Poetry from John Dorroh

Pandemonium in the Pandemic

I woke up speaking Portuguese, wearing

red-hot pajama bottoms with black-and-white

penguins. My bottom lip was puffed up like

I had a Botox injection and I was

bleeding between my toes on my left foot.

The reflection in the mirror showed a palm

tree, a little gray squirrel monkey scurrying

to the top, a miniature machete in his right

paw. There were crows lined up on the

telephone wire across the street where

Mettler Construction raped the beautiful

ridge where my heart used to lie. And my

big dog has another tumor.

You spoke to me in a dream to tell me

that the house was on fire. Get out! You

exclaimed, run for your life. But I couldn’t.

The blood from my toes was filling

up the house, and I needed to swim but didn’t

know how. The toaster was glowing reddish-

orange and three flamingos started pecking

my knees.

There were unexplained abrasions and contusions,

scissors stuck in the fat at the back of my head,

and my car was a John Deere combine, too large

to drive out of the back yard. The dogs had wings

and the cat three black tongues. There was a tornado

heading my way and no place to go, no place to go,

no place to go….

I stopped and prayed: Jesus save me. That’s all I knew

to do. And I woke up inside the vault of a bank,

surrounded by cops who had mouths like pregnant

carp. My stomach harbored a knife wound and there

was a knot the size of a golf ball on the side of my face.

My house was gone except for the foundation, which

looked like a flattened trampoline. I can’t recall having

learned a lesson here so I checked into a local hotel

and took a much-needed nap.


So often you look at me and say hello

as we pass each other, entering or leaving

our building like two strangers who easily

could become

friends. But we don’t. Instead I carry your

sweet smile in my head, take you to Barcelona

where we eat tapas and stay out until the salmon

sun slides up from the horizon where water meets

sky.  Too complicated to remove the plastic

sheet, not sanitary or prudent perhaps to peel

off our skins. We’re just neighbors, right?

We’re on Hiatus, or Abaude with Leaky Roof and Old Yeast

Please don’t ask me questions right now

or knock on the door. We’re staying inside

and not receiving guests. We’re making morning

bread with old yeast that might be too sluggish

to work.

Our roof leaks in this bad weather, and the big

dog has new tumors. Food has no taste.

I wake up in the morning wanting to climb

into my own body and never get up.

I cry at the drop of a hat.

We’re wiping down the kitchen counters

and table with homemade wipes, praying

that light will ooze into the windows while

we’re asleep and the whole thing will have

been nothing more than a seriously bad dream.

My teeth need cleaning but I don’t care.

Why I Quit Sunday School: Virtual Handshake with Peter, Breath like a Camel

An argument ensued about whether Jesus

had an odor, and I asked, “Was He a man?”
And they said yes, of course. And he was

perfect in every way.

But hygiene must have been an issue because

of the heat, and most humans sweat. Did He

bathe everyday? I’ll give you a few minutes

to prove one way or another whether He smelled

like everyone else.

I know you can find some Scripture in

your Bible. You always pull out Scripture

to prove your point, just as attorneys

often do, skewing the data in their favor,

expecting the world to accept their fluff.

So I ask you, Peter, did Jesus have bad breath?

Did he have dandruff and a mild case of eczema?

I say He did, Peter; had a breath like a camel

and toe jam between each and every toe.

But no one will ever know, so why do we spend

valuable time attempting to prove something

that never mattered in the first place? Can I get

an amen? How about a handshake, Peter? It’s

about all we had left.