by Colin Dodds
The world is overfull of every single thing,
but even the ghosts go hungry
An alien said a bigger mystery does involve us
But it only came to earth because we had the best drugs,
because our food dissolves us
The couch digested what it swallowed
The astronaut jumped the ledge, and a car alarm followed
We skinned the alien, and it was hollow
The sleepwalker and the streetwalker met that night
He was an iron joke
And she was a baby made of cigarette smoke
Money and semen sliding down her face
was the new broadcast for the tears of the race
The satellites winced, the stars shrank from us
as if they witnessed incest and little else
The alien’s ragged corpse chortled at our ideas
of murder, of crime and told us
The crime wasn’t the crime
Sentience was the crime
And sentience is the sentence
It was back to the almighty gimmick for us
Even repentance would be a gimmick from then on
Sometimes it’s easier to say what you really mean
if you really mean it.
Everyone could use another friend.
Even the ocean has a floor.
What reality is,
when it really is something,
is a knife in my back.
There’s this special moment
between when you discover
there’s a knife stuck in your back
and when you discover
you can’t remove it.
I miss that moment
It begins in disappointment and uneasiness,
because the Kingdom of God
is very unlike what you expected.
Richard Nixon said to me
“I was king of the earth and more.”
A map of America including the moon
covered the linoleum floor.
A Parthenon peeked through the vents
in the soundproof tiles.
The armies of heaven are never ready.
The armies of hell
always fall to cannibalism.
There was never
any such thing
as a noble race.
In winter, I heard music
coming from every building,
muffled by the red bricks.
Nirvana’s a cruel pricktease like that.
The town fathers gutted the temple,
the one that worked too well.
Their children restored it,
polished the adamantine pews and ceiling joists.
But all they could make of it
was a too-pious tourist trap.
In the half-refurbished Temple of the Great Revealer,
you can see the kids of the rich kids meditating.
I say they should watch
their fucking step.
Reality may feel
very far away.
But madness always starts
with a shortcut.
They call it freedom,
but look at what they do with it.
The housing developments and advertisements,
the pills and the pornography
all add up to a half-sprung ambush.
All the creations of man
from the crassest to most subtle
form a nested doll of traps.
Each promises freedom
and delivers another disingenuous promise.
“You think you’re doing what you want to do,
that you’re happy with your wine bottles,
guitars and purported genius. But you’re not.
It’s a lot of bullshit,” a co-worker told me
before getting on the commuter train.
The baroqueness of city life
wears me down so I can’t say why.
In the concert hall, I strain,
struggle and bullshit,
just to get at my own experience.
But I only get in my own way.
If you want to find heaven,
find the actions and the words
for which no man has made a receptacle.
Assume that what you desire most
may not have been considered yet.
Colin Dodds grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education at The New School in New York City. Norman Mailer wrote that Dodds’ novel The Last Bad Job showed “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” Dodds’ novels What Smiled at Him and Another Broken Wizard have been widely acclaimed by critics and readers alike. His screenplay, Refreshment – A Tragedy, was named a semi-finalist in 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. Two books of Dodds’ poetry—The Last Man on the Moon and The Blue Blueprint—are available from Medium Rare Publishing. Dodds’ writing has also appeared in a number of periodicals, including The Wall Street Journal Online, Folio, Explosion-Proof, Block Magazine, The Architect’s Newspaper, The Main Street Rag, The Reno News & Review and Lungfull! Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Samantha.
photo by Kristi Harms