Benjamin Schmitt

Track 3

 The sidewalk 

you drift upon will bury you 

and the books you read will make you question joy,


but reading mine with your bookmark,

reading mine in the light of 

someone else, I am reminded 

of that confident awkwardness

that put your hand in mine

and crafted this bookmark

in your apartment. The plastic 

is coming off, folding inward

like on-ramps carrying thieves

to the interior. But still it contains

your favorite poems and my name

written in an Edwardian font. 


People are 

recommending books I won’t read,

books on cats and a stew that lets you see God,


but reading mine in the shelter of hours,

reading mine with the torn plastic groping 

the pages as the bookmark must go 

through his lovelorn adolescence again

with each new volume, fumbling

with skirt pages and bra chapters,

to remove each article of artifice

from the literature, I swim 

through a murky sludge of love and truth. 

I am a vagrant with a bookmark

discovering the cherished flaws

of the great writers. 














Track 68


One Halloween I put on

black lipstick, a black dress,

a few sprays of expensive perfume,

and became the hottest girl 

at the party. A football player

even asked me out in this


halfway house between the sexes,

refuge from my libido, 

short stay in a long body

without want. My curled hair 

and eyelashes enticed me into resting 

from enticements. My shaved legs

were the smooth sheets

that the children of a thousand genders

wrapped themselves in as they slept.


Every preacher wants to be a writer

and have their thoughts endure.

Every writer wants to preach to us

in a way nuance won’t allow,

maybe men want to be women and women 

want something better than a man. Men move


through beds and all the dark tunnels 

between them, only able to remember

a fleeting masculinity in their stumbling.

The beds soon become unrecognizable 

from the tunnels, there is no manhood

on the sweating stones. I apologize 

to the women I’ve used and wounded, 

I wouldn’t know what it is to be 

a man without my time in drag.