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Ross Robbins Jun 2012
Just now, laid out like your favorite uncle
gone before his time with auntie stretched out beside,
I woke to the perfect metaphor for the too-bad,
so-sad, too-fast nature of time—or maybe
was a simile, as in: the way month upon hour slips away like…

Like…like the runt daisy in the bouquet from
the ex-lover you never wanted to hear from,
least loved bloom among a fistful of beauties
never smiled upon at all—Yes—least of all,
this wasted flower, its whole-milk petals yellowing

And (like time, lest your forget) fluttering, broken-off,
to the coffee-stained and salt-strewn
countertop…like that, indeed, or something close.

That was on my mind as I half awoke—but stirring entire
the bundle of words
of the ideal image
                   died                                           (yes, sad)

in its place:
I thought of writing some clever tale
how waking up the flash of a line
of the perfect literary device
some glowing simile or metaphor

(how time is the flight plan of a hummingbird
and before we can begin to grasp the next orders
barked at the co-pilot, the captain
has steered the thrumming craft from sugar water
to sheltered branch, and what moment passed between
is one of many such ticks and tocks, the aggregate
meaning that when we wake up
suddenly 30, 40, or
deceased like your dear uncle,
it never seemed like time was passing at all)

slipped away from me—wait, I’m getting there—
and the words’ escape and time’s escape
were somehow one and the same…

But no, I thought, too precious.
Besides, it’s for sure been done.

                                           March 30, 2012 4:02 a.m.
Ross Robbins Nov 2011
It’s work, this wailing,
a daily occupation.
Alongside the light-rail
A ghost bike, a placard,
a quickening in the blood.

Murmur, breathe myself to sleep,
fleece this feeling,
Blue skies somewhere
and yeah, life goes on.

I struggle to wake,
my sharpest knife
slides along this peach’s stone,
scoop this flesh, devour.

Crepuscular light,
Fecundity of life,
Lacerate this daytime
cut through with dim.

Celerity of dusk,
and with it this gloaming,
My quidnunc neighbor
seals ear to wall to trace
my hitching breaths from air.

But it’s tomorrow now
and it is warm in Paranoia Park.
This violinist, though hardly Paganini,
embroiders sound onto sound.

His bow draws a frisson
along my spine, my nerves
His strings, vibration,
shimmering, a shock, a flush.

This moment: a reprieve,
my coffee break from grief.
All the trees are turning orange.
The days all turn to sleep.
Ross Robbins Oct 2011
Callused hallux digs the dirt, nervous
of what’s yet to come—I can only say:

Breathe, jumpy, think of light. All
cannot be grim as a goose

Who, unaware, is warming an egg
Not graced with life, unfertilized.

She chases off all who draw near,
Her fear the hatchling’s peril.

Poor mother goose, your ribs are showing,
Your breast has thinned, and winter’s coming.

Listen, anxious, light is simple
Simple like the egg that hatches.

You are holding fast to that
which only keeps you thin and sad.

Your former life’s not graced
with light, you cannot hatch

New life from sorrow.

September 2011
Ross Robbins Oct 2011
When insistent morning
forces the cracked blinds
It finds my eyes stuck
Atop a stiff, angry neck.

I wake
And I rumble
My joints grind
the coffee beans

A bit coarse to dank the water
My callused hallux worries the floor
Dripping done, I pour with sore fingers
The steel carafe silver as a nickel
The kitchen sink ablaze and singing
Light reflecting
Last night’s ice cream spoons.

The warm mug soothes
my a.m. arthritis
My arthritic mind coughing cobwebs and sleep.
This moment stands
for itself alone. Truth
can wait until past noon—
it’s coming soon. The truth comes soon.

Ross Robbins Sep 2011
Two Bicyclists*

At Mullan and Reserve in Missoula, Montana
a bike leaned crumpled on a cop’s waxed hood
As two miles up the road an 18-wheeler

Shuddered with its engine’s throbs
Hitching in the driver’s chest, his head
in his hands, “The rider is dead.”

Driving by in rapid succession these scenes added up to an awful conclusion
Do you remember, Alexis? The way we gasped, the moment of realization,
the awful knowledge that this bicyclist had slipped beneath those rear tires
swinging out wide, his chest crushed and heart fluttering a bird’s goodbye
too late at night to be out of bed beneath those wheels, perhaps the same

Rider I’d found five years before, blind-drunk and head over handlebars
Crashed with his legs wound like bone shoelaces in the pedal and frame
the widening puddle of *****, the blood seeping from his face, his hollow
cheeks his refusal to wake, his fear of an ambulance and my slow waking
to the fact he didn’t want police because he was higher than God.

Screamed in his ear time and again, as if even if he’d died I could bring him back
through my sheer desperation; as if I could stave off inevitability with will; as if
any one of us could hope to battle God, the end, the fragile frames of bone and
bicycle ****** beneath this parade of wheels. No. No. No. But yes, he did wake
slurring “No” to the ambulance, “No” to the whole scene, as if

His denial could act as time machine, he could fight against the present just
by wishing for the past, wishing hard enough. And I know the feeling, I know
it well, every hangover day praying to the Santa Claus god “I’ll do better,
I swear.” This wishing gets us nowhere, but it’s easy to philosophize when
it’s someone else’s ribs cracking. Oh, wasted bird, fly away home.

Ross Robbins
September 2011
Ross Robbins Sep 2011
And yeah sat talking about Surrender and thought of how fighting addiction with the mind instead of the heart could only end with one splayed out like a lamb gone to the wolves the throat all ripped and blood pumping heartbeat rhythmic life draining out

And yet that image resulted in nothing, there is no poem forthcoming, and

Pictured blueberry pie with splinters of glass in it, that's how I picture ******.

The fact that I don't have the answers doesn't mean I've stopped looking. I keep searching and thinking and obsessing and all this thought changes nothing, but hey, gotta stay occupied somehow right?

I am not sure why the world is As Is, No Warranty, I guess if there is a "God" then we were meant to figure it out for ourselves apparently because no Magic Sky Captain is parting the clouds and booming down voice all baritone to say, "Well, Ross, you want to know bad enough--obviously--so here's what's really going on."

Learning to be comfortable with not knowing the answer to what this is all about -- there's a goal worth striving toward, never for, because if I'm convinced that for (or forth-ward) there will be a solution to the equation then I'm in the same **** position anyhow -- or wait -- or

You see a horse in the field it's back all bowed like a comma yes that's the image I think of from here on when I pontificate on the never-ending way of the day to day...

Back may bend but will not break.
Ross Robbins Sep 2011
I give thanks, I have faith
that the year to come comes on like
honey and bourbon

That is to say that life's day-to-day way
It intoxicates, opens gates, and
Do not need spirits  Cuz I
I can drift smiling  
Sleep of supplication to the yen of faith

Oh and yes that broke the rhythm,
Lord don't castigate, Don't lacerate my
Words my rhymes (seems overly obvious to
Use "time"; Use it to my advantage
       if not in verse, then,

As was saying Oh oh Oh Lord please
Don't suppurate the wound of writer's
Block before my mind's sweet eye
Oh, time, oh Lord my imploration:

Let this year, then, truly be
As sweet as yams in late November.


(Thanksgiving 2010)
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