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  February 2005
volume 3 number 1
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  featured poets
  Karen Corcoran Dabkowski
  Catherine Daly
  Peggy Dobreer
  Elizabeth Iannaci
  Thea Iberall
  Ariel Robello
  mailing list
Karen Corcoran Dabkowski February 2005



    Karen Corcoran Dabkowski is a 53 year-old native of Pittsburgh, Pa., writing since the age of 13. While a senior in high school, she was given first place in poetry by the University of Pittsburgh for high school poetry. In the same year, she took first place in the Jordan Davison Poetry Awards sponsored by Barry University in Florida, judged by deceased beat poet, William Everson - also known as Brother Antonius.
    She is a past first place winner of the IBPC poetry awards, December 2000, for her poem about serial killer Ted Bundy's final night before execution, titled, Last Rites.
    She is administrator of the "Orphaned Poets Society" poetry board and current editor of the poetry ezine, The Blue House. Karen's approach to poetry is first through the ear, and believes a poem should be musical, visceral and clear.
    She's worked for 20 years for a Pittsburgh orthotic and prosthetic company, has a married daughter, son, and four grandsons. Having hurdled fifty, there's not much that scares her anymore.




My angers rise like fire

fingers, feeling

for a ceiling lick and burn, air

to make them

bigger by the gulp.

My angers

are like fetish dolls,

ebony carved with a hint of red

like blood. Have hammered nails

four inches long locked

into every part. My dolls

sit in a row, my psyche's

chorus line

of basic drives, the darkest kind

ramped up and pushing, pushing

at a flap of feeling

torn away.

I'll find the one responsible

and pound another nail. But lately I can't help

but be afraid

that if they ever wanted to

they'd turn on me

and I don't think

a hollow-jacket bullet

would take

them down.

copyright 2005 Karen Corcoran Dabkowski




This is not for the


This is not for the harlots

of academia

who'd sell their souls for a Pushcart, this is

for the crazy,

the freaked, the boozed-up

without-booze and battered beyond words

by the scrape of jackboot consonants, but are nevertheless

hugged hungry

by the softsoft vowels that bind the wounds

between: I mean

the lovers

of language alone: the hellcats

howling the midnight buzz from trash cans lids

of their own making, bleeding

purple, orange moonlight revelations, seeing angels

on the inside of the eyelids, wanting to write it out, write them

out of the eyes and get them down

for good

and keeps. This is

for the creeps

without degrees, who nonetheless hear music in John Donne


to bring on sounds of fog and loss from the pure


love of it. This is a man

racing a freight train


not a whit what will be made of tense

agreement; verbs are lustful always, in any form, poured straight

from the bottle, gerunding to hell and back the 'ing, ing, ing' of

active, singing




then slipping the long, thin blade of


between the slatted ribs; ribs that Adam had

as he longed for something and bayed beside the wolf

who was, in the time before the fall- a friend,

and under


his wretched hungers: first

for woman, then for god, then for something else that

- something- I'm trying to type it out here- afraid that if I

stop the words

will turn to death, but now,

right now

these words are breath

and the rack of God and His holy thrum, and

wicked devilment

through all, my ears worn


from the sounds. I need

to get a least a part of it down before I go, but how?

copyright 2005 Karen Corcoran Dabkowski




Writing about lonely

just makes lonely

bigger. Plumps it up

too fat to fit

in the narrowness

of what it is, which is empty space

with a face

and a sound like wind.

Some people think it's arias

and high falutin,

dying notes, but that's artistic


                        it's the sound of a

seashell, big as a diving bell

which sinks to

no one knows.

copyright 2005 Karen Corcoran Dabkowski