Poems by Brian Dolan



I realized today
that a large portion of my time
has been occupied with counting.
Counting the rolls of toilet paper,
the paper towels, the loads of laundry,
the bags of flour, the chocolate chip cookies.
Which has me counting calories again.
seems like I count that
multiple times a day.

The times I’ve yelled at a screen,
the times I’ve turned off a screen,
the times I’ve turned it back on.
I’ve stopped counting the lies,
the outrages, the insults, the excuses.
But continue to count the bodies.

I count the days,
but have stoped counting the hours.
If I’m not careful I’ll stop counting the drinks.
I would have payed more attention to math
had I known how much counting I’d be doing.

As of tomorrow
I’ve decided to change
what I’m counting.

When I wake in the morning.
and my feet touch the floor,
I will begin to count the way things hold me up.
How the floor supports my standing,
the chair accepts my weight.
All the times my family and friends
give me something solid to lean against.
The ways my dog encourages  me
with his eyes.

When I step out into the still morning
I will begin to count the birdsong,
and the moments a breeze moves from stillness
and caresses my face.
I will take a walk and count the lights in the houses,
look up and count the clouds and the tree tops,
look down and out and start counting
the California poppies and the mustard,
the heather and the baby blues,
growing wild in every direction.

I will keep counting
until I’ve lost count of all the things that
buoy me and keep me afloat.
Then everyday,
will be just one more day,
I am grateful,
to be counting.



It’s easy to be hopeful under the chin of the resting moon in the gloaming – filled with the possibility of an owls hunger . Each time my heart is broken it feels as if some part  has fallen away, like a leprous Superman in the presence of kryptonite. I won’t share that road taken by the hunter of dark things. Even the ants understand me and the necessity of longing.  How the simplest gesture – a raised eyebrow – a sigh – the length of a pause – can cripple an elephant. I am always looking for the green opening, in the dunes, that leads down to the waters edge. There I will find what everyone finds  – the incessant sun – the ceaseless sea – and salt.