Epic Poem: For Ben, my first true husband


I met Ben in college

he was my first magician

my first true husband

first fiancée among a list of others.

He was super serious

into film and photography

puppetry musician pagan

househusband stoner

born in San Francisco

6’1 looking like Lucifer

before the fall

dark hair blue eyes

legs 3/4 his total height

unibrow wow

tarot tanned

beautiful Italian Irish

I sang the Clash to him

I photographed him nude

naked I was too

blurred in mylar reflections

taped and shy and laughing

he love bit and courted me

with Korean fairy tale picture books

Pablo Neruda

indian brocade

and silver bound amethyst.

at first I thought con artist

but I was wrong

and we survived

the unwise suspicion

that I didn’t deserve to be loved.

He spied me through a courtyard

atop a balcony

Romeo in purple socks

and purple shades

my amethyst prince.

I felt his gaze at me

like daylight stars.

I covered my chest with books

he smiled at that

he knew I was a sensor

incognito ingenue

a covert performer

but he could see through the ruse

invisibility as hue,

I scowled and walked away

like a princess soldier.

I was eighteen Ben was twenty two

twenty five when my husband

if ever I was married it was to him.

He drove across the country

through snow covered mountains

in a little metal box on wheels

to be with and to love me.

He was a model who lived on the streets

at sixteen taken in by strippers

he lived a punk rock fantasy

I was always in love with the avant garde.

I beat my heart thumping blue

cried and sang drunk on the bus

because he was leaving us

to make more stupid money

instead of living off my orphan honeymoon.

When he was leaving days before

he helped me move

out of our freezing West Oakland flat

into a posh Piedmont studio.

He wrote love notes on the insides

of drawers and cabinets

and they might still exist

glowing like candles of light

in the studio I lived in without him.

The last night we slept there

surrounded by unpacked things

I said, “Go away already”

“See you never again, ever,” through tears,

and he said,

“Wherever you are—

I’ll find you again”

like in the Last of the Mohicans


we’re married

we’re married

we’re Married.

I haven’t spoken to you

for at least five thousand

and twenty years.

I think cancer was your ticket out of here

I love you Ben from way afar

to wherever you are,

so mote it be.


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