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Home / Issue 33 / The O'Brien in my name

The O’Brien in My Name

By Ed O’Casey

Poetry Prize winner

Ciudad Obregón and its pale       

presidente namesake        echoes

of my bloodmix at the        Gulf

of California. to get there       


cross biting desert and minacious       

zero tolerance. long self-defined

by my        Irish propensity

for drink:        an ill-fitted


tunic.        almost dead but still       

that blood in me,        the same

will: Minnesota O’Brien tucked       


into the envelope of Casey,

Lara crimped also        into that parcel:

bloodlines        in competition.

the tendency to define        myself

by what people call me:        O’Casey


the sum of marriage        —my skin in winter Irish,

in summer        pushing at the boundary of “Mexican”.


to define myself as either        betrays in both

something integral.         Irish deserted

                                                into Mexico, O’Brien

                                                evolved into Obregón:

                                                                the Irish enveloped in the Mexican,


                                shamrocks hanging

                                in candy skull windows,


                                prayer flags in lines stretched,

                                the rhythm of trumpet


                                and fiddle—grito: a debt

                                in the name of


                                expulsion, in the name

                                of Catholic,        in the name of O.

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