John Dorsey

Our Tumbleweeds Are Made Out of Bones


& this pandemic is like the dust bowl
if anything happens to my mother
i’ll swallow a bottle of pills 
with some ice cold root beer
because when i was a boy
she painted both of our faces
to look like characters
from the wizard of oz
in a kitchen with threadbare cabinets

because my friend jessica once said
you were hugged a lot weren’t you

because i was

because memories
dance by in the wind
& i want to follow them
wherever they’re going.






Trailer Park Song, 1983


my parents fight over whether to spend
their last $2 on gas or milk
a fight song where nobody wins

& snow piles up outside
as i watch bugs bunny
on our black & white tv
record player sitting in the corner

& now i think about how
the needle looked like a bone
threading the sun’s weathered patches

about how my mother would hang
our winter clothes out on the line

& how when they moved their lips
a scream could become a song
loud enough to stop the wind
in its tracks.




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), and Which Way to the River: Selected Poems 2016-2020 (OAC Books, 2020). His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry Prize. He was the winner of the 2019 Terri Award given out at the Poetry Rendezvous. He may be reached at archerevans@yahoo.com.

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