poem for christian o’keeffe and other poems

by John Dorsey


poem for christian o’ keeffe

the sky is red
a sea of blood
the skin of stars
embarrassed that
we never met

still, i look for you
between railroad spikes
picking dandelions
with john henry
or jim carroll
in a race

finding only dented pennies
gravel fallen loose
from under the fingernails
of dead brakemen

no words
no more poems
scattered across the earth

no song
no whistle

the train has left the station
and there’s no
turning back.


started drinking
in a crisp navy uniform
in the era of wall street
& ronald reagan
on beaches in california

waking up in toledo
in an altar of ashtrays
& month old pizza boxes

he worked thirds at the jeep plant
shooting photos of goth girls, furries
& weirdos who lived for the weekend

knights in white satin
& s&m bondage gear

he was their king
their bloated elvis
in disgraceland

trading portfolios
of runway rejects
for coffee, cheeseburgers
& a little taste
of the nicotine death machine

he just got drunk
complaining about how
he hadn’t had sex since 1994

& how he was just going
through the motions
waiting for love
& death
to stop
beating him
over the head
like a good

Kid Brundage
once played the cello with yo-yo ma
on the streets of boston
in the gutters of toledo
where they still remember him

beaten to death
for a used bicycle
across the street
from where he once took flight
graduating this life
making beautiful music
drunk with compassion
changing a bulb
to replace
                           the moonlight.


* * * * * * * * * * * * *

John Dorsey is the author of several collections of poetry, including “Teaching the Dead to Sing: The Outlaw’s Prayer” (Rose of Sharon Press, 2006), “Sodomy is a City in New Jersey” (American Mettle Books, 2010), “Tombstone Factory” (Epic Rites Press, 2013), and most recently, “Natural Selection: Early Poems” (Kilmog Press, 2014). His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He may be reached at archerevans@yahoo.com

* * * * * * * * * * * * *


art by Kreso Cavlovic