There’s ash, destruction and dust,

the colour of red ochre coating

everything and everyone —

The crumbling brownstones, the

weeds and thornbushes, the rocks

and us pilgrims, as we make our

way to Benny’s. The serpentine path

breaks in places, and we have to

wade through muddy water and

climb cliff faces. Benny’s in the trade,

Mark says, as he carries goods in

a sack that we plan on trading

for a meal. I despise it all, but

survival coats the heart pitch-black

and I need to do things I’m not

proud of. The elite with resources

in their towns and cities, eat

at Benny’s, not sojourners and

tramps like us. We reach

the place, tumbledown but

better looking than anything I’ve seen

in the wasteland. I look up at the sky,

the red moon and the dying sun

juxtaposed like images of violence

and surrender, the things that got us

here, the dust sweeps into the main hall.

I pray for my soul, and sit at a rickety table.

The proprietor arrives with his beard

and red suit, and I snatch pieces of

conversation from the nearby tables.

Philosophers speaking about the fallout.

How did these softies survive this long?

I wonder and then see the train of slaves —

The trade, the craft, the means to a life,

whatever you call it, there’s no justifying it.

Mark points, says, We’ll have the fat

man, whose eyes protrude when he sees

the finger. He squirms and shivers. Which

Part? Benny asks, thigh, belly, head,

and Mark says, I reckon

we’ve got enough scraps for the full man.

Three-fourths, Benny says, and asks us how

we’ll like him. Well done, I say, very well done,

thank you, before Mark can

utter a word, and gag.

This is a sister poem to the one I wrote for dVerse. You’ll find that one here. I set both in dystopian futures.

Photo by Asher Legg on Unsplash

9 responses to “Benny’s”

  1. The metaverse seems like a utopia in comparison now. This was so dark, but your superb style made it digestible.


    1. Yeah. This was pretty dark. I guess it’s the influence of the Southern Gothic writers I’m reading. Thanks Tanmay. I hope this isn’t our future though. Like you said, the meta verse is preferable.


  2. Have you read Tender is the Flesh? This reminds me of it.


    1. No I googled it. Sounds like something I’d like to read, but might leave me a bit despondent. I don’t mind a short story about ahem food, but an entire novel!


      1. Okay. Good point. It is quite dark. I felt like tossing it out a window at the very end, like Pat in Silver Linings Playbook (fave movie) when he reads A Farewell to Arms.


      2. I’ve watched Silver Linings Playbook three times I think. I love that movie. One of my favourites too. Yeah I might not read Tender is the flesh then. One book I felt like tossing out the window is American Psycho. People said it was darkly humorous and stuff, but I couldn’t find the humour in it then. Just a whole lot of bloodshed.


  3. This perfectly complements the previous one but honestly, it gave me the shivers. Excellently crafted, Nitin.


    1. Haha. It’s one of my forays into the horror genre. I like venturing into the darker stuff from time to time. Thank you so much Punam!


      1. It’ s good to try different genres. You are welcome.


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About Me

Ordinary Person is a guy who likes to write. He writes fiction, essays, poems and other stuff.


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