetry: Selections from Benjamin Drevlow
the dead cat pome
Today I am that carcass of the dead cat melting into the gutter.
My stink is gone.
My fur is gone.
My bloat is gone.
All I am is skin and bones.
And faceless snarl.
A month now I’ve been waiting in the gutter for some semi-truck to finally run me over.
Flatten me flat as a deadcat pancake.
Today I am waiting and yesterday I am waiting and tomorrow I am waiting.
Waiting and waiting and waiting.
For somebody like you to find me my furever home.
a profound pome
I wish I could tell you something profound about fishing, hunting, the great outdoors.
I was born in a doublewide out where they cleared the trees to build my father’s house—he was not an architect or a construction worker. He was an electrical engineer and a farm kid who’d grown up milking cows and harvesting beets. He designed and built the house himself, though I’m sure he had help, though I wasn’t there.
I was not born in a doublewide, I was born in the woods, a shack, a log house, my father had built for my brothers, a tree fort, the stream that ran through our ravine to the pond the cows drank in on the way to the farm.
I was not born in the woods, I was born in a hospital twenty minutes away but spent my first year in a double-wide waiting for my father to build his house, I’m sure my brothers four and seven did their fair share of work as well. As my mother tells it anyway.
My father doesn’t tell stories.
I cried and cried. I was colicky. I was a crybaby. I was a mama’s boy. From the time I was born the baby of three brothers to today at forty-three. I may cry right now as I remember this as I write it.
Ten years later my oldest brother would shoot himself in his room which was originally my room—designed to be my room with cartoonish farm wallpaper. My brother never asked to take it down. He just moved in and I moved in with my other brother down the hall and then one day he shot himself. And I cried.
Three years later after I accidentally burned my father’s house down—two space heaters in the back of my closet to keep warm while I learned to masturbate—the only room left untouched was my brother’s, which was originally supposed to be mine—the farming wallpaper turned yellow with soot, but still there, still up.
the dead cat pome redux
The dead cat on the side of the road keeps getting fatter and fatter.
It’s gone from lying on its side to rolled over on its back as if it's waiting to be scratched.
I walk past it every day and wait for it to paw at me and meow to be played with but it doesn’t because it’s dead.
There is no sign of what killed it. Clearly it got hit by a car, but usually there’ll be head-squishing involved, eyes popped out of their sockets, brains gooey next to its head.
But none of that with this one.
I’ve become somewhat of an expert on the decomp stages of roadkill since I’ve been living in the south.
I can tell you how many days based on the smell and how much my trash dogs want to roll on it.
I can’t tell you the last time that I took the trash dogs for a walk that there wasn’t a dead cat/dog/possum/beaver/armadillo/hawk that begs my dogs to roll on it.
Sometimes I’ll look back and realize I’ve been dragging my dogs across the sidewalk for a half a block past said dead cat.
I want you to know that just because I’ve rescued three trash dogs, saved them from becoming roadkill, that doesn’t make me a better person than you.
This is just my pome about the dead cat and walking my trash dogs.
It’s not an ASPCA commercial.
the gardening pome
I hate gardening but my ex-wife gardened so sometimes I’d help because I loved her and it was depressing to see how hard she tried to make things grow and all the chipmunks did was destroy everything. At first we thought it was the deer so we put up a deer fence. We got rid of the deer but then it turned out to be the squirrels and you can’t build a fence to keep out those little fuckers. My dad said shoot them and I joked about putting one of their heads on a pike like they do in the movies but really I’ve never shot a gun and I’ve never killed a living breathing thing in my life except for that one morning dove my puppy mangled or all those roaches that they call Palmetto Bugs down south. But I don’t know. If I had to sit here and watch my wife cry any more about how hard she tried with her garden only to have those little fuckers ruin everything I might have resorted to some real wrath of god type shit just to prove I wasn’t a horrible failure of a man at protecting her garden from squirrels
Except then it all turns out moot.
She leaves me.
And now I’m stuck with a garden I hate.
A garden as monument to my failures as a man and a lover.
And the squirrels.
All those goddamn squirrels, now my only friends.
a nature pome/a love pome
Today someone posts a video of a polar bear playing with a cow out swimming. They dance and hold each other tight and the bear licks the cow and the cow kisses back and eventually they pull back the camera and the polar bear takes the cow’s severed head out of the water and now it’s like one of those pictures where you look at it one way and it’s a rabbit and the other way it’s a duck, but you can never not see the duck after you see the duck.
The people at the zoo say they have to normalize the polar bear. They must learn how to strip the meat out of an animal from underneath the skin, which is essential if they are going to one day bring the polar bear back to the wild.
Which is always my favorite part about zoos: when they let the fucking animals out of their cages and bring them back to their to their natural habitats.
Benjamin Drevlow is the managing editor of BULL, a lit mag about fucked up masculinity. He's also published some weird books with weird titles and some other stories and essays. You can find these and other stuff linked at thedrevlow-olsonshow.com or on Twitter