Richard O’Brien

Richard O’Brien

Theoretical Biology

In 1965, a bottlenose dolphin christened Peter was the subject of a scientific experiment under the auspices of Dr John Lilly. For six weeks, he lived in a flooded apartment in the Virgin Islands with a woman named Margaret Howe, who was tasked with teaching him human language. Needless to say, this was not successful.

All hands on deck.
             The sea thrashing below
a crew of Cretan sailors,
                        bound for gold.

In a flotation tank,
             the god Apollo
crests the black brine.

                                            Thought is a surging shoal:
                                                         whistles and clicks.

             Outside of Biddeford, Maine,
a huge brain throbs
                          to death on a coastal road.

             Men come with saws.

                                       Someone like Aristotle
                          walking the shore
                                       gazed at the gleaming blue.

It saw him too.                                         Hello, it said. Hello.

RICHARD O’BRIEN’s publications include The Emmores (The Emma Press, 2014) and A Bloody Mess (Valley Press, 2015). he won an Eric Gregory Award From the Society of Authors in 2017, and is the Birmigham Poet Laureate 2018-2020.