Web Feature by Colin Dodds

Colin Dodds is a writer with several books to his name, including Ms. Never and Windfall. He grew up in Massachusetts and lived in California briefly, before finishing his education in New York City. Since then, he’s made his living as a journalist, editor, copywriter and video producer. His work has appeared in Gothamist, The Washington Post and more than three hundred other publications, and been praised by luminaries such as David Berman and Norman Mailer. Colin’s poetry collection Spokes of an Uneven Wheel was published by Main Street Rag Publishing Company in 2018. His short films have been selected by festivals around the world and he once built a twelve-foot-high pyramid out of PVC pipe, plywood and zip ties. Forget This Good Thing I Just Said, a first-of-its-kind literary and philosophical experience (the book form of which was named a finalist for the Big Other Book Prize for Nonfiction) is now available as an app for the iPhone. He lives in New York City, with his wife and children. You can find his work at thecolindodds.com

The Sermon in the Hole by Colin Dodds

The rain sweeps the street,

calls the old drunk out of his stool,

stirs him to pronounce the sermon in the hole.

“Liquor alone will not save you,”

he promises.

“The Jim Beam in your eye,

the Wild Turkey rising from its ashes, 

the Old Oversoul of Old Overholt.

“There is no binge that won’t pass.

The names of God are so much grass.

“The guy you say you are

is only a scaffolding cathedral

built on the back of an itchy dog.


“Do you dare pray the prayer, pull the blue wire,

that takes everything, even the prayers,


I lower my head to my drink,

in a momentary ritual

by which I approve of myself

and dodge exorcism

for one more night.


Published by

El Portal

Eastern New Mexico University’s literary magazine, El Portal, offers a venue for the work of writers, artists and photographers. ENMU students, national, and international writers are welcome to submit their original, previously unpublished short stories, plays, poetry and photography. No entry fees are charged. Cash prizes are awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners in each category (only ENMU students qualify). El Portal is published each semester at Eastern thanks to Dr. Jack Williamson, a world-renowned science fiction writer and professor emeritus at ENMU who underwrote the publication. El Portal has been published since 1939.