Mark O'Brien

Mark O'Brien Poems

1.
Breathing

Grasping for straws is easier;
You can see the straws.
"This most excellent canopy, the air, look you,"
Presses down upon me
...

2.
For Clifford Bernel

Lonnie didn't want to eat with Clifford.
I tried to keep my eyes away from his mouth,
Which opened uncontrollably,
His thick saliva oozing over him.
...

3.
The Man in the Iron Lung

I scream
The body electric,
This yellow, metal, pulsing cylinder
Whooshing all day, all night
...

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Mark O'Brien Biography

Poet and journalist Mark O’Brien was born in Boston and raised in Sacramento, California. He contracted polio when he was six years old; the disease left him paralyzed from the neck down, and he used an iron lung to breathe. He earned a BA and an MA from the University of California–Berkeley. An advocate of independent living for disabled people, O ...

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