Poetry: 'Eating Fried Chicken with Ballerina's in Central Park' & More!

Eating Fried Chicken with Ballerinas in Central Park

Sitting in the west side of Central Park,

three ballerinas force-feeding me fried chicken.

I take a leg for good measure.

There’s a six-pack of thighs and no one

is eating the solitary breast. Perhaps it’s just way

too much cluck.

There are sides and hyped-up mineral water

and those big fat dill pickles that they used to sell

at the movies.

They are like silly school girls with serious

dispositions. How and why they picked me I’ll

never understand.

The hot dog vendor parks his cart

next to the big pink boulder that doesn’t belong.

I see six round eyes.

Basement as Stepping Stone

My bones sink to the bottom of this vessel,

this house, its musty basement, its claw foot tubs

and outdated plumbing. I fall headfirst into the bowels

of slab concrete, passing jars of green beans and pickled

asparagus, stewed tomatoes and cobwebs draped over

everything and anything. There is no light down here

and isn’t that the point?

I search for what I can find: the old yellowed recipes

that my mom left in a shoe box – lemon ice box pie,

King Ranch casserole, Watergate Salad; photographs,

tattered and curled, lending evidence that we

lived in another time, in another life in other peoples’

bodies; that we, like seeds, planted in humus and

decaying sphagnum moss, sprouted in another country;

developed wings and flew away from there to here

and back again.

Rock and pebble; boulder, pink and solid, misplaced

in an underground palace, its caves and depots for traveling

insects: fat rolly-pollies and tar-black dung beetles, silverfish

and grub and larvae whose segmented bodies suck in

moisture like a sponge; worms and wigglers and tiny

tan eggs that lie in crypt-like states, their futures unknown.

There is an understated purple silence in the ground.

My blood bubbles if I go too deep, lifting me up,

my head surfacing like a fleshy periscope, reminding me that

the basement is just one of many places that I must visit to keep

me balanced with what lies above.

John Dorroh (Twitter: @DorrohJohn) remains optimistic about the ability of words and music and art to uphold us in such messy times. He writes and reads poetry to help explain his place in the world. Whether he taught high school science for a few decades is still being discussed. His poetry has appeared in journals such as Feral, North Dakota Quarterly, Selcouth Station, Red Dirt Forum/Press, and Os Pressan