Bruce Bennett


"All women are virtual."

I said it as a joke. There was that couple

in England, you know, how she caught him cheating

in Second Life, and told him that was it.

They'd met online, and married there, so sex

online (though he denied it) still is sex

if that is how one lives. It does make sense.

It's funny, sure, but if you think about it—

the thing at least with me that struck a chord—

is, how is that so different from the way

we view each other as erotic subjects?

Our sexual fantasies—aren't they virtual?

So, what I said was meant to be ironic—

I knew it might offend—but also true

in some deep way, as good jokes often are.

It's complicated. But it was a joke.


One way to look at it: it's just a job.

The pay is great. For seven hours a week,

I get to buy my books, and lots of extras.

And no one knows. I get a double life,

not that I really want that. Still, it works.

And also, I admit, I've learned a lot!

None of it good, I have to say. The way

guys act. I sometimes want to shout, Come off it!

You poor pathetic losers, get a life!

Of course, I can't. I wouldn't have my job.

So I just do the thing they pay me well for.

Besides, it isn't me. I wear a wig.

I'm someone else. I'm barely even there.

In fact, a lot of times I'm doing homework.

Bruce Bennett is the author of nine books of poetry and more than twenty poetry chapbooks. His most recent books are Something Like Karma (Clandestine Press, 2009) and Subway Figure (Orchises Press, 2009), and his most recent chapbook is The Holding Stone (Finishing Line Press, 2010). His New and Selected Poems, Navigating The Distances (Orchises Press), was chosen by Booklist as "One Of The Top Ten Poetry Books Of 1999." Bennett co-founded and served as an editor of two poetry magazines, Field: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, and Ploughshares, and, during the 1980's and 90's, served as an Associate Editor for State Street Press. He has reviewed contemporary poetry books in The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. He teaches literature and creative writing at Wells College, where he is Professor and Chair of English and Director of Creative Writing.



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A CLOSER LOOK: Eleanor Wilner

Liz Abrams-Morley reviews

Gabor Barabas

Alice Baumgartner

Bruce Bennett

Kristin Berkey-Abbott

Christie Bingham

Judith Bowles

Laura M. Dixon

Michael Fogarty

Martin Galvin

Rod Jellema

Ann Knox

Judy Kronenfeld

Heller Landecker

W.F. Lantry

Michael Lauchlan

Merrill Leffler

Miriam Levine

Lyn Lifshin

Helen Losse

David McAleavey

Kathleen M. McCann

Louis McKee

George Moore

Megan M. Muthupandiyan

Scott Owens

Beth Paulson

Patric Pepper

Roger Pfingston

Oliver Rice

Lisa Rosinsky

Laura Sobbott Ross

David Salner

J.D. Smith

Barry Spacks

George Stratigakis

Anne Harding Woodworth

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