Robert Rorabeck

Bronze Star - 2,195 Points (04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

The Metamorphosis Which Sets In The West - Poem by Robert Rorabeck

Grown up in the shallow bays,
If your father’s eyes were swimming, lackadaisical and
You took comfort in your thumb and that this was
Your America:
Where did you go, so much further away from where the lions
Were roaring,
Almost close enough to pet against my ear;
And maybe almost every night the rains were dying or trying
To make love to the always and eventual sirens:
Then, of course, I surrendered,
And without having to have known you I gave you up,
Stopped using the metaphors that could have smelled of your
Lingerie, quit trying to hang out with the prettier
Boys like the landscaping in their greasy rows-
College was a similar threat I couldn’t even hope to attend:
That they were all burning upwards like paper airplanes
Infatuated with the gyre:
The plastic cowboys and Indians all looking up from their gunfights
And tomahawks in some glorious menagerie of reverie,
Come stains on the green carpet of their habitual prairie:
And nothing I have yet to say has been anything more than
A beautiful lie:
And I saw a foreclosed house today that had its own condemning room,
An apiary; and I thought of you and tool boxes,
And the cuts on my leg- the little wonders of wonderful things:
How many times I have spilled my seed into the dry throats
Of this worrisome mobile,
I don’t know; but getting up and doing it and going to the movies,
And wishing to know better words for it like starlets,
Like girls who stayed up all night and showed their legs like birthday candles:
Now it is almost like I am absolutely young again,
And headed out into the fistfights of California, or the high topiaries
Of Colorado,
Where all the tourists in their family sedans turn belly-up down in
The roots of the séances of them dusky mountains,
Like oil drums alight for hobos under the repeating airplanes:
And I never have to think of myself alone next to you once more,
But just to touch the snow,
And see a girl like you walking away in heavy hallucinations,
Believing that too you looked as if to be in dreams I had
Thought couldn’t possibly be real;
But then you were just what I had paid for,
A hotel whose door lay open wontedly letting in the mouth
Of this obsession with snow beasts,
The metamorphosis which sets in the west, rises in the east.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, February 15, 2010

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