Al Ortolani


You can pretend like
you are Eliot Ness
ripping the river
with machine gun spray.
All the bad guys in the world
are holding their breath
under water,
waiting in the hope that
you will run out of ammo
before they run out of air.
However, as Eliot Ness,
it’s not going to happen.
You have been pissing
from bridges
since time began,
and the bad guys, even
though they dive deeply
are eventually swept
to the surface. It helps
if you’re young, stung
with vinegar, untouched
by the shy bladder.

AL ORTOLANI IS A TEACHER FROM Kansas. His writing has appeared in a number of periodicals, across the United States: New Letters, New York Quarterly, The English Journal, The Midwest Quarterly and others. He has two books of poetry, The Last Hippie of Camp 50 and Finding the Edge, published by Woodley Press at Washburn University. His third book, Wren's House, was recently released from Coal City Review Press in Lawrence, Kansas. He is a recent Pushcart Prize Nominee and an editor with The Little Balkans Review.



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