self-portrait as wikipedia entry

Kara Dorris
Content Warnings
Substance UseDeath/SuicideAssault/Abuse/Violence
"Kara Dorris was born in Fort Worth, Texas at the ass-end of 1980, & the beginning of big bangs, shoulder pads, & leg warmers..."
Dec 28, 2020 9:51 PM

Kara Dorris was born in Fort Worth, Texas at the ass-end of 1980, & the beginning of big bangs, shoulder pads, & leg warmers. She is a bone tumor city. There are worse times & places to be homeless. She wants to believe love is mercenary, nothing but urges & obligations. Secretly invented the Draino of want. She is her lover’s sorrow & sorry & flinch. Her father’s forgotten face, the one innocent spot on his body without veins. Her mother’s urge to click BUY on Ebay. Her stepfather’s conscious. Her brother’s martyr gene. She loves blue jeans & mercy, spends a lot of time waiting for a phone call saying someone she loves (supposed to love) is dead. Or dying. And to come quick. For example: “Is this Ms. Dorris?” “Yes, I’m Kara Dorris.” “I’m sorry to say, ma’am, we found your father dead yesterday in a crack house.” She is afraid she will have to identify the body. She is afraid she will not be able to identify the body. She wants to be sure, doesn’t know how to be sure about anything. Carson McCullers wrote we are homesick most for the places we have never known. She hates the snow. She loves the snow. She has forgotten to be who she wanted, forgotten who she wanted to be. Went mirror neuron crazy. She watches all seasons of The Golden Girls & fails Golden Girls Trivia Pursuit. She names her wi-fi, space itself, after herself. Karaland is a special land, a perfect shelter-in-place. Conceived in speed, she makes up for it in stillness. Dreams to sleep. She absorbs anger & then doesn’t know what to do with it. She bleeds layers—of clothes, of meaning, of silence & screaming. Never knows where to start. Always wants to stop. She is afraid if she gets attacked & yells, her attacker will laugh at the smallness of her scream. Badass without any badassary. She hates cigarette smoke, is in love with the motion of smokers, the lift of light to lips, mouthing their own ghosts. Hates posturing & know-it-alls. Secretly wants to be a know-it-all. & a synchronized swimmer, yoga guru, sharpshooting ninja knife thrower. Her D&D character is a dance fighter known as Morning Glory Paisley Wreck-It-All (a combo of her favorite My Little Pony & poet roller derby name). A pen is her zen. & nightmare. She wants to walk at night without fear, not be the one in five. Won’t take that bet. She can’t be authenticated—for realsies—a Wikipedia entry that disappeared. Dr. Dorris has been reported to have written: flooded hearts make the best accelerants

Kara Dorris is the author of Have Ruin, Will Travel (Finishing Line Press, 2019). She has also published four chapbooks: Elective Affinities (dancing girl press, 2011), Night Ride Home (Finishing Line Press, 2012), Sonnets from Vada’s Beauty Parlor & Chainsaw Repair (dancing girl press, 2018), and Untitled Film Still Museum (CW Books, 2019). Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Gold Wake Live, I-70 Review, Southword, Rising Phoenix, Harpur Palate, Cutbank, Hayden Ferry Review, Tinderbox, Puerto del Sol, The Tulane Review, and Crazyhorse, among others literary journals, as well as the anthology Beauty is a Verb (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011). Her prose has appeared in Wordgathering, Breath and Shadow, Waxwing, and the anthology The Right Way to be Crippled and Naked (Cinco Puntos Press, 2016). She earned a MFA in creative writing from New Mexico State University and a PhD in literature and poetry at the University of North Texas. Currently, she is a visiting assistant professor of English at Illinois College. For more information, please visit