[what you’ve done here]


what you’ve done here,

you’ve done in the rain.

bitter, brick building,

the rapture of memories:

old and young men.

you cried on the stairs,

listened in the lobby,

kissed by the narrow back door.

they settle into mildewed

            hardwood floors


walk the grass, oak trees,

soggy mulch in empty flower beds.

what you did there,

you did in the presence

of a thousand leaves.



We Were Nuclear, Darling


I got fixed up at the barb shop, the ink

don’t fade anymore than on paper, a thousand

satin-faced silhouettes I drew on résumé linen,

watermark strapping mouths like duct tape,

our words keep us down like soot always falls to the bottom

of bourbon, unfiltered eight-year brew.


We saved the needle for another day,

ascended onto high stools and hummed unversed jazz in the lamp lit corner.

Eleven beers sent us straight down the bent road,

the alley out back where steam crept under the doors

of a hundred bistro’s kitchens. Somewhere, we got hassled

by lipsticked strangers prying answers in the street—but none to go around, gave

a litany we swapped words to recall, gapping episodic

memories from Catholic childhoods.


I’m just this decade’s lost and lonely boy,

too far from Portland—where The Sex Pistols hang like opiate in fixed-up long-gones

the punk underground of fame where Caruso’s still a legend for

I’m in love with you in love with me.

We were nuclear,

split atoms on the freeway,

burned down towns just out past train tracks,

memories of unfulfilling midnights and unsolved rhythms in Radiohead songs,

how we stepped on one too many cracks in the concrete

and you remarked that all the dirty bums looked like sailors.

Again, we saved the needle for another day, put it in my pocket for some late second,

too late to call the decade a waste of our predictions, on the damp lit street,

the savor of places that are gone, places that I barely remember.


Drunk in the City, Remembering Home


My dad talks too much when he drinks,

and the pain I’ve felt is feeling

like a child, asking a hundred questions.

how can I judge when a man’s

become another man?

I threw him every wrench.


We found our only common ground in the bottle

and motorcycle. We’ve got leather vests

could keep out all the things we feel.

Nothing’s as sweet as feeling nothing


Papaw died two years back

and we still cry

never together

but in the lull

that falls at night,

three in the morning

when I’m drunk

and he’s driving to grab coffee

before work.


We dance,

in some ways, in some lives, we’ve lived

more than most. He’s shrunk four inches

slaving in the plant. I’ve shrunk too,

forgotten the way

a shingle scalds my hands, how

a twelve hour shift burns the ends of cigarettes

down to filters, down to the only life

we’ve got left

by Benjamin S. Sneyd


Ben Sneyd is a writer an assistant editor at The Tusculum Review.

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