A longtime resident of Los Angeles, Martin Ott’s most recent book is Spectrum, C&R Press, 2016. He is the author of seven books and won the De Novo and Sandeen prizes for his first two poetry collections. His work has appeared in more than two hundred magazines and a dozen anthologies.
Safe room. Safe word. Safety measures in the incredible array of Tasers and pepper sprays. Walk behind armed guards in schools, airports, and parking lots. There are phantoms behind planters and hidden in trash barrels. Place giant shoes outside your home to ward off spirits. Don facemasks for all levels of human contact. Speak to imaginary friends when you open the door for pizza. Build an arsenal of Nerf for rouge friends and ICMBs for rouge nations. Save yourself the trouble of scaling the walls or crossing the moats. The passages have been marked for only a few. Beware the prayers and mantras, orders and pleas, silences and cheers of victors. Comb through archives and possessions. Delay magnum force from facing off against unstoppable might. Question everything and allow yourself to be like a door, flat against the wall, open to breath and breeze.