Collective Unrest


5 Poems by Ben Nardolilli

December 13, 2018

Yesterday’s Synchronicity
Read an article about redlining,
then listened to an album
with the title “Redline,”
after work, I traveled to Metro Center,
where I walked over
the Red Line trains to get out,
and once there, I went to Chinatown,
passing by a bar called Redline.
I’d like to start thinking and believing
this all means something,
in these words is a hint
of what I need to be doing,

maybe I’m supposed to stand up,
maybe I’m supposed to fight,
maybe I’m supposed to travel
but I still stay underground,
maybe I’m just supposed to drink
La Resistance 6/20/18
And when we march to stop this atrocity,
let’s not allow the organizers
of the organizers to do to us
they very things we are protesting against,
so as this administration puts children
in cages along the border,
do not let the authorities of this city
put us in cages for our supposed security
as we march and protest
the tender age shelters
where Refugee-Americans are held,
no need to accept any life behind bars,
however brief or voluntary,
even if we know where our families are
and where we will be sleeping tomorrow


La Resistance 3/27/18
My ex is back in Lebanon, getting ready
for an election, and campaigning
with a circle of friends
for women and liberation, the longest
revolution and still running
She does not walk easy, or speak
with the smoothest of words, accidentally
code-switching from one language
family to another,
and yet there she is, fighting and active
Meanwhile, I’m bombarded with offers
to score laptops and win points,
as well as updates
about the very special counsel
who will handle the orange king for me


La Resistance 2/12/17
Who knows when or where the fire is coming next time,
But we all know what it will be used for
And what group as a whole will get the blame
Maybe it will involve one of his towers,
Or a store selling a line of his elongated, shiny ties,
Yet there will be a fire and he will get angry
Maybe it will involve a government office,
Maybe it will involve the bloodletting
Of one of his closet, dull and loyal minions
Yet there will be a fire eventually and he will get angry
And ask the rest of us to get angry
Against an Other made of darker flesh and blood
An Other who thinks with one mind,
Acts with one heart and one set will,
Yet is dispersed over millions of separate bodies
When the day of that attack comes,
That impending Reichstag Fire,
We must be ready to all fall into that category
Whether it be Muslim, Mexican, Marxist,
Professional Anarchist or paid protestor, nasty woman
Or bad hombre, we must accept the target
To make the roundups too expensive,
And the camps too big to manage,
To turn their general repression into a general strike
Until then, we watch and we wait
For the crime to unfold, the act to ignite him,
I’m keeping an eye on the wife and child he exposes


La Resistance 2/17/17
When the Orange King falls, we will rise,
But how far and how fast? And will we fall
Again in the shadow of his successor?
His days are few, though not yet numbered,
We have time to plan for our response
For the day he leaves the throne in chains
Sure, we can plan for the small, immediate
Things that will come after the change,
Make plans for which champagne to buy,
Which bars to roll through like a Patriot,
And the exact cheers to make in the streets,
Me, I’m partial to “shut the fuck up Donny.”
His time in the spotlight fades with each leak,
It means we are losing time too, quick
What plans do we have for the transition?
For this resistance is not a resistance
Of millions against one man, but against
The whole system that threw him his coronation

Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, Inwood Indiana, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at and is looking to publish a novel.

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