Father in the Celtic Refuge by Colin Dodds

Back at O’Shantessey’s

between Betsny Oblivihan and George Papagotcha

on the cusp of another cusp

Bad advice from the immortals

make the bar louder than everyone who stayed in


All aloud and allowed—the silver cord, the silver screen

the never-seen mercy of tow trucks and the battered firefighter jacket

behind reliquary glass on Fourth Avenue with a name flap

that reads RICHES as you pass, wondering whence my fortune?


Old men sift the bars for their younger selves

with a message lost to the incredible architecture

of every excuse for shortfallen personal integrity

or personal anything, really


Men’s room ventriloquists change the words of songs

Strangers with names like the sound

of a copper pipe striking a bag of sand

steal the dew from your money

Drink specials cold corned beef pizza

and soup of the dog that bit you at The Dethroned Father

where young men learn what these drinks taste like

first thing in the morning


A scaffolding of misconcepshahans

over the True Face—open conflict

on the number of billiard balls and the street value

of all the harps in heaven

Darts league at The Disoriented King

Cigarettes and crossword puzzles to shield you

from the cross words of strangers


The Celtic Refuge is warm

a thing had but not paid for

a familiar forgetfulness that the stars

lurch not for you, but for your undoing




Colin Dodds is a writer with several novels and books of poetry to his name. He grew up in Massachusetts and lived in California briefly, before finishing his education in New York City. Since then, he’s made his living as a journalist, editor, copywriter and video producer. Over the last seven years, his writing has appeared in more than three hundred publications, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net Anthology, and praised by luminaries including David Berman and Norman Mailer. Colin also writes screenplays, has directed a short film, and built a twelve-foot-high pyramid out of PVC pipe, plywood and zip ties. One time, he rode his bicycle a hundred miles in a day. He lives in New York City, with his wife and daughter. You can find more of his work at thecolindodds.com.