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Colin Dodds

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(Spill-O's Career of Telling Lies about the River)

Plots elude Spill-O,
especially his own.

Homer was a rich script writer,
a guy whose novels lined the racks
of all the Peloponnesian pharmacies
and Olympian airports.

Spill-O was the other guy,
the drunk who made a lot of sense at the time,
whose name everyone forgets.

He's leaning on his third liver
and telling lies about the river.

Spill-O spent his youth playing the lottery.
He plays it still, talking bright nonsense,
trying to lodge his name
in the dusty night sky of a bookshelf.

His audience is deaf and dumb.
They are just jostling ghosts.
But they are so hungry.

(Spill-O's Career of Voicemail and Ramen Noodles)

Worse than his neighbors,
shitfaced and shaky,
Spill-O gave himself 2nd degree burns
making ramen noodles—
insult and injury in one deft motion.

His job is straightforward,
where his life is not.

Money or women or what people say
will turn on you in a fucking second.
What's important is the work,

goes Spill-O's prayer to ward off doubt.

The oracle left a him a phone message.
He thought for a moment he had a destiny.
But listening through the hissing,
he learned he barely had a future.

Desperate men like him
are drunken phonecalls to creation.

What men like Spill-O say
says less than what they are
in discerning the world's weird intentions.

(Spill-O's Career of Misinterpreting Heaven)

Spill-O rejected the song of the wind in the woods
and demanded lyrics.
He finally heard the words murmuring out of a urinal,
after losing many years.

He was built mad enough
to misinterpret heaven
and fill hell with unrelenting song.

Hallucinating industriously, speaking quickly,
hiding his apocalyptic complaint
from the deadening chorus
that says there is nothing wrong at all,
he gets the words out before that sun rises.

Spill-O dug in his heels
against the pull of mortality,
just long enough to throw a punch at life.

(Spill-O's Career of Crying 'Pig!')

There was a pantheon, but he wasn't invited.
He used to plot the castration
of the four-o'clock sun.

But Spill-O's dimensions
have been determined,
and he is no giant, it turns out.

Now it's his heart that moves,
his mouth just handles the details.
He wanted to sell his soul,
but no one would pay retail.

Spill-O can't lie to you, he is beat.
His wildest imagination
looks just like a street.

He believes it's the truth he's telling.
But he's just the pig who cried pig.

Spill-O's dreams are just echoes
of the day before.
And He's dreadfully sure
that he can take a lot more.

(Spill-O's Career of Failing)

The occult rumblings, ramblings
beyond the family swamp called Spill-O forth,
to rock-and-roll disappointments.
Now, it is the proverbial rainy day.

Truth be told,
it was a bad time
for him to come around.

The tide had turned
and was no longer so much a tide
as it was hot, honking fields of traffic.
Everything had to be measured.
Every expense had to be justified.

Crowded out of his birthright,
Spill-O still works.
But poetry, or anything like it,
leaves very little margin for success.

His abilities devoted
to an uncertain and contradictory end,
his work consists of failure, mostly.
And Spill-O lives in funny moods.

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