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 Colin Dodds


(Spill-O, Restructured Away)



After a half-successful impersonation
Spill-O slumps on the National Arts Club
steps beside a locked park glared at
by small dogs with better prospects

Vinegar-veined he mouths sour oaths of wrath
as his older ill-starred self stalks the park’s gate
too fast for his diabetic dimensions accusing
all who belong there of cowardice

Morning brings supplication forms and questionnaires
until Spill-O’s name degenerates to gibberish
Afternoon finds him a bull applying at china shops
thumbing numbly through waiting-room copies
of This Week in Humility and This Week in Humiliation

Afternoon finds him lying to hiring managers
I have cultivated a powerful empathy
for the monsters of the age, and explaining
I didn’t make the world
Careful to omit that the world
didn’t entirely make him

And angrily demanding a reason
why the international telecommunications company
is not a caring human being, he learns
what he should’ve known all along

In the early evening, men now calm with age
buy Spill-O dinner and assure him
that all his labor has been in service to a mirage

Empty weeks exacerbate the undertow
and summer becomes pregnant with possibility
the way a thirteen-year-old girl smoking cigarettes
outside a gas station at midnight
is pregnant

(A Librarian Rescues Spill-O)



Taking Spill-O’s forearm in dry hands
she strokes it until the skin flutters harmlessly apart
like the underside of a mushroom cap

Folds unfold to reveal pages
containing everything
he’d withheld from the world

She does
what he’d want her to do
with those words

(Spill-O’s Date in the Discount Nightmare District)



If love was behind the events
it was an unemployable love
Spill-O and his date, herself another
huge disaster in the eyes of God
snorting nutrasweet off a fiberglass seat
drowsy robots drifting among
uninspired reproductive schemes
cheating up the debt-deep giddy guts
of their most cherished illusions of sex
only to find the prices’d doubled
Crestfallen he whispered cancer heart disease
all the cuntish pretenses of mortality
just to cross her thresholds
With snubnosed laughter they stripped
to the resplendent disgrace of their innermost selves
and fucked until no one involved was human
dirty firecracker carcasses and yellow-gel bug guts
clumpy maroon spittle and insults
they lacked the character to mean
On the room-filling mattress
awash in smells like sins—dirty things
only people could make—Spill-O deciphered
a face from the ceiling’s ripe bruises
And it was the wrong face

(Spill-O Climbs the Buddha)



Every surface agonizing
Cobbles jagged tiles shattered
sidewalk battered planks ragged
he climbed the humming brazen curve

Only later clambering back down
did the seated statue come into view

Putting feet to pavement
Spill-O encountered everyone he knew
leaving an ancient theater teary-eyed
from an overpowering performance
he’d missed

About the Author:

Colin Dodds grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education in New York City. He’s the author of several novels, including WINDFALL and The Last Bad Job, which the late Norman Mailer touted as showing “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.”