Jon Bennett

Darragh’s Nervous Breakdown

Darragh parked in the shadow
of the 76 on Hwy 88
they had locked their toilet during Covid
and a year before
he’d taken a dump in the parking lot
not out of spite
he just had to go
This was his route –
West Texas to Oroville
Oroville to Redding
Redding to Oregon
Card rooms were the only place
he could still make a living
and not much of one
He leaned back in the seat
of his rented Chevy Cruze
closed his eyes
20 yrs up and down
The station owner, a Sikh, came out
to have a look at him
Darragh opened his eyes
closed them
Goddamn it
A Black man, how he ended up
named Darragh
was another one of his
Catholic mother’s odd ideas
and out here it offered little protection
The man went back inside
as Darragh reflected
on big scores and bigger losses
fishing for bait
when he should be eating it
shit rooms and whores
cigarettes and exhaustion
it was all before him
like a molten sun
or the sunnyside up egg
at one more shit Denny’s
in the middle
of nowhere.


Jon Bennett writes and plays music in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. You can find more of his work at or by searching for “Jon Bennett” on most music streaming websites.