John Dorsey

Trailer Park Song, 1996

for amber

a young girl making men out of boys
& boys out of old men
for 50 bucks a pop
hoping for a few more minutes
of puppy love
in an abandoned trailer

straddling the past
on a shag carpet
with cigarette burns
up & down
her arms.


Trailer Park Song, 1999

maybe there are still christmas lights
on the last night of a tired century
my cousin samantha still too young
to know about the future
riding on my back
as if i’m a horse
in a race with time
that none of us ever win

pockets empty
i search the tv screen
for a red haired girl
dancing under the stars
but nothing feels limitless


John Dorsey lived for several years in Toledo, Ohio. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Teaching the Dead to Sing: The Outlaw’s Prayer (Rose of Sharon Press, 2006), Sodomy is a City in New Jersey (American Mettle Books, 2010), Tombstone Factory, (Epic Rites Press, 2013), Appalachian Frankenstein (GTK Press, 2015) Being the Fire (Tangerine Press, 2016) and Shoot the Messenger (Red Flag Poetry, 2017),Your Daughter’s Country (Blue Horse Press, 2019), Which Way to the River: Selected Poems 2016-2020 (OAC Books, 2020), and Afterlife Karaoke (Crisis Chronicles, 2021). His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry Prize. He was the winner of the 2019 Terri Award given out at the Poetry Rendezvous. He may be reached at