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Benjamin Goluboff

BenBenjamin Goluboff teaches English at Lake Forest College. In addition to some scholarly publications, he has placed imaginative writing — poetry, essays, and stories — in many small-press journals including Hayden’s Ferry Review, Bird’s Thumb, and War Literature and the Arts. He is the author of Ho Chi Minh: A Speculative Life in Verse (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2017). Some of his work can be read at

Bike Nocturne

To speak ahead of the what and how
as the night blocks pass in street light,
to speak ahead of yourself
as your shadow, grey on the blacktop,
swings past you and again,
street light to street light,
swings past.

To speak like that.
To speak over your head and ahead of your grasp,
ahead of your shadow as it swings,
block to block light to light,
ahead of your intention, even,
ahead of your route.

Each route tonight an act of speech,
point to point in the city,
where the grid is our lexicon
and the lexicon our grid.

At Argyle and Glenwood
water runs loud beneath the street,
connecting distances in the dark.
Here are the range and inflections,
the reach of our idiom.

Liu Dan, “The Dictionary,” 1991. Ink and Watercolor on Paper

The painting hangs in the corridor
between Prints and Drawings,
and the Alsdorf Gallery of Asian Antiquities.
But it is also true that the corridor
hangs in the painting
along with drawings and prints,
and many things antique and Asian.
A vast creature has been swallowed
by a creature more vast.
The painting contains the dictionary;
the dictionary contains the world.
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