A perfect bedlam

by Jim Benz

About. About me. About something.
About the gas lamps. A cabman.

A cold gloomy. Across the road. Afterwards.
Against. A gloomy evening.

All day. All night. All over.
All soaked with rain. All the sciences.

All this month. All up. Almost menacing.
Almost suddenly. And.

And a comfortable arm-chair. And all the problems. And almost ceased.
And answered. And a sort of stream.

And began thinking. And began watching. And beginning.
And between them. And called me.

And crossing themselves. And do you know. And forget them.
And go as they will. And had been spending.

And have been going. And he had. And he too.
And how many. And I do not know it.

And if it had happened. And I have known it. And I know that.
And I let them come. And I recall them now.

And I remember. And I remember that. And it amused them.
And it had been. And it is just now.

And it was after that. And it was still. And just.
And kept crying. And lay trembling.

And loathed it. And make evident. And no doubt.
And not so much. And only.

And playing stones. And poor. And poor as I was.
And put it down. And rushed headlong.

And she. And shouted. And shuddering.
And so. And so.

And that. And there was. And there was scarcely.
And the youngest child. And two other friends.

And was followed. And went on. And what I resented.
And why. And would not.

An idea. An unmistakable. Any.
Anyone. Anything at all.

Appeared there. A retired curtain. As it was.
As I was looking. As I was thinking.

As much to them. As one could. As old as old.
A splendid revolver. As ridiculous.

A stare. As though. A table with books.
At eleven o'clock. At first I fancied.

At her. A thin little. A thought.
At me. At me.

At seeming ridiculous. At the sky. At the table.
At the table. At the table.

At the university. A whole candle. Became cooler.
Because she was shivering. Because that stare.

Before me. Between ten and eleven. Black patches.
Both she and her children. But afterwards.

But a wretched little dress. But clasping. But how much longer.
But I gave up. But I never care.

But I noticed. But not. But now.
But of the good. But one could.

But she ran. But she was. But since I grew.
But strange to say. But suddenly abandoned.

But that. But that it had only seemed. But the full realisation.
But they did not. But they laughed.

But they won't understand. But through affection. But twelve months.
But was. By a horrible.

By day. By that time. By the elbow.
By the elbow. By the hair.

Came last year. Caring about anything. Certainly be.
Colder and damper. Covered.

Crying out. Dampness. Dear to me.
Determined to do so. Did not.

Dinner that day. Disappeared. Distinctly seen.
Doing nothing. Don't even think.

Down. Drinking vodka. Each other.
Engaged in dragging. Even in.

Even physically. Even when they laugh at me. Every instant since.
Every night. Everyone always laughed.

Every year. Evidently. Existed only to prove.
Existing. Facing her.

Fathomless. Flew from me to him. For.
For a long time. For certain.

For instance. For some unknown reason. For that little girl.
For the last three days. For the last year.

For them. For the right moment. For twelve months.
From being lost. From every.

From every stone. From everything. From fright.
From the fear. From the first.

From the very beginning. Gave me a thought. Gentlemen of doubtful.
Given up thinking. Give way and confess.

Gloomier. Grew and strengthened. Had a sort of fit.
Had been falling. Had been put out.

Had been there also. Had existed in the past. Had given me.
Had passed. Had scarcely.

Half a dozen. Has been here. Has caused me.
Her hands. Her mother.

Her wet broken shoes. His behavior. How much they shout.
I am a ridiculous person. I am telling this.

I asked myself. I began to feel. I believe that.
I bored them. I bought.

I cannot tell. I could join in their laughter. I could see that.
I cut. I decided.

Identically. I did not. I did not go.
I didn't know. I do not resent it.

I don't remember. If all the street lamps. I fancy.
If at least. If I did not feel.

If it had not been. If it were not. If one looked.
I guessed that. I had.

I had almost. I had an impulse. I had firmly.
I had long had an inkling. I had solved.

I have. I have always been ridiculous. I have a room.
I have a sofa. I have of course tried.

I kept waiting. I knew. I knew I was ridiculous.
I know for a fact. I know that sound.

I learnt the truth. I made up my mind. I mounted up.
In abject terror. In a flat.

Indeed. Indifferent. Induced me to tell.
In every relation. In frightened children,

In her voice. In his cab. In me with the years.
In my armchair. In my early youth.

In old days. In one of these dark patches. In the distance.
In the end. In the future.

In their eyes as before. In the past. In there.
In the room. In the shape.

In the street. In the street. In the street I looked.
In thought. Into the lodgings.

Into them. Into the service. I only read.
I remember. I sat down.

I sat down quietly. I sat silent. I say 'unknown.'
Is burnt each night. I should go on sitting.

I should have blown out my brains. I should have shot myself. I sit up all night.
I sit up all night. I spoke without any.

I stamped my foot. I stay awake. Is that so.
I studied. I suddenly felt.

I suddenly said. It. It did not.
It did not matter. It had been going on.

It intently. It is. It lightened.
It stopped. I thought it would.

I thought that. I told her first. It to anyone.
I turned. It was. It was a child of eight.

It was myself. It was the same with life. It would have been.
I understood. I used.

