“And They Will Droop In Lawn Chairs” by David Ohlsen

I’m a dog without a day-
a Yank on the 4th of July going over typos
in 250 years of newspapers
with a smoggy magnifying glass
and a far away, tearing guilt
like I have love children & shallow graves
stashed around the hemispheres
like my party is again haunted by poor taste

All holidays are built to jar
The truths of their origins prove life
as intelligent as it is wild
while their lies sink our fears deeper
with every repressed shred of

Tonight I will feast like an American
on relished links of mystery meat
My family will send me down to the corner
sparking can fireworks shack
with one hundred pooled dollars
with crumbled twenties, old tens, singles and fives
and they will droop in lawn chairs
aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws
stuck between the definitions of ‘nice’ and ‘malaise’
gulping in shallow awe
at the top of the driveway
while I light fuses at the bottom

I like to get as close to the white & purple fountains
as they’ll let me
I like to stare into that hissing, blinding flash
get lost
and think nothing

And as I drive home through smoke filled streets
the suburbs will scream, crackle & explode
like bird call gunshots
like celebrating pterodactyl

David Ohlsen

Visit his Blog – The Outlet

© 2011


  1. lkthayer · September 2, 2011

    “I’m a dog without a day” love it…David you have a unique & original voice, wonderful powers of observation & detail! Thanks so much for reviewing Jack Grapes Beyond Baroque reading…great article! You always have a home here at The Juice Bar, a pleasure to squeeze you! – Lisa 🙂

  2. Alexis Rhone Fancher · September 2, 2011

    Oooh! I do like this poem! So evocative! I see those family members drooping in their lawn chairs. Great imagery throughout. Terrific!

  3. Adesh Kaur · September 3, 2011

    oooooo, wow! now that’s a poem worth studying. my head is reeling. “All holidays are built to jar.” and “Tonight I will feast like an American on relished links of mystery meat.” and more… you rock it, david. the real deal.

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