Four Poems by Ben Nardolilli


The Theory and the PowerPoint

An expert on color theory will be coming
Next week to the office,
I guess this means I’m in trouble,
Sandwiches will be provided? Then I’m doomed,
It means a crowd is going to gather,
Masticate, and listen to what she has to say.

There will be a wheel, samples handed out,
A rainbow of limited options
Held up as the true path follow for coordination,
If there is any word on patterns, I’m sure
It will not be flattering at all,
Worst of all, there will be a Q and A.

She will inspire a small army to rise up
Against the schemes I’ve laid out,
My plaid pants, my striped ties,
The pistachio shirts and avocado jackets,
The only things I can get off the rack
That fit my body at the expense of others’ eyes.

Painted Heads in the Garden

Give me the updates of your tribe
and I will give you the updates of mine,
where have you fished,
and where have you hunted, and how?

We will share the secrets of our hides,
not just how we vanish, but how we keep
the water from getting inside
these tents we fill with smoke in the woods.

What kind of peace do we come in?
Verily my brothers and sisters,
all we want to trade is fresh information,
we mean no harm, only identification.

Southern Hemisphere Local Group

The stars commute across the purple plains
of the night sky as rich veins of a galaxy
bleed through the sparkling constellations.

You call out the names for the arrangements
the way several civilizations attempted to do so,
and give me each of their mythic backstories

When you finish with the ancient tales
of tragedy and comedy involving fish and fowl,
I tell you about the clouds spread in between

They are named for an explorer who in our myth
discovered several islands already inhabited,
and who made the earth round after his voyage

Concerning Tolerance

Self-loathing, rum, porn, big cigars,
he added them all until they became routine,
he tried to get a sponsorship for his loss
of life and sanity but there were no takers,
not famous enough, the boardrooms said,
nothing unique about a dissolution anymore.

It was true and he could see he was not alone,
everyone else was doing their imitation
of the rise and fall of civilization, some
with drugs, others weeping in dressing rooms,
surrounded by them he could see the future,
everyone will go crazy for fifteen minutes.

Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, Inwood Indiana, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at and is looking to publish a novel.