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Benvolio: Poetry from the Abyss

© 2017 Bethany Ebert

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author.

The book cover image is a public domain image from the Pixabay gallery of Christa Renee a.k.a. violettedameboutique. It was edited by the author for use in this book. Use of this image does not imply any sponsorship, agreement, or endorsement with this book or any of the viewpoints expressed therein.

ISBN 978-1-370-68759-6

First edition

Dedication to a reader

I am writing this poem

so one day you might read it

& know that

you were enough

A tragedy

My kitten sleeps

in an unmarked grave,


under dirt & snow

A permanent rest

for a nocturnal child,

for the grey wheels,



One day, I too will

die, (I pray).

If I am

good I will

see you, & you will

sleep peacefully

curled around my feet.

My feet are cold

without you.

The measure of a man

Heartbreak hardened me.

Now I am cruel.

Someone asked me

about you &,

feigning distance, I

proclaimed you a


7 out of 10, or

lucky 7, or …

But really, if you're 7

out of 10, then I

am 3. I am not half

the man

that you are.

What are you, really

If you were a woman

it'd be the same.

I don't compete with you.

How can mud

compete with air?


bring separate things.

The un-grudge

I don't hold grudges. Last

week, I hated this girl. I wanted

to kill her.

She was evil.

She had to die.

A week later, &

I don't care anymore.

I've made the most of

this fight, found

new friends to love,

friends that don't hate

me, but

I can look at this girl &

recognize it.

A failure

on my part.


My beautiful friend

picks the worst men.

I wish

life was simple.

I wish

I had wings,

to fly to her,

to carry her through the sky, &

give her a big beautiful house

in a city

far, far away

from all the evil men.

Toothpaste rock

My dentist is a

musician. I didn't know this

until I saw his name on


Now I

listen to my iPod, &

my dentist's songs play,

& I laugh.

I saw him in concert,

before he knew my teeth.


When Joel killed himself, I

spent a lot of time looking at


I imagined my swaying body,

spirit exiting

like a cloud of smoke.

I didn't do it

because my friends

would miss me, but

sometimes I want it.

It's a dangerous addiction,

to fantasize of death.


comes & goes, a flash

of thought-heat, the

aching impermanence





You vanish like the moon

when the day begins, but

sometimes the sky is bright blue

& you are the moon

in the day-time,

out of place,

like a punctuation error

in a published novel.

In the waiting room, where

I met you by accident, you

were shorter than I remembered.

My memory looks back &

fills in the gaps,

only half-way accurate.

Your eyes were black,

but not unkind. No shift of

hate, no glimmer of


I was stuffed in a

marshmallow jacket & my

dirty stocking cap, looking like

a small English orphan.

Desexed, unrecognizable.

Your friends are beautiful. All

artist-musicians on the

brink of

stardom & success, kind,

well-dressed. Unhateable.

I always feel so young when

I see you.


Two weeks after we break up,

I stop by & then we

take a nap.

When I

go home, your

fluids are on my shirt.

I don't take abandonment well.

Common sense tells me

to feel properly guilty, &

I do (I think)

But Ellen Fein never saw

the gentle curve of your ass

while she was writing

The Rules

& my dignity is

busy painting glitter on

her red toenails.


The author, rewriting life as a

Shakespeare play.

The author as Benvolio,

sick of war & pointless squabbles,

fleeing Verona, alone.

The author as care-taker,

on her knees scrubbing alcohol

off the floor again.

The author as driver,

as passenger, ticket tucked

in jacket pocket.


The Canadian wants to

invade my anal cavity.

Is it wise to oblige?

Forgive, forgive

Uninvited to another party,

my dead flower heart stomped on by

fashionable boots

in this, the dark thickness of winter.

I am dead lilac in the snow.

Alternative Barbie

Happy queer pop

songs tell me sex is


Love is always

happy, a bliss awash

in fireworks & bubbles.

Sex is

liberation. Don't be

a prude.

This cute third wave

annoys me, a red-lipstick revolution.

YouTube tutorials for the outspoken

rich white millennial.

Kill count

I want to set your empire on fire.

Notice me, notice me: I am lawbreaker.

I am lawbreaker. I hold

the soft pink testicles of your

empire in my teeth. Notice me.

Prince of darkness

I am a presumptuous poet, writing

poems in public, ignoring

everyone else.

People think I think I'm better.

Am I better or just bitter?


You'll never love me when I'm

like this now, blending in seamlessly

with all the others, like

melted wax or a

drop of paint on paper.

I have disappeared.

When we met, I was

ugly. Now, I am

boring. I've lost

my magnetic ambiguity.

Funny what some


& a

wax kit can do.

But if your

desire was linked to my

hair length, then

did you love me, really?

Or did you love

only the butch shape

I poured myself into?


I would like to apologize to anyone whose art style I may have copied by mistake while designing this book cover. Sometimes I have a great idea, only to discover that someone else thought of it first. Consider it a testimony to the inherent beauty of over-saturated neon.

My endless gratitude to Adam for all the food he’s fed me over the years. You are a true friend.

Thanks to Maddie for a wonderful friendship and for challenging me to do more with my art.

Thank you to Moira for driving me to a place with hot water so I could do my dishes that one time when my apartment had no hot water. You’re a life-saver.

Thank you, Kate, for always making me laugh. I love you so much.

My sincere gratitude to Veronica, Mary, Zac, the entire Smith-Tourville family, and all my other friends for sticking around.

To my wonderful, hilarious bio-family – thank you for your patience as I morphed from a bitter emotional vampire to a polite and mature adult. You’ve always been great at leading by example, and I’m lucky to have you in my life.

Special thanks to my mother. You are a real-life superhero.

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