— Ben Zimmerman leads us through Brooklyn with his two poems, “In Between Steps” and “Levi”, pausing to discuss unemployment concerns with an empathetic roommate. Music by Mogwai and Kurt Vile.
I like to know exactly how tall
What is heaviest and what rests
comfortably in my hand.
Emotions and relationships and
the circumference of my confidence,
they adhere stubbornly to their dynamic state,
crushing my scale and
splintering my yardstick.
What is left is a foolish guestimate,
and cautious steps that echo confusingly,
condescendingly. It is exhausting,
this campaign to stand straight and measure,
but I will not stop.
I will be paid in exact change.
I will be humble amongst monoliths.
I will balance treacherously between
hubris and naiveté.
When it is my turn, and after I have
cleaned up from my experiments,
I will be known for an earnest attempt
to fit seamlessly, snugly, truly,
In Between Steps
If we froze every moment
that our feet left the ground
diving headlong into a lake
running up stairs
& then eliminated all the
time in between
we would become fragmented
creatures of complete honesty.
We would watch words erase themselves
and observe the buoyancy of breath,
the depth of meaning in silences.
A blink would be a paragraph,
and the crack of a knuckle
could be revered as poetry.
Holy becomes the space
separating here and there
The schism of intention and action
closes without complaint
and the reflection of the sun
in the water below amplifies until
there is no difference left
We cannot hide our
we choose when to
reject it &
The suspended time in between pierces
through to the
molten truth of our
& it is lost immediately
once we descend.
The roar of rushing, falling air
has been drowned out
by the anticipation of
but if we listen carefully
we can hear it
if we look carefully
we can see that
every person glows briefly
before they hit the water.
About the Poet
Ben Zimmerman lives in Brooklyn. He has, at one time or another, been a novelist, a poet, a ski instructor, an outdoor adventure leader, a podcast author, and vagabond. He’s traveled the globe like a perfectly ovaloid stone at high velocity skipping across the surface of a glacial lake. His podcast Oh the Places You’ll Go is available on Soundcloud. His debut novel, West, his collection of short stories, Will You Be Here Tomorrow, and his book of poetry, Life With a Slow Watch, are all currently under construction. Try again later.