Two Poems by Ben Nardolilli

Obit Review
By Ben Nardolilli

Seemingly meant as an American Moulin Rouge, his life was certainly a visual blast, but this was due more to his sets than his own designs. How could he not appear bright in Manhattan? Even DC worked to his advantage, all that marble made him stand out more. In Kansas City, though, he showed he was dull when left to his own devices. The homage to the greats of the past, ranging from Homer, to Pound, to Berryman (the most contemporary his reading seems to have gotten) is fine, but produces an odd hybrid. Neither totally with the past nor with the present, it hangs briefly like an acrobat stuck flying between bars, beautiful for a moment, but it comes crashing down as time goes on. No surprise he wound up like Hart Crane while trying to soar as Nick Drake. It would have been better for him to have idled a bit more, simply sit in front of the television and let his energies run out. Inspired? Inventive? Yes, but he was too intent on dazzling. What good was it when no one else could understand? One would think he would not have had such a blatant shortcoming, since he hated to come up short in any way. He needed to bring things down a notch and think about spending time in elevators and traffic. Still, he had what so few could pull off: pure cinematic fabulousness, breathtaking dance sequences, and idiosyncratic flourishes that make us more than willing to forgive him for all his sins.

Beowulf Versus the Spellchecker
By Ben Nardolilli

leaf lead crying,         lunge rage
fulcrum gorge         fodder allot hears,
ardor of eared),         orbit him left onto
head Half-done;         held ended life,
gambol on gorgeous,         glide scaldings.
mom fewer bean         for grimed

in world woken,         weirdo swan,
Herger on Hogan         on Helga tilt;
hired ice tot         was on élan sewn,
Halo sci-fi gas         heals bedded.
that was Heron glare         here sped given,

wages wear mind,         tut him his winemakers
gene harden,         woo that sea googol grew fox,
mango drift mice.         Him on mod bean
to heal recede         hating wilder,
modern mice,         men dewy cream

done clod bearn         free gear non,
nod third on inning         earl god élan
goon gum and earldom,         swill him god sealed
button folk scare         one forum gunmen.
an icy wide giver gun         wears gibe nanny
manager mage         geode risen midday nears.

Ben Nardolilli is a 25-year-old writer currently living in Montclair, New Jersey. His work has appeared in the Houston Literary Review, Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, One Ghana One Voice, Gloom Cupboard, Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue, Black Words on White Paper and Beltway Poetry Quarterly. His poem “Obit Review” is a prose poem formed by mixing a movie review, obituary, and self-critique together. His poem “Beowulf Versus the Spellchecker” is what he calls a “Spell Czech” poem, which was created by “taking a foreign language work and having the spellchecker try to ‘translate’ it.”

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