Treasure Island

Robert Rorabeck

(04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

I Hope So....


I can’t afford expensive lines myself,
And I don’t want to be indebted to the Man-
I need my soul to be homeless and wayward,
A tattered gown rented and torn after it was
Used up at the backstore prom....
That is why I write poetry, and buy cheap rum,
Even though it doesn’t help with the problems,
It helps lay me down-
My face is hieroglyphic, with manners for each
Wound, my eyes ringed like a sallow tree,
You can see how far I have yet to grow-
My hands the prayers for alms, wanting her to
Spit in them, for her to tear and pee and come in
Them, so that the gardens will be most profound:
The flowers corrupted into glowing mutations
With buds that come once a year on my birthday-
Filling the back nine with excrement under the tawdry moon,
I read Ginsberg to figure out- His entire codex,
The a$$ clown of the bomb, the ditzy word smith,
The Hasidim, one million lines of government cheese,
Until they laid him down in his red pyramid with his
Blond retainers no more than twelve, and they had sit ins
And walk outs and fluoride for the kindergarten mouth,
But I still wasn’t down enough to figure it all out-
I like Lorca better, because his translations sound experimental,
And though a homosexual he kept it out of his mouth,
Preferred the solemn surreal spikenard in the spangled cloud,
The assured sadness of a dead moon juxtaposed with a living spring:
I read 900 pages of Lorca poems, skim the translations, but
I still haven’t figured it all out:
I write 400 poems myself, this year pass my quota:
I’m a good father, my face is a hieroglyph,
And her eyes are just pictures fawning over their masculine,
When I would have preferred their round organs sappy and lucid,
To rest above the cenotaph on my shoulder and give a drawn out
Sigh of surrender, her to breath the hot accusations of cinnamon orgasms
In my palm as if figuring it out was all we had to do,
But I still haven’t figured it all out, but I am a cheap alcoholic:
All I’ve had to drink this year is rum- three bottles, under a $30
Sack, fermented cane raised up like weeds in Haiti, stomped
Into smack by the dripping feet of the poorest black men,
Stored away in barrels and bell jars of mutated aberrations who
Didn’t make it as far, but will live a long time down by the river,
In the side show, to attract voyeurs to the used car lot, under the
Slapping pennants, red, white, and blue- they will go a long ways,
For their tumors and goiters and mysteries so far stunted;
The rum slapped with a cheap label and a Surgeon General’s Warning:
No Pirates or bombshells, no varsity smiles, no camaraderie-
The staple fermentation of sugar cane- I like it like that:
On an airboat in the everglades, the alligators grinning with ruby
Eyes daring crooked experiments,
But I still haven’t figured it all out.10% of my poems drunk,
But another 20% lie and say they are, to give excuses for their
Obsessions, the poor similes, the ugly metaphors-
My poems are the soul of a homeless man, ruminating eyes,
Gap toothed, swaying like ancient mariners thrown off with
Limes at the port of Nassau, but they are free men,
And though it may take them a while to figure out where to go,
In the end the are calypso lacking satire, wordy salesmen
Chain smoking and as twitchy as jackrabbits,
Mumble footed fools fallen down before they reach Juliet,
So they just stare up and cry and pet the night-
They cannot afford to choose which way to go,
But they have yet to be crowned with their obligatory headstone:
So they sing their wordy calypso for you tonight,
Hoping that you might canter down the stairs, hold
Them gently upon your bosom, whispering softly your
Tender criticisms: What they do wrong, and maybe
What they do right.
I hope so....

Submitted: Thursday, May 29, 2008

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