About the Writer
Benjamin Hertwig lives in Vancouver, on the unceded land of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. His writing has recently appeared in The New York Times and Word Riot, and his first book of poems, Slow War, is coming out in 2017.
sunday mornings, after Afghanistan
when the mornings are all fresh ground coffee
and reverend john ames fried egg sandwiches,
sunshine on drapes and wallace stevens oranges
you wonder how paul nash would have painted
afghanistan—soviet tanks in oil perhaps and the
desert at night with chalk or ink?
marilynne robinson once told you that butter
is the best foundation for an egg, better than
mayonnaise, and when the yolk in the pan splits
yellow, separates from butter and solidifying whites,
you start to think: the man in kakfa's metamorphosis
must have been a soldier with his legs blown
off. how else could he hate himself so much?
not an easy question as you fill the cup again,
but you have both your legs. your concern
resolves into an elizabeth thompson sunrise
over kandahar airfield and the ice cream bars
they had at the base that you liked so much.
ice cream aside, kafka knew something about
soldiers and before the war you saw a soldier fall
from the table with food in his foaming mouth.
he writhed himself to calm on the concrete floor
and it was all very startling, very much a prince
myshkin moment. he ended up not going to
war, as the epileptic fits made his hands shake.
you felt bad but one clearly can't hold a rifle
with shaking hands. back then you still wanted
to hold a rifle yourself though it never felt quite
right but go you did and now you are back.
you do not have blood on your combat pants
here. even the meat in the fridge is bloodless,
the bacon spits and hisses but the life went away
long ago, rubbed its muzzle on the corners of your
couch, and left a wet snout print on the window.
now you sit in the sun eating an egg sandwich,
writing sunday poems in the complacencies of
plaid pajamas and a white shirt: your face is clean.
you warm the coffee in septimus warren smith's
cup and ask him how virginia woolf wrote things
that were so bloody true but he doesn't respond
at all. so you turn on netflix and it was evening all
afternoon—or something like that, and you fell
asleep and the house smelled of bacon fat and
coffee when you awoke.
-- Ambassador To A Distant Kingdom In The North County
-- Memory Consumed So It Was Never
-- To My Brother's Late Dragon Lady
-- House Stuff
-- My Underwear Drawer Houses the Book of Mormon
-- sunday mornings, after Afghanistan
-- Heat Dream
-- Orlando Two Point O: Hashtag Forever Yung
Artwork and Photography
-- The New World Manbike 12 x 9 2016
-- The New World Workers 2 Ink 15 x 11 2016
-- Mistry Trees
-- Let it Begin
-- Untitled-Gouache, Graphite, Ink and Watercolour on Laid-Textured Paper
-- Nope-Gouache, Graphite, Ink and Watercolour on Found Paper
-- Horrible Together, Full Circle-Ink on Cardboard Paper
-- A Review of Kathleen McCraken's Double Self-Portrait with Mirror: New and Selected Poems (1978-2014)
-- A Review of R. Aviars Utskins' The Hoosier Zebra and other "Poims"