Daniel T. O’Brien


We are all being good Marxists: our childhood dogs raw-red against the pot-holed pavement, barking. O, my little dogs. Yearning for a less ugly mess to be born in. Who are they, corrupting the minds of our youth? With the taste of their lips, I’m on my way…Word comes. Words come. Someone is guilty of. Declarations are made by The Estate. HOA. 401K. The adults are children trapped inside Big Bodies. They don’t want to be free. Free Britney. RIP Whitney. All the empty drawers of salvation, these green Eden gardens grown along freeways, and on rooftops. We shoop-shoop. We free willy. Too much trick in the system. Too much Christian. The end of democracy cried out Socrates. Dear power-wealth-welding: try this Hemlock Cocktail at the May Day parade. We shine jewelry with cyanide. A silver sliver of risk. Tisk, tisk, I’m choking my Daddy at the Standard Hotel. I bite the chain of fools. Change exchanges hands. Who isn't hiding from whom? Reproductive futurism. Deep sleep and a daydream. Lil Nas X sending me, happily, to my little hell in a hand-basket. O, skeleton book of lewks. O queer apothecary, elix me a mixy, man-killing matriarchy to smoke with, this cigarette. O, Julie Newmar. O, Miss Sissy. O, every inch of Hollywood’s poison pen with which we could never write a better future. I’m bussy, unfinishing. Venom-soaked, I’m glistening. If I’m toxic, I’m rocket, shoot my ass to the moon.


I’m worried about the

sluts on the internet,

not because they are

sluts and not because

they are on the

internet but because

the sluts on the

internet are tweeting

while slutting,

theoretically, off the

internet, so really still

on the internet while

slutting, and I just

worry, ya know, that

when Johnny is

getting eaten out and

tweeting that he is

getting eaten out that

he isn’t really getting

eaten out and then I

worry that when I am

on the internet and not

getting eaten out that I

will never get eaten

out and then I realize

maybe nobody is

getting eaten out

because we are all on

the internet and

nothing that happens

on the internet is real.


I'll never waste my dreams by falling asleep.


Anarchic tonsil opera

the dangling world I

choose to kill time in

-side (help!) sweet high

restroom animal queer

mouth mosaic strange

and revolting familiarity

the internet Corn Flakes

coin-operated condom

machine the crucifixion

this obscure leisure three

rusty nails and a daydream

O, mouthy rhinoceros

maybe I got carried away

Electric daydreams

queer coin-operated

rhinoceros stuck in place

like me the only real

animal mouth eating

the world I choose to

kill time inside strange

condom opera obscure

internet machine (help!)

maybe I got carried away

anarchic cartoon Jesus

dangling sweetness orange

politicians the revolting

familiarity of Corn Flakes

Maybe I got carried away

helpless queer animal

endowed with time the in

-ternet revolting leisure I

recognize the rhinoceros

we’re not going to stand

for it only information is

real politicians exaggerate

the crucifixion with revolt

-ing accuracy (help!) Jesus

knows the world I would

live in strange cartoons wild

oranges electric daydreams

The revolting familiarity

of Corn Flakes operatic

leisure sweet cartoon

mouth I’d like to kill

time inside anarchic

daydream dangling

world only the politicians

are real (help!) we’re not

going to stand for it three

rusty nails and a crucifix

machine strange queer

Jesus helpless rhinoceros

internet endowed with stars

Daniel T. O’Brien is a maker-of-things living on Lekawe and Munsee Lenape land (Queens, NY). His writing has appeared in American Literary Review, Boston Review, DIAGRAM, Kenyon Review, Prelude, VINYL, and other venues. He was the editor of a limited-release poetry anthology Poems of Resistance, Poems of Hope (2020), distributed exclusively for independent bookstores throughout the US.