Benjamin Norman Pierce

Benjamin Norman Pierce lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he has worked as a professional dishwasher for many years. He paints and displays his graphics in various coffeehouses and small galleries. He self-published a novel, Snuck Past Death And Sleep, and an album, Al-Azif, both available online.He was an enthusiastic participant in the 2011 occupation of the Wisconsin State Capitol. He has published graphics and poems in sundry small journals.

Dead Air #7: Behind His Hands


He handled his fingers as if they were themselves the task

and held his face as if he could see it;

could shape it as if by his fingers

or by secret fingers within and behind his face;

his tongue was a life of it’s own and his head it’s empty theater,

his voice an alien breath that resided in his chest

using smoke as it’s bones

using the words he heard coming off of him as a skin:

but his hands were his task as much as the work he did

for they spoke, his hands, as his words did not,

with meaning and the substance of effect

with an identity of presence

even as his words had the possibility of flight

and in flight, evaporation.

He could watch his hands, therefore

all day if he wanted to (and he wanted to)

and know himself there, as the words flew out of him

shaped his face in their passing,

distracting his tongue, his worst foe, from him

and, thereby, and therein, abide:

and from the hands that showed him him

and away from the words that let him standard

                                                                                    away, behind,