“Someone with a Megaphone” by Jocko Benoit

Jocko Benoit


I tell my wife exactly what
I’m thinking, including all the
punctuation, and she returns the favor.
The police arrive and we convey
everything without embellishment.
They call in the S.W.A.T. team,
with the military standing by.
Someone with a megaphone suggests
we move things over to The Jerry
Springer Show and when we arrive
everyone there has decades of training
in honesty and clarity.

“I want to feel closer to you,”
my wife confesses. “Sometimes
I need to be alone,” I confide.
“I think our lives are the result
of the choices we make,” she insists.
“I think we can’t help being
who we are,” I say certainly.
“You’re both ontologically naïve,”
someone shouts out. Soon we are
mired in a Vietnam of cause and
effect, of whose pain is greater—
the woman with the poked out eye,
or the man with a microphone
stand entirely up his rectum.

Then I tell my wife that the chair
she’s holding above my head
doesn’t make her look fat and that
I secretly fear commitment and want
to spend more time off the computer.
The level of violence ratchets down to that
of our average evening. “We don’t need
to go to my parents’ more often,”
brings things down to prison riot level.
“I secretly love coming across one of your
sweaty shirts on the bed,” brings things
down to a hockey game. And with
“I’m really starting to enjoy science fiction
movies,” my wife lowers the tone
to that of a playground.

Springer wraps things up, shaking
his head at the most disgusting display
of lies he’s ever seen and tells us
if he sees us again he’ll run us over
with a bus. And I believe it will be
a silver bus, shining with the purity
of truth, except for the dried blood
on the bumper. But for now we go home
so ashamed it takes five days
of non-stop fucking to ease our pain.

from Poets Respond


Jocko Benoit: “This is my take on the departure of Jerry Springer from the air. I remember walking into a TV repair shop years ago and asking the repair guy what he liked to watch, and he told me he was a big fan of ‘Mr. Jerry Springer.’ Gotta say, that was a conversation stopper, but this poem goes out to that guy and all the other people who got something out of that show that I never did.”

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