Benji Katz

Meditations on the Kuleshov Effect

On a sunken pond
an overdue package floats
with a soggy barcode for a mast

Packing peanuts on the half
shell for the mallards

Suboxone and a bedpan
for the loved ones

Condolences for everyone
who’s ever swum in one
particular direction
for longer than a breath


A bright red ball gag
bounces into a hog’s mouth
and the feast is splayed out
with crackling perversion

At last virginity blinks its jaws
as a nun goes down on a cross

When an intersection morphs
into a far less distinct shape

a car crash will yield a single
casualty commemorated
by top 40 radio static

as catchy as any deathblow
could hope to be

Ghost Note Polyphony

It takes a dying breath
to blow a note through
confederate Harlem’s dankest gutter.
The cricket hiss of Marlboro drags.
The sniffle of the umpteenth row
that subdivides each count in.
The amplified whispers
of a thousand shadows
melting to a single word
which hopes to find a definition
trembling on the bandstand.
Echoes of f-holes erupt
from a six hooved giant,
swinging without pendulum.
A paradiddle joy ride
traces the stampede
over changes in terrain
and temperament.
Cordial plywood warps
and hums its grain,
scaffolding the procession—still
the charts harmonize a history
of dissonance, of bleeding
brass in spot-lit cellars,
of illiterate crooning
by anonymous idols,
of instant masterpiece
and expiring genius.
Suffocate the saxophone
in sweltering fluorescents
with a cruel legato moan—
and clap your hands,
or take a bow.

Author Portrait

Benji Katz is a poet and musician from Cincinnati, Ohio, currently pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University. His work has previously appeared in Prairie Margins, Polaris, and Military Experience & The Arts.