National Poetry Month Day 3: Rosebud Ben-Oni





                                                 Poet Wrestling with Happy Little Clouds

                                                                                    After Bob Ross

We try to make our cities last a while. By beating
the devil from our brushes. & highways.     My B

creates programs & code.            The kind that makes strangers
see. The little distant trees {as}. Living. Far back in the distance.

My husband tries to make things. Better. He tries to fix. He tries. To realize.
Other people’s intentions.     When I am with him. I feel I could make a city.

Forever. & serene. As wet-on-wet painting. That takes centuries. To dry. & realize.  Orange
-stone. Façade. Steel. Interstates. A little pink. In the sky. The rest, all little X’s.     Glimpsed

                                  {from bullet}

trains. Yet think. On such a world, high-speed & purely. Civil.          How we’d put in so much detail
passing everything. So quickly.          A world so advanced it’s only. Form, shape, basic

color.               We try, he. & I. Making our city last longer.          As a way. To explain.
Away. Why we left nature. Only to return. As otherworldly. & traitors.           I’m sorry

                                                          {& foully,}

fluffy little escapes. My B always has a plan. Since I never do. Since I’m more
like you, errant & uncaring & quite often oblivious                 of specific well-

being. Since when I write I’m ripping apart & shedding.        From unorthodox
brushes. & little string clouds that live. Right. In those highways. Here I can do

anything that I want to, any old thing.             But my B. Tries To make. Our cities.
Where still water is always level. While I. Whatever any illusion you want. & I don’t

know where any of you go— it doesn’t matter.            Maybe a city is a thing already
dying.               Until naked. As a bunch of skeletons & rotten wiring.    Hanging out

here in your eyes— but even then, my B would still believe. Who I will be. As who

                                  I was. When.

                                  Tomorrow,      as sure as a row
                                  of gravestone. & maybe I’ll fall

                                  too. Like what was done to you,

                                                                      {made} acid

                                  & sulfuric, wearing down all that came from
                                  what you grew,     what we can only hammer

                                              & chisel & scribble

                                  unto. Such desperate, desperate.
                                  Love. Who knows then just what

                                                           & how I too
                                                           will erode.

                                                                                                       The very good words meant

                                                            to summon a me. After you.
                                                            How we will cleave. A few. 1s

                                                            & 0s
                                                                                                                             {tap, tap}


                                                                   on bared knee

Rosebud Ben-Oni is a recipient of the 2014 NYFA Fellowship in Poetry and a 2013 CantoMundo Fellow; her most recent collection of poems, turn around, BRXGHT XYXS, was selected as Agape Editions' EDITORS' CHOICE, and is forthcoming in 2019. She writes weekly for the Kenyon Review blog. Her work appears in POETRY, American Poetry Review, The Poetry Review (UK), Tin House, Guernica, Black Warrior Review, TriQuarterly, and Prairie Schooner, among others; her poem "Poet Wrestling with Angels in the Dark" was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, and published by the Kenyon Review Online. She teaches creative writing at UCLA Extension's Writers' Program and The Speakeasy Project. Find her at More from this author →