Author: Martin Ott
Location: Los Angeles, California
A Russian linguist and military interrogator during the Cold War, Martin Ott currently works as a writer and editor in Los Angeles. His stories have been published in over a dozen magazines, and he has optioned three screenplays. His poetry has appeared in more than 50 magazines and anthologies, including The Adirondack Review, The Anthology of Monterey Bay Poets, ForPoetry.Com, The Greensboro Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Hotel Amerika, Natural Bridge, New Letters, Nimrod, Poetry East, Puerto del Sol, Seattle Review, Segue, The Southern California Anthology, Stone Table Review, Tampa Review, Third Coast, The Valparaiso Poetry Review, and XConnect.
He is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and his manuscript "Magician's Heaven" has been a finalist or semi-finalist for a half dozen different poetry prizes. His chapbook Misery Loves
was published on Red Dancefloor Press.
When Buildings Fall
There are some things we cannot catch:
a follicle shorn from our scalp, threading
air like an acorn gyroplane as we fumble
for it, a mosquito fish suddenly plopping
onto shore. Or a palm crab clacking
down the steps of the U.N. Building,
security teams in pursuit as rivets
cascade from the gusset seaming
New York, snow-ash disappearing
in our disbelieving craws. Who can catch
the rhesus from its branch or the soft-
shelled star before it crashes on boulders?
We wrap ourselves in bombazine and hope
our tears bridge the spark gap between
life and the spavin we bear from below.
At night, my wife holds onto my tussock
and our lovemaking screams detente
like birch trees on newly-paved Volgograd
or anti-particles meeting on a dusky Paris
boulevard. Last earthquake, my neighbor’s
Warhol fell from its perch. She said between
it and that clap-trap Faulkner, it’s lucky
she wasn’t maimed … like we all are
from what we cannot catch, be it planes
aimed straight at our windows, jaws
collapsing like molten steel girders
or bodies thrown at us from the sky.