Poets Read: Toti O’Brien

We are pleased to offer our Poets Read series in honor of National Poetry Month 2019 and will run it throughout the month of April. 

Every day in April, our website and our YouTube channel will feature the voice of a poet whose work has appeared in our pages over the past year. On Sundays, we will offer two poets for your enjoyment. 

Today’s poem is Slashed by Toti O’Brien and it appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review.

by Toti O’Brien

The horizon spread left to right, quick
a thick line, and dark
like a sentence typed on a defective machine
wildly sputtering ink
like listels hemming obituaries
on newspapers
singling them out in sadness
like the mourning bands 
men pinned around their sleeves
over regular clothes.

Scissoring the ashen sky, the horizon 
split the lone tree imprudently erect 
on the left, naïf, dreamy
perhaps absentminded. Snap. 
Beheaded without the time of a sigh.
A belt whipping sideways
slashed the crown, now suspended
aerial, an ill-designed cloud
scrambled bunch of twisted squiggles 
penned by a too nervous hand.

Underneath, the trunk hasn’t wavered.
It stays perfectly upright. Maimed, it ends 
in flat nothingness, bared, exposed, mortified.
Its roots till the soil, fingers 
playing an underground keyboard
drilling a tune no one hears but 
the subterranean dwellers, moles
worms, insects, some deaf, irresponsive
some intent at their duties
dull, eternal, unsound.

Toti O’Brien

About the Poet: Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. She was born in Rome then moved to Los Angeles, where she makes a living as a self-employed artist, performing musician and professional dancer. Her work has recently appeared in Spectrum, The Capra, Colorado Boulevard, and CultureCult Magazinehttp://totihan.net/index.html