I believe it is the act of language that makes everything that we are as human beings a possibility. I believe that in its ideal state Poetry is the purest form of that act. As I understand it, my job as editor/publisher is to find, promote, package and distribute poetry that comes as close as possible to the ideal. ~~~~~Ben L. Hiatt, Editor Digital Dawg




Something new since the last post:
Click HERE.



This blog is gonna be the next version of "The Big Dog Review" which used mostly poetry to carry the message that if you couldn't run with the big dogs then you maybe just oughta stay on the porch. These days that's where I stay. On the porch and out of the way. But I got to thinking that there wasn't any righteous reason not to use this computer to turn this front porch into a launching pad for poetry. I've recently just finished what will probably be my final project in hard copy from Mt Aukum Press. It was a cute lil 20 page chapbook in Technicolor which I called THE PATCH ON THE ASS OF THE UNIVERSE and beyond that you gotta see it to have any idea what it is because words simply will not carry it around. If they could it would not need to exist. It is wild and brite and sometimes revs up to 220 v. and has already been re-vised, expanded and re-issued as Version 2.0 with each and every copy hand signed and numbered.

Enuf! This thing here is the Digital Dawg by name to acknowledge its roots. It is built on the back of a Blogger engine and it seems to be coming together. Beyond that we'll make up the rules as we go along like we always have. That's what it has always been all about. You don't need ANYONE'S permission to publish something in this country. I contacted Ann Menebroker, Jim Chandler and Taylor Graham (all of whom Mt Aukum Press publishes) and invited them on-board site unseen. Each instantly agreed and here we go. There will be others. They'll find us or we'll find them. That's how it works. In the meantime I'll screen out the Blogger kids and the grown-up bullshit artists who dream of being a poet if they just had the time.

I intend to use this blog to publish a poetry ragazine and I'll be inviting submissions via e-mail to Dawg@mtaukumpress.com. Sumpin' I like comes across my bow, I'll post it up. Reprints are fine with me. All that bullshit about being the first and onliest to publish a poem was fine when we were young but some views change as gravity takes over. However, if you send along something that has appeared previously in hard copy or on the net then let me know so we can show our good manners and give credit to whoever had the good sense to originally launch the work in question.

One other thing:
If you just came stumbling in here please do some reading before you decide to drop a ton of your wonderous verse on my front porch. Knowing how many un-caring, self-serving assholes there are out there who claim to be poets, I'm going to carry over one other thing from the big dawg days and that will be a "worst poem submitted" page, to be activated as needed. Any poem submitted Unsolicited to me via e-mail is eligible. Please keep that in mind before you start sending me your poetry. It only takes a minute to politely query to see if I am interested in reading your stuff. Try it that way. It really works. If I have published you in the past in any venue then you are not eligible for the awards. That would be nepotism.

O.K. Let's Go.

--Ben L. Hiatt, Editor


Ben L. Hiatt

For Phil Weidman, who provided the nudge

When things move
They change

If a man
Sits down
And stays
In one place

He might meet

For the first time.

If he stays there
Long enough
He will exhaust
His memories

Much later
New, strange memories
Will emerge
From the shattered bones
Of the old

At first
He will not recognize them
As his own
Think that, perhaps,
They were left behind
By another

Who stayed awhile
Then moved on
With a lighter load
And took
The words with him

--Ben L. Hiatt,
November 10, 2004


Phil Weidman


for B.C.

Opal, a nurse’s aide, noticed
Lydia was sleeping fitfully.
Most of the patients in the
convalescent hospital felt
abandoned because they were
rarely visited by family
or friends. A few, like Lydia,
were the last surviving
member of a family. Opal
drew a small bottle of hand
lotion from her blue smock,
folded the sheet back from Lydia’s
feet and began to rub lotion
into each foot. Lydia’s body
relaxed and she uttered
a barely audible moan before
her eyes opened and she
asked, “Are you an angel?”

Phil Weidman


Jim Chandler

I want to die on a cold day

the smoke of my bones
sullying a leaden sky
my soul clinging fast

to the wheels
of heaven

groaning over stars
seen from the
light reversed

black holes
whirring like saucers
in a b-movie

riding the tunnel
of light through
a prism bent in
shades of gray

diffused melodic
dispersal of

shotgun approach
to universal nothing

boom scatter
boom scatter scatter

a silent rock band
of negative matter
windmill on strings
of rays

solar wind tooting
the horn of

it's like jazz in
the void

yeah jazz in the void

all that noise
and nothing

Go to Jim's website to see more of his excellent work.
Jim Chandler's book
is available on-line from
Mt Aukum Press

Ann Menebroker

After The Fact
for V.W.

