Two Poems by David Morgan O’Connor

by: David Morgan O’Connor

Ostensibly about conquistadors and the Age of Exploration, David Morgan O’Connor’s poems are also about exploring the strangeness and inexplicability of ourselves and the worlds we think we know: “Over the sea years/ our forms change” as we search and search again for that time and place when “…all was terra-firma/ and endurance was so easy.”


I, conquistador couldn’t settle.
Sailed far too south. There was
no fountain of youth.
God as common as disease.

Where is Gold in pillage?
Murky water, women who pestle
human heart into soup not soap.
You can’t plant in war. Nor moor.

Limp lance, breastplate rash no
more luscious fruit infecting tongues.
Every one I sailed with is dead or insane
eaten from within by greed or lust.

At berth in Porto, if alive,
I’ll dispose of cross and crown,
trade my loot for books, keep
my morion as chamber pot

perhaps quill to confess
how close I came to paradise
without realizing the brute
force of discovery.



Over the sea years
our forms change

finishings hull

sunlit kitchen a dove
sent to seek land

scurvy rife below deck
thirst stirring mutiny

mast-crack sail-rip winch-whip
stay with the swimmer

who salvaged the compass
you might survive

if she’ll allow tagging along
clutch the splinters and float

if not harness a dolphin
pray to mermaid

open oysters peel coconut
suck razor clams

remember those surf bubbles
the champagne you drank

when all was terra-firma
and endurance was so easy.


David Morgan O’Connor is from a small village on Lake Huron. After many nomadic years, he is based in Albuquerque, where a short story collection progresses. He contributes monthly to The Review Review and New Pages. His writing has appeared in: Barcelona Metropolitan, Collective Exiles, Headland, Cecile’s Writers, Bohemia, Beechwood, Fiction Magazine, After the Pause, The Great American Lit Mag, The New Quarterly and The Guardian.

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