Poems by Ben Nardolilli

Office Politeness

Super politeness sweats
From the cubicle walls
And echoes through halls,
Corridors I know
Hold and reflect
Whispers of those
Who know me
But cannot see me
Approaching at the moment,
Come aggression,
Come out from your meetings,
Come bring honest
Obstacles for me,
No more puppetry of lips
And faces painted
With false smiles

Motivation Avec Martine

I went outside during lunch,
A small improvement
For my spine and health,
But also to get away
From the confines of the office

Because when I looked up
And out at the window
The holes in the window blinds
Looked like your eyes
Thanks to the clear skies

Once I left the building,
I could look up in safety
At the summertime blue sky
Wide and unbroken,
And have no memory of you

Songs of Insurrection

We write our poems of protest
to let those who will read
not yet published anthologies
in future classes know
that we were here today
saying this or that crime or even
our whole way of life
was not acceptable to everyone,
certainly not to us,
just in case those future readers
look back on our era and think
every massacre, war, intervention
or form of inequality
in our time was acceptable,
because it was the times,
or the context had not changed yet,
or the people who lived back then
were “different,”
or at least indifferent
to human suffering as we know it
now in the parameters
of our trembling little lives

When I Paint My Self-Portrait

You don’t want a self-portrait from me,
No, you don’t want me to take to the canvas
And show you what I see of myself,
It wouldn’t be fair to you, the paint, or the brush,
The result would be a rush, described
As an attack within the boundaries of a frame

It’s not for a lack of plans or clear vision,
It’s not for a lack of lines or influences,
Everything I’d do I do with the deliberation
That separates the artist and auteur
From the amateur and the productive flaneur,
But you’d still hang me before the frame

Nardo 101

I began the preliminary lecture
Before I had a class,
It didn’t matter, I had facts
And an analysis prepared

It wasn’t practice either,
It was a true to life lecture,
I wore the tweed and the patches,
I readied myself for questions

At the end, there were none,
A good sign, the air
And my cats understood
Everything as one vast clarification

This morning, I’m submitting,
Getting the reading list
Ready for anyone who wants
A head start on the syllabus


About the AuthorBen 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.