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
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and outdated plumbing.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