Our poetry editor, Joe Pan, has selected a poem by Michael Robins for his series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers. For those interested in submitting work for possible publication, email 3–5 poems, with a cover letter, in a single Word document or PDF to poetry [at] hyperallergic [dot] com.

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Mark Manders, “Fox/Mouse/Belt” (1992) (collection the artist, courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery)

Sideward & Leisurely Crumbles the Heart’s Presidio

To what do I owe the pleasures of meddling life
croaking the AM hubbub of sunlight, trees
& dozers bully every which way. I trust
I startled spiders, or rats or there but a tower,
not its tank, so I concluded some smolder
before bed. High in my daughter’s room
I see now shadows of our house, cascading days
interested in being ceramic at windows
or to spring the spyglass. Inside most things,
it’s matter like perspective, reminds me of

more perfect ways to receive the fox, spotted
with my right as my left hand steals the one
who loves: he wears fabulous clothing, he’s often
impressioned & say, those aren’t rabbits in the yard.
…Those are grommets, are charlatans slipping
ice into lemonade & the porcelain polished
for charm, licked for my doctor’s many needles
construct a someone who wasn’t. There,
did you go out likewise or count the tiled night
here, taking that better aim on the voice

owned by a friend? This one belongs to you, holds
muscle & grace while the rest are awkward bone.
Once upon a time, Uh-huh, & in the end I
knew you had a brother, that the heart sails
& some find barreled whiskey & the priesthood
no different whatsoever. Actually, we
shudder now in different costumes, banks
swelling every corner & my voice belongs not
to a rich person. Behind the bottles they put candles
to make them, make them, Sure, I’ll have another.

I’m not going to sing because I could, I’m not
singing because I cannot describe beauty
as sex or five blokes in the seat of a cab. There’s no
experts among them, but fashion is as fashion
does, walking the rumpus with sightlines
down. Even the owls seem like rhetoric bleached
& flossed, real songs saying how little we care,
what a young person’s world, like, early-twenties
this is. From my daughter’s room I see shadow,
see house, see you later. I’ve gone some other way.

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Michael Robins is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Ladies & Gentlemen (Saturnalia Books, 2011) and In Memory of Brilliance & Value (Saturnalia Books, 2015). He teaches literature and creative writing at Columbia College Chicago. For more information, visit www.michaelrobins.org.

Joe Pan grew up along the Space Coast of Florida and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His debut poetry book, Autobiomythography & Gallery, was named “Best First Book of the Year” by Coldfront...