She was a quiet sort of girl
mighty rivers of contention running through
her young frame, going in their own direction
except she wasn't the captain of her boat
as yet; and as she stood, receiving
the blows from her mother, holding back
tears like a benediction of survival
she didn't think she'd ever grow up
and escape. But she did. Now the doctor
says she has to have part of her collar bone
sawed off to stop the pain, maybe pain
that reached back to those long years
when a girl refused to cry.

Pick-N-Pull It
Boneyard of Memories

parts too old to replace
so go to the cemetery
of thrown-out pieces
but bring your own tools
to get them loose
and pay the small price
of keeping things
beyond their survival date.

Something Might Happen

She's wearing a Tuesday mask
even though the calendar says Friday.
This is where math and poetry
break up, stop giving easy answers.
The value of truth becomes
fries and milk shakes.
Spring hats and snow
falling in the mountains. What's left
to trust? A man drinking a cold
beer trips over mid-afternoon.
She catches him in her arms
by the clock's midnight chime.
She's been looking for affection
all year. He's just been thirsty.
She steadies him into Wednesday
and lets go. The universe nods.

-Ann Menebroker
(reprinted from a broadside out of
Bottle of Smoke Press, 2004)

Ann Menebroker's book
may be purchased on-line at
The Mt Aukum Press Bookstore


Taylor Graham


The fluffy gray dog pants
in easy rhythm at your feet
while you shape-shift

to coyote
who sometimes calls from down
the ridge in the dark.

Your new computer works
on one-cell human batteries,
you’re plugged in to Tuesday

morning air,
a marathon which the rest of us
don’t give a thought to:

Life’s a zigzag
between the crossed-off

images and your next-minute
future. A mouse-
click, and here you are, by-

lined in place between
your generations:
old Ben begetting young

Ben by his one-soul battery
till a mortal poet
assumes voices biblical

and the used-up oxygen rises
on its elevator cable
from your lungs, a metered hum

against “the quiet world
of the dying
to dance” and you flick

the mouse
in your hand like a
diehard starter.

Taylor Graham's book
may be purchased on-line directly from the publisher
Mt Aukum Press

Taylor Graham


for Ben L. Hiatt

For the back cover of your book
you shot yourself triptych
between the bathroom cabinet mirrors,

then, you elongated the reflection
vertically, computer-enhanced.
A hard-drive doesn’t gasp
for breath like you do.

With a two-day shadow,
in logger’s plaid shirt unlatched
and your smile half-mast,

you might have just
been chewing roadkill deer-
meat jerky like it was taffy, or

stubbed out the cigarette you lit
at age six;

or maybe you’re making Yankee
Doodle against the dark conspiracies,
against life without poetry
& oxygen canisters.

You’re glorified in this mirror-
disarray that lets the mind loose
on “words that weighed
the voice of the wind,”

that sail outside your tripled image
like bats into the night sky.

What if I turn my own mirrors
against themselves; hold the camera
gut-level; aim and shoot?

What would I see
in that picture?

Taylor Graham's book
may be purchased on-line
directly from the publisher
Mt Aukum Press

Ben L. Hiatt


When I became a poet
I changed my name
to protect my father’s image

When I stared down
the boot stompers
in the smoky bars
of Eastern Oregon
and told them
“My name is Ben L. Hiatt
and I’m a poet.”
He watched from the sidelines
and bought the house
another round

When I made my breakthrough
and wrote my first
brutally honest poem
He was the first to see it
because it was about him
and a monster big buck he’d killed
and let me claim
through all those fragile years

After he died I took my long hair
back to those same smoky bars
A bag full of my books
at my side
I read them poems
About him
and we tossed off a few
for Ben Hiatt’s Old Man
while most of them laughed,
a few of them cried,
and some of them
went home with
Ben L. Hiatt’s book
of poems
in their pocket,
their money in mine.

By then
There was another
Ben Hiatt
who early on learned to be
as hard of hearing as his father
and grandfather
when we were all together
and someone called for Ben Hiatt
and our eyes would seek each other
in the crowd
as if to ask
which of us would take this call

Once when the youngest Ben
fell into the fast waters of Catherine Creek
during a community picnic
and the middle Ben jumped the rail
to pull him out
the one up on his toes on the bank
with outstretched arms
reaching for the near drowned child
was the oldest Ben

I remember the fear in his eyes
and how it turned to pride
when I handed up his
screaming grandson

Benjamin Webster Hiatt
held Benny Michael Hiatt
high in the air and they danced
a goofy, giggly, granpa dance
in the dust that day
while some folks laughed
there were some who cried
and everyone cheered

When my father died
I was no longer
the middle Ben
But I have never not been
Ben Hiatt’s son

And now as my own son
moves in his strong,
broad shouldered way
to claim his place
in the world
I find my own chest
fills with pride when
I am sometimes
“Ben Hiatt’s Dad”

© Ben L. Hiatt 2004