Dorothy Dodge

older men

girls get hot for the pretty boys,
bronzed Apollos, chiseled Davids
glowering like James Dean or
sneering like Elvis
in the Macys ads.
they will never sell me anything.
I like the well-aged men,
the ones with frayed edges,
strings attached,
disheveled and worn,
worn-out or on the way,
hair growing everywhere.
I like their used edges,
dulled gleam and
softened shoulders,
grey mixed with brown.
I like to see the skin of the skull,
the creased cheek,
hands hard from touching.
a man’s voice roughened by
smoke and alcohol
makes me listen.
they rise heavily out of their lives and
into mine
like breaching whales,
crusted with cares like barnacles,
spilling spermaceti and ambergris,
scented oil whose low flame draws me
like a moth.

**This poem was originally published in The Pearl Issue #12 in 1994. It is being published here with permission from the editor, David Beaudouin.


conjuring acts

you enter me through my eyes.
I look at you and
drink you in through these
round doors,
dark and open,
down through the fast passages of
my heart,
twisting the ghost inside,
the tearing pang
in my belly, the
close channel,
and though you will never love me,
you enter me.

you come to me
like a sudden remembered fragrance,
the second echo,
like a man’s wet fantasy,
the unexpected, unprovoked hardness,
a spilled dream,
like a woman’s quickened breath
at the edge of waking.



when Richard was thirteen
he went into the boys room at
lunchtime and held his good
friend’s white cock gently in
both hands.
later, when Father Simon asked him
into his study to talk about literature
and the church, they ended up talking
about theater, about New York, and
discovered mutual ambitions
and desires.
Richard and Father Simon met
in this way twice a week. Richard
brought his favorite albums,
Father Simon opened up the
liquor cabinet and they would
touch each other
and sing.
when Richard moved to the west coast
Father Simon wrote him letters
in his angular hand,
sent bottles of cognac in the mail
and begged Richard to come east
for a visit. He would spend long hours
in the garden, sitting among the
roses and lilies, and when Richard
did not come, he sought out the flowers
that gave him pleasure,
pulled the blossoms from the stems
and laid them open,
flattening the petals one by one,
pressing them between the pages
of the choirboys’ books.

© Dorothy Dodge

Dorothy Dodge has lived in the Baltimore area most of her life, and has a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She became involved in the poetry community in the 1990’s and has read in many local venues. Her work has been published in the Maryland Poetry Review, The Pearl, Dancing Shadow Review, and elsewhere, and was a nominee for the Artscape poetry award. She currently hosts a monthly poetry salon and is devoting more of her time to studio art.

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