Three Poems by Colin Dodds

Chez Jay

The nervous knee of the drunk next to me
makes it seem the great quake is upon us

A damaged man babbles to the tourists at the end of the bar
Australians filter in and out of the seats beside me,
incredible strangers in the airport land,
the valley of immortal cars, Santa Monica

I’m on vacation from trying to be special,
on vacation from vacation
No one asks me to explain myself,
but I spend all night trying nonetheless

Even in California, George Patton
and the tragic municipalities of Massachusetts
pursue me





A Renaissance Bronze at the Getty

Ill-used by illusion, by long weeks
as the creature in my press releases,
or the pornographic sports car my toiletries say I am,

a renaissance bronze, pensive and noble, active and fragile,
interrupts me with the urgency of an injury
and demands a tenderness I’d withdrawn

The frozen flexion of a thigh,
the way an index finger presses
into a puzzled cheek

Stops me, and invites the honest whisper
in my hair-trigger heart, which says
there is a free will inside my free will

The bronze figure wordlessly
urges me to permit
a full existence to my fellow man

And, with all the new people
that all the cheap food and cheap oil have allowed
what a test that has become!

No wonder the oil baron
chose a museum as the penance
for his massive existence





Into the Lightning

Venus haunts the summer before I marry
A bright, untwinkling speck in the empty city sky
Afternoons of library books and liquor
bleed into nights of drunkenness and dreams

The day is calm and clear
The bridge has a baseball player’s name
The sandbar holds its ground
The wind is not only at our faces
We just never notice when it’s at our backs

Despite the jetties, the beach has rearranged
into new crescent inlets and bulging prosceniums
from which we act out the dreams of the ocean

The ocean cannot understand and so must forgive
the naked men standing idly on the beach at sunset,
awaiting a rendezvous, or just wagging their dicks at the horizon

Night empties the beach
My sandy fingers dig through fishguts for more bait,
for an excuse to stay on the beach another hour

With Coney Island fireworks at my back,
clouds flashing over Nassau County to my left
and a gibbous moon before me,
I charge into the glimmering sky and rushing surf
and cast my line into the lightning





Colin Dodds grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education in New York City. He has written several novels, and his poetry has appeared in more than a hundred fifty publications and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His latest is entitled Wisdom's Real Opposite: 101 Poems About an Odyssey on a Stool, available on Amazon. Colin lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Samantha.