Ben Powell


Lost my savings in a Bitcoin scheme, so money’s becoming an issue. Had to open two hundred credit cards to net the necessary frequent flyer miles to visit mom on X-Mass. Thoughts of moving back in with dad aggravates the rash behind my knees, under my gut. I itch & then I scratch.

Obsessing over my shitty WIFI. Decide to make appointment with Verizon. Guy can’t come today, but set the date for tomorrow. Feel giddy thinking about rapid streams. Makes me feel hopeful & unafraid, which tempers the sad necessity of closing my accounts on Netflix, BangBus, & Spotify for funds.

Remember that dad used to be petrified when people would be coming over. Still is. Plumbers, electricians. In our old apartment, he would position a chair inches from the door, waiting, on-guard. He’d complain about how hard it was to get a gun. Like that would’ve helped him. Tried to tell him that a gun isn’t a gun anymore. Most dangerous weapon is a crushing Yelp review, a forum smear, an anonymous claim of assault. He doesn’t get it. Hasn’t been on. Have U? Been on Reddit? Been on 4chan? U seen this? Know what they’re saying?

Hillary’s reptilian:

Beyonce’s illuminati:

Kanye’s god:

Ever looked at the back of a dollar bill? Ever actually thought about Bush doing 9/11?

Sometimes I just wanna cover myself in the slime of it; sometimes I wanna be the savior. I add my voice to the chorus. Why not? Comments under hundreds of usernames attached to hundreds of proxy email addresses I keep indexed in an excel file. I’m Gristen13 & PurpleDragonFly4 & Ebony66HazeLSD & SpacedOUTer3 & 4Dsando4 & xxRillyHixx. My username on Christian Mingle is Peter St. John. On Grindr I’m MisterPipe44. My face is a 32-year-old white guy with adult braces that I pulled from a friend of a friend on Facebook. My face is a stock photo of a black guy working behind the counter at a bank. My face is yr face if it’s out there.

Visited dad the other day. Delivered groceries. Nice to be out. He still calls me Fat Fuck. We both laugh. He hasn’t been out of bed in years. Least I can still walk.

Better WIFI will do more for me than porn, but there’s that too. Always craving new stuff like its Cheeto dust. U seen some of these videos before? Starts with u watching girl on girl. Then guy on girl. Then guy on girl dressed as squirrel. Then girl dressed as squirrel on guy dressed as girl. Then I’m watching half-guys on half-girls. & then it’s actual squirrel on actual squirrel. I’m googling Discovery Channel footage of ape sex, elephant sex, tiger sex. Shit’s unbelievably gorgeous.

Look at myself in the mirror by accident. Well, not the mirror, but the webcam puts my face on the screen & reflects it back to me. Can’t fit my body in the frame. Not when I roll back from my desk on the squeaking wheels of my chair. Not when I’m backed up onto the edge of my bed. Only when I’m all the way back, kneeling on my pillows, back against the wall. Then I can see it all. Starting to think I’m beautiful, u know? & not in a lame-ass body positivity sort of way, but in a mythic fashion. Like a crater or mountain or ocean or moon. This night I’m a monument & till tomorrow I’ll be still.

But then I stay up too late & accidentally watch the sun rise outside my window: a gold slit between neighboring apartment buildings. Wonder why I haven’t done it more often, so then I do: hooking up to my projector & bringing it into my bed. Sandwiching the device between my legs & aiming its bright shine at the ceiling, playing time-lapsed footage off of Vimeo: 1,000 sun rises condensed into 10 minutes of footage played out above me. High def. Soaring orchestrals projected & booming through my bluetooth speakers. Wish I had the energy to get up & shut the shades.

Must have slept, because dad calls me & my cellphone sets my pillow vibrating. Woke me up in a savage way. He wants to talk about the groceries I’ve been buying him. Real disappointed. Makes me think about how mom always seemed to be dialed straight into his system. Knew his cravings like they were her’s. Bought him things he’d never tried, knowing he’d love them. & he did. Saw pictures of her on Instagram a couple weeks ago posted by Kenny. Had to unfollow. Can’t stand to see her against green grass, happy & thin. Makes me sick all the way down to fibers of my motherboard.

Tell dad I’ll be over in a bit. Just have some things to do. Verizon guy should be coming soon. Setting me up with faster access. I like to think that things will get better. That I can keep lying back in my bed & the gossamer strands of hundred-dollar WIFI will pull me up, suspend me so I’m weightless & free.

Tonight I’ll be expansive online. I’ll deny the holocaust in the comments section of David Blaine magic tutorials. I’ll talk eugenics on clips of Rolling Stones live shows. I’ll send pictures of my penis to recent college graduates who are unfortunate enough to swipe right. I’ll edit Wikipedia so that Lance Armstrong is a saint again. I’ll hack into mom’s emails & send another email to dad, saying she still thinks of him sometimes. I’ll have her send an email to me, too. Telling me I’m generous and knowing and kind.

Knock at the door forces me out of bed & I have to let this poor Verizon guy in. Could have cleaned but didn’t. Wouldn’t matter if my favorite flavor of Pringles wasn’t Salt & Vinegar. Keep the cylinders stacked against the wall like trophies. Whole place is violently sour. I do love it here. This WIFI could drive me to broke, though. But it’s a staple. It’s food & clothes & shelter, all in one. Whatever.

I’m sure the Verizon guy has seen this sort of shit before. We’re all monsters in this part of town. Seems like a pretty nice guy. End up following him down the stairs on my way out for dad. He makes conversation about team sports & I think about tripping & falling on him, how he wouldn’t survive the pressure of me, how no one could.  


Ben Powell is a writer, teacher, and musician based out of Worcester, MA. He is currently seeking a publisher for his first novel.