“Poem of Four Explanations to Poems at Poetry Readings” by Gary Dop

Gary Dop



by one of those ladies
with the red hats and purple shirts
I just wanna say
about this piece
you need to know
that I own 30 cats
and that the river
near my house is called Clementine
and so is my Siamese,
who appears in this poem
as one of my hats.



by Doug, someone’s roommate
until the body-shaving incident
This one is for a lady I called “mother”
in this poem, but my mother’s here tonight,
Hi Mom, so we’ll just say “Mother”
is a lady named Helga
but for the sake of the poem’s integrity
we’ll still say “Mother.” Entitled
“I hate your face.”



by the wide-eyed guy
nobody has ever seen before
Before I got out of prison
me and the guys in my cell
wrote a poem about dancing
that resonates with me
so if we could all stand together
and hold hands and think
of death row—I’ll read
“The last dance of innocent Rico.”



by a lit. major named Shirley
with the dark black hair
This poem totally speaks
For itself so I don’t need to tell you anything
Except in book II of Paradise Lost
When Satan must move through
Hell’s mouth he meets
His wife slash daughter Sin
And son slash Sin’s lover, Death.
Oh, and the color red symbolizes blood.

from Rattle #30, Winter 2008


Gary Dop: “A few weeks back, my three-year-old crawled on my lap and asked me to read her a poem. I said I would if she would write me a poem. She did. It was very good, and although I couldn’t understand it quite as well as she could, we sat there, father and daughter, laughing at a page full of letters. I thought, how good it is to be a poet. Then she spilled her juice on my socks and the new carpet. I cleaned it up, still quite glad to be a poet.” (web)

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