Bone River


Sundown.  Bone River.  A hatchet and a cassock. Where do we go when the spirit leaves us in the moonlight at the crossroads? How many steps before we realize that we cannot escape them, that we will carry the crossroads with us forever?  When the waters rise and breach the levee; when the sun fills the land with blood; when your dreams are baptized in the current; when the chorus on the far bank sings out your name; when everything around you rises from the grave, Bone River will take us, as Bone River does.

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A Sermon

A Song


Listen to Hymnal, by master sonic artist Joey Carbo, on Bandcamp. And pay the man.

Bone River Hymnal


The Wind buys the river

shots of Patrón

for this

ghost train city

rusted tracks         rumbling night

dirty and wailing

mother long gone

Jay Cat’s by Circle K

sunk in the swamp

corner bar      gators circle

stale bait in the windows

gang initiation


three women’ll be shot

don’t worry                  a hoax

only fais do do

strip off your skin

stretch it over the bayou

whittle them bones               beat on them drums

Bone River takes us as Bone River does


Death rides a street cruiser all night through the Bottoms

better change color

slink ‘long the fence

eat insectual            elongated tongue

Spring’s comin’

nature’s money shot        up in your nose

all over your hair

coating your car

evening sun slips       off the sky      dirty condom

shaking off old man’s grip

Easy rises with the trees

blossoming mouth

rotten leaves

back from father’s tomb

gossamer shades come to cross

in the light of the train

down by the levee           how many graves

and Bone River takes us as Bone River does

each day           cane fires             blown from the west

redden the eye                       tighten the throat

feel the bubbles                          beneath your skin

the end of Western Civilization

The Chin pops a bottle and sets up shop

leans out the window to the passing parade

he sings

feliz extinction

everything in the pot

Tony Chachere’s cauliflower potatoes corn and sausage

Toothless Thibs builds a fire outside his front door

sucks fresh strawberries           juice on his chin


the kettle boils

Tee Loc’s Harley butchers river road

savage and drunk

the river got on Shippy and he couldn’t shake it loose

cracks and crumbles              his mud face

dark fish skulk and snap underneath

this is the land falling into the sea

this is the land falling into the sea

Preacher sits on the levee

and plays his harp to the river

calling each wave closer to shore

hear the whistle blow

feel these currents flow ‘round the bayonet

stuck deep in a corpse

this land

a thousand notes           one song

inked on Aly’s left foot           state map

overlaid with switchblade

three drops of blood

and Bone River takes us

as Bone River does


“The adjective pertinent to the insistent wind-blown melancholy of this composition is ‘smoky,’ but the hard world of it is Smoke. Benjamin Lowenkorn tells it smoky and smoke trails through the jagged spaces of this beautiful epic.” -Andrei Codrescu, So Recently Rent A World: New and Selected Poems

“Benjamin Lowenkron’s book of poems, Bone River, flows with images of natural environments, the landscapes of relationships and the bones of mortality.  These provocative poems bring you through post-Katrina New Orleans, through Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, and through cemeteries, evoking ancestors and lost friends.” -Patrice Melnick, Po-Boy Contraband: From Diagnosis back to Life


Praise for Preacher’s Blues

“a curse and a wish, a blessing and a prayer. The lines overlap one another like its muddy waves, and in this way, the form of the poems, in rhythm and repetition, tells the story too, that of the beautiful/ugly patchwork of the flooded city.”Cynthia ReeserPrick of the Spindle

“Preacher’s Blues is a long holy hallucination at the mouth of an apocalypse–Lowenkron dresses up prophecies in mud and pitch and sends them downriver to be ogled.”Peter JurmuVernacular



“The kingdom of god is all around us, but we do not see it. We can only feel its edge, and only if we know how to reach out in the right ways.

The River has many bridges, but only one jump.”

from an interview with Stephanie Renae Johnson in Prick of the Spindle

About the Author

Benjamin Lowenkron is a poet


ISBN: 978-0-98873-286-5
Available in paperback and hardcover
120 pages
January, 2014

Additional information


Paperback, Hardcover