Poetry: DJ Dolack


On a notion of farms; in
the pines.

In medias res, in dictum;
on the battlefield where the

local and express trains

In the pines.
In the airbag talcum;

among the phrasals.

Did you want
to jar it, can it

in the late season and hope
it discovers

a love for enclosure?

Develops a sense of taste
over time?

That song
in your head again.

And time is what
brings you back

into the passenger seat after school,
afraid to sing along

to the lyric about death
because you had recently

attended some severe funerals.
And you didn’t want to offend,

and so developed your sense
for empathy, for couth.

What happens
when that shit

walks into a bar.
In the fucking pines.

On sabbatical; in the
list of ingredients
of this pantry.

In the crowd up front swaying
now uncontrollably.

People are no good.

Even as a child I had the feeling.
My grandfather tossing

a fresh nail gun cartridge
into the fire. Even then

I knew I wasn’t ready.

I write about childhood quite a bit — mostly to discover how the present has betrayed the promises of youth. Or how maybe sometimes the fulfillment of those promises has been cloaked in disenchantment. This poem is very dear to me and I will never forget the night I wrote it. I was at work, almost alone, sitting very still in an impossibly quiet room, trying to impart the mood of one of those days in deep winter when it gets dark at four o’clock in the afternoon.  When I thought it was finished, I recorded myself reading it at a borderline whisper and listened to it in my headphones repeatedly on the trek home.

DolackDJ Dolack is the author of Whittling a New Face in the Dark (Black Ocean, 2013). His video reviews and Tourist Trap, NYC series can be found at Coldfront Magazine. He teaches writing at Baruch College and lives in Jackson Heights, Queens.