Poetry: Selections from John Dorsey

Black Snake Moan
(for jason ryberg)
on a hot summer day
your heart becomes a 7 ft black snake
that you drag
a mile up
winding country road
in a world
where the element of surprise
is nearly gone
your past steps out from behind a tree
a little boy in a kansas field
with dirt smudges on his face appears
wild & free
his smile
nearly swallowing
both of us

What You Thought was Steely Dan

was just an army of cicadas
rising from the dead
straight out of your high school yearbook
full of fast girls with toothy grins
your hair slicked back
its virtues parted down the center
of the red sea of the south
as bluebirds of wisdom flew away.

Conjuring GG Allin from Beyond the Grave
(for john clayton)
if gg allin googled himself
he wouldn’t like what he found either
overdose doesn’t rhyme with anything
suicide is a beautiful rose
planted in broken glass
that the young always remember.

John Dorsey lived for several years in Toledo, Ohio. He 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), Appalachian Frankenstein (GTK Press, 2015) Being the Fire(Tangerine Press, 2016) and Shoot the Messenger (Red Flag Poetry, 2017), Your Daughter's Country (Blue Horse Press, 2019), Which Way to the River: Selected Poems 2016-2020 (OAC Books, 2020), Afterlife Karaoke (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2021) and Sundown at the Redneck Carnival, (Spartan Press, 2022). His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, the Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry Prize, and he is the winner of the 2019 Terri Award given out at the Poetry Rendezvous.