John Dorsey: Three Poems

Tough Love

a week after his wife’s death
crazy mark & i sit on his porch
smoking a joint
in the middle of the afternoon
when he tells me that his niece
mailed him a pocket pussy
from an adult bookstore in arkansas

he tells me at first
that he couldn’t figure out
how the damn thing even worked
& that it was barely big enough
to fit a pencil down there.


Cool like Whip 

the first time i ever saw a retarded person
was at the old greengate mall
where years later my brother and i
would drink cheap red wine
on the hill as we watched the cars go by
to busier destinations

terry was in his mid 40’s then
his mother would drop him off every morning
placing a crisp $20 bill in his hand
telling him not to lose it every time
reminding him to she’d be there to pick him up
right before they were about to close

he would offer everyone a hug
& a high five
with a smile on his face

there wasn’t a security guard or
a food court worker
who he wasn’t on a first name basis with

his money spent on glitter covered sunglasses
& backwards baseball caps
bermuda shorts
& giant foam fingers
for local sports teams

if you asked how he was
he’d say cool like whip
& laugh until he was blue in the face
just in case you didn’t get the joke

when i heard that his mother died
i wondered who would be there
to pick him up that night

i wondered if there were tears
behind his sunglasses after that
& when someone asked him how he was
i wondered if he said anything at all.


Punk Rock at 45

when i look at your life now
i think nancy spungen got off easy
breast cancer at 45
you have be a fighter
to sleep in the streets
with your broken heart
just dangling there
like a locket made of bones

i remember you at 30
& sad

talking about your family
as we drove to 7-eleven
to get hotdogs on christmas eve

how it all came flooding back
your father threatening to drive
the whole family off a bridge
into icy cold arkansas river water
on christmas morning

or the near rape
by a family friend
at fourteen

or the countless bad relationships
that became your anthem
as much as nick cave
or the murder city devils
ever were

your lungs filled up with silence

as the night sky balled up
into a fist
& hurled your childhood
into the past.


(Author photo by Casey Rearick)

What are you looking for?