Martin Ott

Martin OttA former U.S Army interrogator, Martin Ott currently lives in Los Angeles, where he writes poetry and fiction, often about his misunderstood city. He is the author of Captive, De Novo Prize winner, C&R Press, Poets’ Guide to America, co-written with John F. Buckley, and Interrogator’s Notebook, Story Merchant Books. His Writeliving blog – – has thousands of readers in more than 75 countries.




The tattooed van braked in the right
lane, the rush hour traffic backed
up for miles. The cover band set up
without orange cones or warning
flares, guitarist, bassist and drummer
daring the cars to mow them down.
Who knows what the furies have
in store for these freeway bandits,
setting speakers out toward the sun?
Some say it was for publicity, others
that the stunt didn’t make a dent.
Their ex-manager swore that music
was a top spinning with no center.
The singer’s father just swore.
But for one morning, the audience
merged to the band’s frenetic song,
to a syncopation of Love and War,
their single, their opus, angry fans
erupting in an applause of horns.



The home that is not a home
is like that one person’s name
beyond the window painted shut.
That lover who made you forget
the closet ghosts, the repeating song
is never far, is never close.
The keys in your junk drawer
from past doors, from unknown cities
leave you opened, keep you closed.
That time you did the one thing,
the one you can never tell
is buried away, is in your place.

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