I used to be miserable. I was born. I was going home.
I was seven years old. I was so proud.

I was so utterly. I went to school. Left on a visit.
Last November. Leave me.

Less cheerless. Lit the candle. Little by little I guessed.
Lived there. Lodger in the flat.

Lying in my drawer. Made a show. Made one's heart.
Mammy, Mammy. Mankind.

Mattered. Matter to me. Me.
Means despair. More deeply.

More fully. Most of all. My awful characteristic.
My friends, I said. My problems.

My room is small. Myself that night. Next to mine.
No annoyance. Nor how many.

Not exactly at myself. No they won't. Nothing mattered.
Not of reproach. Not seeming but being.

Now they call me. Now this stare. Of annoyance.
Of being. Of being angry.

Of it. Of the curtain. Of the curtain.
Of them there are. Of the partition.

Of the ridiculous figure. Oh how hard it is. Oh how I suffered.
Oh I had not settled. Old-fashioned shapes.

One man on earth. One of the gloomiest. One of them.
One of them knew. One other.

One way or the other. On her head. On it.
On like that. On the contrary.

On the third of November. Or guessed. Or that something of the sort.
Or whether there had never been. Other lodgers.

Out. Over it. Particularly.
Particularly. People in the prospect.

Perhaps from the hour. Perhaps from the time. Perhaps it was.
Possible evenings. Properly.

Pulling at me. Rain. Rain I can remember.
Really care. Regimental.

Reputation. Rousing and suddenly. Sad because they can not know.
Sadder because. Say a word.

Simply because. She called out. She had run.
She ran beside me. She suddenly pulled me.

She was in terror. She was not weeping. Shoot myself.
Shoot myself. Since they came.

Sir, Sir. Sobbing and gasping. So completely.
So far. Some passerby.

Sometimes stops. Some words. So sad as I hear them.
So that it seemed. Spasmodically.

Spite. Stoned. Studied at the university.
Suddenly. Suddenly I noticed.

Suddenly occurred. Tattered clouds. Than anybody else.
Than any other. Than the rain.

That. That curtain. That had come upon me.
That her mother. That I allowed myself.

That I came home. That I do not even hear. That I found out.
That if there were. That I might.

That I remain. That I should shoot. That is I shall.
That it should. That it was all the same.

That I was absurd. That I was ridiculous. That I was ridiculous.
That I was ridiculous. That many.

That night. That night. That note.
That nothing. That nothing in the world.

That something. That's why. That the curtain.
That theory. That there was nothing.

That there would be nothing. That they are. That very day.
That was. That was because.

That was growing. That would be. The evening.
The evening could not be. The landlady.

Them. The more I learned. The more thoroughly.
Then. The night before.

Then I left. The other side. There had been a fight.
There never had been anything. There was only.

There were. The same consciousness. The same evening.
The sky. The stares gave me.

The street. The thought I don't know. The truth.
The truth. The words I understood.

They are all dear to me now. They caught my eye. They did not know.
They got excited. They saw it.

They talked of something. They were not offended. They won't take him.
This little girl. This pride grew.

This showed itself. Though I realised. Though she did not articulate.
Through something. Through the partition.

Till daybreak. To anyone. To a policeman.
To avoid his acquaintance. To be precise.

To be seen. To be the only one. To call someone.
To confess. To drive her away.

To find something. To go. To help.
To kill myself. To knock against people.

To manhood. To me. To me.
To me. To me as I went.

To me that. To my fifth drink. To my school mates.
To notice them. Took me.

Took out the revolver. Too petrified. To them.
To the terrible misery. To think about.

To this day. Two chairs. Two lives before.
Two of them had been. Trifles.

Understand it. Up at the sky. Wall.
Wander through my mind. Wanted to complain.

Was bored. Was dying. Was empty.
Was going on. Was happening.

Was horribly. Was my own fault. Was rising.
Was sleeping. Was that.

Was the conviction. Wearing nothing. Were in mortal fear.
What had I. When I had put it down.

Whether the world existed. Where there are. Which.
Which could not utter. Which was of more consequence.

Who had been taken ill. Who knew better. Who knows the truth.
Why. Why it was.

With a garret window. With a kerchief. With all my sorrow.
With American leather. With an angle.

With complete conviction. With every year. With her.
With me. With old furniture.

With people. With science. With two little children.
Would have ever. You can not care.


Posted on 09/21/2011
Copyright © 2020 Jim Benz

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Laura Doom on 09/21/11 at 11:23 PM

And a variation on a theme, a rapid accumulation, inundation--some order restored, talking fragments, the weight, waiting for the end, writing as a gift to the present; zen would be good...
exemplary model of disturbance

Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 09/22/11 at 12:38 AM

Pretty damn perfect indeed.

Posted by A. Reed on 09/22/11 at 03:42 PM

I have a sudden urge to make Alphabet soup.

Posted by Elizabeth Jill on 09/30/11 at 01:32 PM

I read this the other day and fell in love.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 12/03/11 at 01:41 PM

Really like the fragmented message(s) and use of cuplets to deliver them. Refreshingly different style of poetry here.

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