Ben Naka-Hasebe Kingsley


The Expansionist


We hallooed at the mouth

of the first cave and when it yielded

no reply we lit it full

of people and to the brim

crammed in our prides.


Now we sleep surrounded

by the din of mindless booming:

towns, to cities, to megaworlds—

our caves became a hive

of stomping, grinding, grief.


From our breakfast

tables we send priests

into space winking

adieu to Old Earth.

Watching from our holovisions

our children coo “bye bye.”


We pull the offal apart

with our fingers

too rushed to relish the cook.

Live four-knuckled finger

to mouth

cudgel to the brain.

We toast a universal cocktail

of outrageous wealth

for the few and spin the warring

wheel, unending.


Cut another hole

in the Universes’ belt.

Our appetites are immortal

expanding until we separate

the humane from humanity.






Ben Kingsley is best known for his Academy Award winning role as Mahatma Ghandi. This Ben is a touch less famous. He hasn't acted since a third grade debut as the undertaker in Music Man. Currently, he is a Michener Fellow, VONA: Voices of our Nation Scholar, and belongs to the Onondaga Nation of Indigenous Americans in New York. He holds an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Most recently his work has been published in [PANK], Prairie Schooner, and The American Poetry Journal.