Richard Beban
        Richard Beban began writing poetry in the early 1990’s after many years of working in journalism and television and screen writing.  He has an MFA from Antioch University and Red Hen Press has published his two books, What the Heart Weighs and Young Girl Eating a Bird. His work has been published in around fifty different journals, web sites and anthologies and he used to help organize the Rose Café reading series in Venice.
        Richard Beban has a huge range—Young Girl is full of humor and word-play but possesses at its heart a resonant soulfulness not easy to forget. He touches on many different subjects and brings a vast amount of experience and learning to his poems, and he tries out many different forms, and brings new life to these old forms.  Often he writes—like many poets do—about what we do and think in private and prefer not to talk about. In the one section of Young Girl brilliantly titled “Why I Haven’t Kept in Touch,” the views are so intimate that we might prefer to look away, but we don’t: his world invites us in because it’s our world, too. What he’s writing about is universal. We all have things, and lose them, and must grapple with our limitations and place in the scheme of things, and the mortality of those we love as well as our own. There are light-hearted moments, too:  Southern California is ubiquitous here: there are the palm trees and the movie references the motels and there’s the airport and the traffic: his universal themes set not in an ether but a concrete landscape.  I don’t think there’s more you can ask for in a poet.

DSM 296.32

There are days so dark that sleep
is the sole answer, but even slow-

arriving sleep is a dry fever of stiff
sheets & cicada pillowcases rasping

against the ear. I wonder how they
will count against me in the end,

how to answer for so many
days when ambition is a trip to

the toilet, when will is a shower
& a swill of mouthwash.

How much else I want, how little
I am allowed. I cut myself

no slack, loathsome anger throbs
under these gauze-wrapped days:

When do you wake up grow up
get up? The disease thrives on being

misunderstood, masquerades
as simple melancholy, is will’s

surrogate; mocks doctors,
makes an end run around

pills, conscripts its own cheerless
cheering section; the bleachers

applaud each failure, box seats
remain unsold.

First published in Young Girl Eating a Bird, Red Hen Press, 2006

© 2009 Richard Beban
Richard Beban was a Featured Poet who read his poetry at the
December 2009 Second Sunday Poetry Series.