Monday, March 6, 2023

new from above/ground press: Night Protest, by Ben Jahn

Night Protest
Ben Jahn


when we heard about a man lapping milk spilled from a truck into a gutter with a pack of dogs and the radio said every minute every day every week that we delay / we decided we’d had enough / something had to be done / we made signs cut rough from old box flaps but couldn’t decide on a slogan so we filled them in completely / getting a little high off the marker’s fumes we waited for nightfall and donned dark sweatshirts and masks and stood an appropriate distance apart along old highway 123 / a distance suggesting / we felt / solidarity // in time no doubt others will join us / news media will catch on / call it an eerie spectacle you may have heard by now / of a night protest / what do they want / and we will lose control of the aesthetic / people will project their theories and fears onto our blank black signs / but for now no one has noticed our protest is pure / it’s making the difference we imagined that first giddy night when the concept was fresh

published in Ottawa by above/ground press
March 2023
as part of above/ground press’ thirtieth anniversary
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Ben Jahn
has published in Fence, Tin House Flash Fridays, ZYZZYVA, The Best of McSweeney’s, [PANK], The Santa Monica Review, DUSIE, and periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics. He received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in fiction, and his story, “Reborn,” appeared in The Paris Review as the winner of NPR’s Three Minute Fiction contest. He lives in Richmond, CA, not far (but usually upwind) from the Chevron refinery. He teaches at Contra Costa College, and spends his free time traveling with his partner and her kids. For infrequent updates, go to  

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