Exhibition and other works by Joseph Bienvenu


Joseph Bienvenu lives in New Orleans where he teaches Latin and English at a local high school. He is the editor of Mustachioed, and his chapbook Pool Hall Quartet was recently published by Verna Press. He is also currently working on a translation of Catullus's complete poetry.


Border Patrol


Among the potholes and the citron haze, there is only so much to being alive, distracted by the brass spittoons and the pretended innocence of pregnant bartenders as the biography of dead French architects blares from the back room. Yet again my parking ticket is lost in the luggage; my winter coat is nabbed in some failed bank heist. It isn't hard to malinger in the little haunted spokes of college smokestacks, waiting forever for the half-baked forecasts, looking forward to the dense epiphany of valium in the bathysphere.


Triumph of Aged Luchadors

Leave the Amazon of coral reefs to the wild yeast of heartbeats, the luminous carbonate of the body. The bones of exotic fish are calling out through Indonesian canopies as we drape our backs in the brocade reveille of homemade Haitian flags. The prophets of tobacconists predict the painted eyelines of heraldic glee. Should we wear the tattered veils of tattooed saints and beat the bongos of the paisley hermitage? The click of crimson castanets is the clack of tumbling continents. The wounded fingers that we slammed in restroom doors are signals of our struggle.


Let Them Sleep

O 24 cylinder nightcap! O tongue behind the factory stammering into the future of some rinky-dink saloon. The libretto of ancient symmetries is now adrift in an aerial view of Lima. O days of hoopla! Precious science of calico! O brash Saturnalias of neon tubes inside the coat check where customers slip in for a peek beneath the out-of-body petticoats.



Morning is consumed with tiny metal ampersands. Surge of jet-skis fortifies the Richter scale. Woman diagonally opposite, acid-etched into the tiles. Swami of persimmons reinvents the guidebook in the shorthand of sleep. I bleed the daylight in my urban chair. The giant eye and ear that sprout from ashtray. Ice skate on primordial sea. Zinc birdcage empties the banisters. At its heart the life-size cutout of Japan. Slice of lemon discarded by high rollers at the church bazaar. English language is a dust storm. Walk the tightrope of the power lines. Do the peppermint twist. Basilica equipped with female mannequins. Unearth the public urinal with pick and shovel. Small schematic figure of my spleen. Concierge is out to lunch. Morocco is more difficult. Assemblage of smoke. Giant x-ray of the minotaur. Grab the wheel with purple tentacles. I'm not afraid of flying in the face of syntax. Don't waste time on clipping toenails. Frenetic oyster of the atom bomb. Split and peel the shallots. Radiant pajamas hurtle past construction site. Feel tongue stroking the palm. The inevitable collapse of marshmallow. Wear a fur coat in the summer's heat. Flock of sheep, thank you for calling me. The objects in my pockets are talismans against the day derived from liturgy. The stuffed owl soars through the hybrid fantasies of microscopic cities. The Goodyear blimp dislodges the illusion of fluorescent bliss.