Three Poems by JT O’Dochartaigh


Santa Ana’s Wind

Swift Legs Mojave won in flagrante delicto
slow dancing in Santa Ana’s arms
and they blew hot toward forgetfulness
down the 10 passed San Berdooni‘s charms
where her old red stolen wreck’s engine
and his shiny black convertible top
finally caught fire in a two-star pile-up
in a motel parking lot late night stop

he had her and she had him
while they slept off a naked tonic and gin
celebrating a Vegas win on a moon cool Autumn night
Ana’s old hot wind started blowing again
through his mother’s garage in Hacienda Heights

old mom threw some gas on the flame with
her Jesus jive over ice cold beer and they
booked into Hollywood with hell
freezing over and a dream in gear of finding
their fame engraved in a big bronze star
under some dirty feet and old chewed gum
burning up tombstone boulevard

Asylum Ship

just a small round of glass where eye and ear
look through to test my courage of conviction
just a line where color disappears into white
clouds of quilted material surrounding
my loose cotton garment tied behind comfortably
preventing a notion of fastenings and
always sliding upward showing forbidden parts
and where I’ve tried to excise the devils
inserted by governments who want to make me
give up my secrets and their minions who
every hour force poisons into my system and
never believe I am really who I am before
they printed false documents saying who I
wasn’t and adopted to those people
who tore parts of my mind away to give to
aliens who came from Sirius in that ship
made of organs and nerves and slime and
never told me what they wanted before
pushing that metal stick through my heart
at three minutes before every hour and
four minutes before every hour the eyes and ears
look through that small round of glass
in the door of their space ship where everything
is white and everything is white and
everything makes me wonder what they want


Ashes of Romolo

you may find him
if you care to look
under some ashes
of mt. Pinatubo
still holding his
bright toy raygun
immortalized there
with others perhaps
as innocent and
maybe so dreamlike
as he became
there is no telling
because I cannot know
if from his dust
of beginning
and the distance
from now till then
he creatured himself
as part of my realtá
or merely moved
those dramatic
illusory curtains
to exact vengeance
on my life
of misforgiveness


JT O’Dochartaigh is a native Californian and winner of the 2012 Jack Kerouac prize. Under a kind of subtle sibling pressure, he has been writing in some form since the age of eight. Perhaps his earliest poetic influences were William Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling and whoever wrote Thanatopsis. His first poem was about being ambidextrous.

Guest Editor:

Phillip Larrea is the author of We the People (Cold River Press) and Our Patch (Writing Knights Press). Since 2011, his poems have appeared in over 60 journals, anthologies and magazines in the U.S., Ireland, Canada and Asia. He is the winner of the 2013 New Frontier Prize for poetry.



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