Ben Gross

Your IQ will gradually decrease as you read this poem until your thoughts become invisible to you

I am doing my best to survive the war
Of happiness

I have employed certain frail strategies
To keep my ravens intact
And stabbing grids of bubble-wrap
In my brain
Which is being lifted up
By my company men
Into a safe room made of frosting


I have to pee


I just got back from peeing


I started writing this poem
But was interrupted
My sacred craft desecrated
By a buzzing noise
A cutting high-pitched burping noise
Which meant I was needed at the front
Of the liquor store where I am working as I type this

I was told to take a shopping cart
Over to the smaller liquor store down the block
(Under the same ownership
But has higher prices
I guess because of its convenience)
And fill it up with broken-down
Cardboard boxes
And bring them back
And put them in a big recycling bin

It was raining outside
It still is
And it was wonderful
The rain hitting the cardboard
In small random bouts of sound

On the way back to the bigger store
A stack of broken-down boxes
Stuffed inside a non-broken-down box
Fell off the front of the cart
Because the sidewalk was uneven
And on a slight downward slope
Which made the cart jolt

I bent down to put the box full of undone boxes
Back in the cart in a more secure position
And thought about how
Whatever it is I am in the moment
Whatever the negotiating cocktail of circumstance and will
Becomes me to be
I, upon honest, unfettered-by-intellect observation of the world
Can't find anything in particular
That I refer to
And I didn't mind that I wasn't going
To finish this poem in a way that
I might have intended

I am typing this on an iPad
In the 'notes' application
And the first word of each line
Keeps getting automatically
As well as the word 'I'
Which is fine
Unless you believe
That capitalized letters
Have an absolute significance and meaning
And view the uncorrected capital letters
As a lazy choice or annoying or distracting

I suppose I could go back
And uncapitalize the letters
But that would feel dishonest
Or at least
No less contrived
Than capitalizing them

Because I don't refer to any sure thing
Because I am not bound back to a static, isolated concept
I don't have anything to accept
Because I am not established antecedent to the present moment
To the extent that I am 'early' enough
To accept something
And could only accept things that I remember
And what is the sense in accepting
What you remember?

I started writing this poem thinking
I was going to try to make it weird
Measured I suppose by some standard
I fixed as normal so I could successfully
Deviate from it
And feel satisfied with the work I had done

The submission guidelines for everyday genius
Encourage the writer to submit their weirdest
And I think this poem qualifies
Because it has even deviated unexpectedly
From the pre-imposed standard style of weirdness
I thought I was writing in to begin with

Thank you monthly editor who I am imagining
Having already ceased reading this many stanzas ago
Which even further alienates the speaker in this poem
From its audience
I appreciate you taking the time
To read and consider this poem

If it doesn't match your aesthetic blueprint
Your normal-weird
Or if you decide it is too meta or directly derivative
Of something you can readily recognize
And you opt to pass on its publication
It is completely okay with me

I realize that you don't need me to tell you
'it is completely okay with me'
For you to not feel guilty
I would never presume that about you
But I just wanted to say that I have forgiven you
Even before you had the chance to
Do anything wrong in my opinion

I hope you don't find this poem too
Confrontational, hostile, or insecure
In its relationship to its audience
I don't know how it came to this
I'm so sorry

Motherfuck my uncompromising vision
I would debase whatever unsteadfast artistic code
I have to begin with
For the marginal amount of attention
Most likely negative attention
That I would receive for
Getting this piece published
In everyday genius

I feel ashamed of everything I have ever done or desired or dreamed about

Sincerely your everyday piece of shit who deserves to be physically restrained while he is forced to watch everyone he has ever loved get tortured and murdered and then have the same thing done to him while everyone he has ever hated cheers and makes fun of him and who you should feel no degree of sympathy, empathy, or even a touch of indirect, distant, abstract compassion for,

Ben 'doing everything in his power to prevent his work from getting published by magazines either online or in print and either relatively popular and reputable or obscure and looked down upon' Gross

Ben Gross wrote this poem about a year ago when he was having panic attacks every day. He has since stopped trying to escape them and instead has begun to gratefully include them, appreciate their hearty vitality, and develop a friendship with them. He has a tumblr:

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