Re-re-introduction: Kevin J. O’Conner

Greetings and Salutations! I have again signed up for the insanity that is The Poetry Marathon (okay, half the insanity, since I’m planning to do the 12-hour version again—because sleep); this is my introduction.

Among my various roles and attributes, I am:

  • a self-published poet. I am up to twelve published collections of poetry now. My latest, Wishes sometimes have consequences, covers the chapter of accidents that was 2018. I continue to write every day, posting the best (or least horrible) of each day’s poems on my blog, Ordinary Average Thoughts. And I still participate in several open mics in the Seattle area, though the trials of the last year and a half have caused my attendance to be more sporadic than I would like.
  • a freelance copy editor. This is how I make most of the money I don’t have. Fortunately, I have a background as a translator, because many of the documents I edit originate countries where English is not the primary language (e.g., Ethiopia, Malawi, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ukraine).
  • a graphic designer. I can’t really say I’m a professional anymore (if I ever was—there isn’t much available for designers who aren’t focused on web/mobile/UI/UX design), but I have designed lots of posters, done some magazine workalbum covers, and (shameless self-promotion alert!) do book and cover design. (Needless to say, I do all my own book design.)
  • a sort of artist. I have backed off of photography in favor of digital sketches/paintings, which I started doing late last year after I inherited my father’s iPad. You can see some of my work here.

I still live near Seattle, but am now sans felines. My mom keeps urging me to get a new cat right away, but I’m not there yet. When I’m not writing poems, copy editing, attending open mics, or sketching on my iPad, I am looking for that elusive full-time job with actual benefits.

Let the countdown begin…


(10 June 2019)

2017 Poetry Marathon: My half-marathon recap

Because I woke up this morning about an hour and a half before my alarm was set, I am very sleepy (I have been drifting off here and there between poems), so this will be short.

This was my second time participating—and it was much easier this time. Last year, I hit kind of a wall with Hour Three, and struggled for the next three or four hours. This year, my latest post was at 45 minutes into the hour (vs. 58 last year), but that included about 15 minutes to get the right quote to use for the golden shovel poem.

What helped me this year:

  1. My writing challenge this month is eight-word poems. When I sit down to write them, I usually write several in a row. Though very short, this gave me a few days of practice writing several poems in a day.
  2. I worked from all of the prompts. That saved me a lot of time coming up with something different to write about.
  3. Except for a bagel run after I posted my Hour One poem, I did my grocery shopping yesterday (so I had food and beverage on hand), and did my meal prep (crock pot chicken!) last night.
  4. I allowed myself to stop thinking about poems after posting each entry. That meant far less pressure to produce.

Now that this half-marathon is done (though I may check out some of the later prompts for fun), it’s nap time!

(5 August 2017)

2017 Poetry Marathon, Hour Twelve: Sleep of the Golden Hour

At last
I am home with you

We are tucked in bed
sheets clean and fresh
pillows cool and soft (not too soft)

Side by side
your head resting on my chest
we are warm

My eyes close
I hear disjointed voices
speaking in gaps

My eyes open
I have been following all along
I think

why is that guy doing that?
And where did he come from?

I’m going to have to start this one over
Drowsy, woozy, and drifting
are not conducive
to understanding complex plot lines

Time to sleep

Tomorrow I get to sleep in
(I hope the cat is paying attention)


I should probably take care of that
Nah… it’ll wait

I do like the cool side…

(5 August 2017)


2017 Poetry Marathon, Hour Eleven: Empty

I don’t like to watch you dance
because it stirs me up inside
and I know you have no interest

My infatuation
does me more harm than good
that’s when I turn to the Irish exit

In short order
I will remember seeing you dance
in that polka-dot skirt

I’ll have a couple glasses of wine
write a poem about you
and fall asleep with the TV on

(5 August 2017)

2017 Poetry Marathon, Hour Ten: Red

It was a small spot of red
on a canvas dominated by blue and black
a lone point of humanity
amongst two armies
without faces or names

One small spot
to represent the blood
of millions lost

A young woman walked by
stirred by the breeze
the ladybug flew away

(5 August 2017)

2017 Poetry Marathon, Hour Eight: A treatise on shame (facsimile)

I became an expert on the meaning of shame
realizing what it means
some twenty-five years ago, if you can believe that

Back then, I still had hope that you and I could become we
though I had doubts, I did my best to resist

I’ll tell you what
had you and I actually become we
we could have surrendered completely to desire

But the part of the you and I equation that didn’t function was and
it took the distance of an ocean for us to express how we feel

There was no need to be ashamed
but we didn’t know that

You, me, we
we might have found some way to fulfill our desire
but we never figured out what

So the shame of you and me, the you and I who could never become we
is the shame we must forever live with, unable as we are to resist

(5 August 2017)

The line I used as my inspiration comes from Milan Kundera’s novel Immortality:

‘Shame means that we resist what we desire, and feel ashamed that we desire what we resist.’ (p. 330 of the 1991 Faber and Faber paperback edition)

2017 Poetry Marathon, Hour Seven: War (and hide)

I am not so different

I do want the same thing
as everyone else—
but on different terms

That may be good enough
or it may not
so I hide

I am not so different
all of us
are taught to hide

I happen to be better at it

(5 August 2017)

2017 Poetry Marathon, Hour Six: Amber afternoon

Where this is going
suspension of time
is to be expected
That’s what always happens to me
when I surrender

Under this sky
suspended in amber
an artefact from some undefined age
this moment knows no history
it belongs to you and me, today

Stretch out beside me
I’ll rub your back
with no other purpose
but to feel the soothing calm
of the touch of your skin

(5 August 2017)

2017 Poetry Marathon, Hour Five: Zesto’s

Wednesday afternoon
walking the few blocks down the hill
with a dollar in my pocket
past the Presbyterian church
and neighboring houses
through the vacant lot
to get to the shortcut
Sliding down the dirt embankment
to the parking lot on Rainier Avenue
I make sure I have my dollar
(plus five cents for tax)
then walk up to the window
‘Four hamburgers, please’

(5 August 2017)

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