Title: Drive By ~ Shards & Poems
y: John Bennett
Genre: Poetry & Flash Fiction/Non-Fiction, Trade Paper
Publisher: Lummox Press (PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733-5301) www.lummoxpress.com
Pages: 140
ISBN: 978-1-929878-09-3

Publishing Date: February 2010

Retail: $15 + shipping

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To pay by Money Order/cash, choose appropriate amount and make check out to Lummox
and send to Lummox Press c/o PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733

See the Drive By Promotional Video

John Bennett, a scallywag by profession, a window washer by default has been laboring in the Small Press ever since the days when the Mimeograph was king. He is of that ilk of poets that "have already created their own tradition, their own press, and their own public." (From Jack Foley's Visions and Affiliations: a California Literary Timeline of Poets and Poetry 1940-2005; quote by Donald Allen) - which is to say that John has been at this for an awfully long time and yet he manages to stay fresh and ahead of his peers though they are often much younger. He is a widely published writer with over thirty books to his name, half as many anthologies; and was the publisher of Vagabond Press (with an amazing list of titles under its' belt) and is now associated with Hcolom Press. A complete list of his literary exploits may be seen at Rychard Denner's Berkeley Daze.


John Bennett-- a great writer of no category--as if the soul and brain and heart and balls of jack kerouac, maurice blanchot, paul valery and elsa lasker-schiller were reincarnated as one. But even that constellation won't describe the ineffable rise of the authority of his moral center,  lifting like a central valley tule fog burning off into some golden angel of sun rushing across/toward the indescribable clownface of history.

Edward Mycue, poet, San Francisco 

"The thing that continually fascinates me about your writing is the trueness of it:  not just a 'write what you know' kind of trueness, but a permanently immediate truth, something you could put in a time capsule and it would still be just fine in a thousand years."

Liz Druitt

"John Bennett never fucks around and has sensitive, frank, disturbing things to say... he fills in the chinks in poetry-culture where the mice and owls live."


Here are a few poems and a shard from the book...

Smoke & Mirrors

The world is
going to hell

in a

hand basket &

people sneer

at me

for smoking

like somehow

I'm to



Crazy John Bennett 

Back in the

day I was

known by a

certain bar crowd


crazy John Bennett.

I would

walk into the

Corner Stone Tavern

on a

quiet afternoon &

a cheer would

go up from

the regulars.

They knew that

before the

night was over

I'd be

biting the

heads off



I tried

changing my name

to Jabony Welter,

but things


pretty much

the same.



He blew the bugle

at 4 a.m.

for the

company to

fall out in


because his

days were

growing short &

he wanted to

march his men

down the

back alley

of time

for all the

world to see.

But no more than

thirty men

came out

of the barracks,

half of them

still in

pajamas &

slippers &

only three

carrying rifles.

His life's

soldiers were

reluctant to

gather all in

one place.

They'd never

done it before

so why now?

They were


in cognito,

they liked to

infiltrate &

play possum &

when the time was right

torch the city

steal the silver

& run.

The only time

they ever did

real fighting

was when

they were

backed into a


Then they were

as ferocious as


How many times

had the

enemy wheeled a

Trojan Horse

up to the gate &

they set it

on fire with arrows?

How many times

had they

slipped through the

ranks of some

golden-haired Custer

like Ninjas?

They held things

for ransom

no one knew

they were missing.

They reenlisted

time &

again to

carry his

sorry ass

through to the


& now that they

were finally there

he wants them to

go on parade.


Choked with emotion

he blows the

bugle again,

blows it

like Gabriel

like Miles Davis

like Chet Baker,

& the troops

still inside

lean out the

windows &



All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers

They're always on the move, they're in Saint Petersburg and then off they go to Stockholm. Some stay in 5-star hotels, others in tents, but they all take pictures with their cell phones and send them to each other email.

I used to sneer at people taking pictures with cell phones, but now I too have a cell phone that takes pictures. For weeks I took pictures of everything under the sun and the phone gobbled them up. Then a young girl who’s flunking high-school English, sweet and soft-spoken, murmured, "Could I see it for a second?"

I didn't understand why she was flunking English, she spoke it perfectly fine. I handed her my phone and in nothing flat there were all the pictures I though were lost, lined up and labeled in sequential order.

"Well will you look at that!" I said.

She smiled. "Would you like to put them on your computer so you can send them to your friends?" she asked.

"Yes!" I said. "That would be great!" Here was a window of opportunity, a chance to redeem myself with my friends in Paris and Rome and the few still in Saint Petersburg--they'd been steadily sending me cell-phone pictures, but when I didn't reciprocate, the number of pictures tapered off, and then the emails themselves began to dwindle.

"Do you have Bluetooth?" asked the girl.

"I beg your pardon?" I said. I thought maybe my breath was bad or that my teeth were changing color. I was afraid that now she wouldn't help me get back in touch with my friends.

"On your computer, I mean," she said. "You have it on your cell phone--see?" She pushed some buttons and brought up an icon. "Is your computer on?" she said. "Do you mind?"

She sat down at my computer and with a few clicks brought up the same icon that was on my cell phone.

And then she did something that drove it home to me like a spike through a vampire's heart that I was cut off not from one world but two--the world I was born into and this world that had replaced it. And that in between the two there must have been another, a transitional world that I missed completely. She punched in a series of commands on the cell phone, and the pictures I'd taken began appearing on the computer.

"There," she said, when she was done. "Now you can send them to your friends."

They were meaningless pictures, the product of someone fumbling with a technology beyond his grasp. But I sent them anyway, and gradually my friends began emailing again, asking cautiously if I had any travel plans.