Poetry from J Dorroh

“She’s Not so Pretty Now”


America is all but dead, by God,

a bloated, unrecognizable cadaver,

face down, eyes eaten by fish,

floating in a coffee-colored river,

her stained garment snagged on the bank.


The coroner needs a bit of assistance

in rolling her over for identification

but no one volunteers – not the recipients

who used her for a Sugar Mama, nor the

politicians who stole her image in the name

of family values.


The immigrants touched her filthy dress,

trading eminent death for one fresh breath

in the greatest country on the planet. But they

too were cheated out of new directions

because one among them also wore a dirty shroud.


“Baby Corn”


I hate you, baby corn. I genuinely do.

You make me ill as you look up

from your plate of steaming food –

Eight Happiness Shrimp and Vegetables, Family for Four Special.

I detest how you pretend to be something you’re not,

something lovely, tasty, desireable.

The nerve of you becoming a hybridized bastard baby corn!

How you lie there with a smirk on your little face,

the rows of teeny niblets lined up, so small that it takes

a magnifying glass to see them.


I hate you baby corn.

You taste like dirt and you are selfish and pretentious,

lying on your baby back hobnobbing with the delectable

pink shrimp who, by the way, have earned their degree

in Taste of Distinction over hundreds maybe thousands of years.

You have no platform, no lineage, no backbone.

You’re overpriced and live a crowded life like sardines in a can

or tenants in subsidized housing.

Tell me why you believe that people cannot have stir fry

without your malnourished ears up in their faces.

I refuse to eat you, baby corn, so get the hell off of my plate,

or I will tell the chef what a pain in the ass you’ve become.

You are a disgusting wanna be, a has-been, a loser.

Let me present you with a proposal: the next time I see you out in public

I plan to kick your baby corn ass all the way back to the lab

from whence you came. You’ll be sorry that you were ever




“Out to Pasture”


Some day the shepherd will lead you

into a new pasture and pat you

on the head: Oh, my dear precious one,

your legs can’t handle the climb any longer

so you must stay where the ground is flat.

It’s for your own safety.


You will feel like so much sheep shit

but soon you will resign yourself to the concept

that you can create cool sweaters and socks

with all of the wool that falls off of the mountains.




I want to pet my science …and feed it

not let it lie unused on the side of the road.

I need to bring it home and comb out the kinks.

I want my science to ask me questions

that I cannot answer and to beat me to the punch.

I want my experiments concerning the rate

at which soap bars dissolve in the shower to go down

in the collected archives rather than the drain.

I want my science to shout out to the world that happenstance

and serendipity are not legitimate explanations

of natural phenomena; that it would be a calamity for all

of our work to get sucked counterclockwise

into some political abyss with no more than a shrug.



“Doctor in a Glass Box”



A doctor in a glass cage, boxed in, unable to save his own life

let alone mine. I knew better than to kick in the walls with my


foot, protected by a boot and a bunion, calloused, calcified,

hard to the touch like the blunt end of an igneous rock, yet


I needed to see my test results, clasped tightly on his clipboard,

as in the jaws of a shark. Let me out, let me in. A running start


from the big black oak, gaining speed like a hot pink rocket,

the thrust of a calf through the wet air of bad dreams, into


the corner of the glass, which shattered and spewed into the air

like an expensive firework display from a town who has money


to blow: red, white, blue, gold like an ingot, green shards falling

from the air onto my head, protecting eyes and face from eminent


danger. He patted me gently on the shoulder and asked if someone

could drive me home. “Is it bad, doc?” “You’re gonna have a baby.”