h o m e........
p a s t   i s s u e s....
s u b m i s s i o n s....
l i n k s

 

 

.........
LIZ ROBBINS


...........

REVENGE: AN INDEX OF LAST LINES


   

Acute beauty of honed rage.
Always future tense, a kind of wild justice.
And who should ever count so high, so long?
As if dyed, indigo's dark flowering.
As if the woods were free of politicking.
As only male Carolina wrens can sing.
As people anger when their control is hidden.
Blood stain of dogwood bloom.
But love a slave labor?
Destined to destroy itself.
Due to thick sedimentation.
First state in the rate of women killed by men.
For silent country miles, yellow jessamine.
Forced, the soldier roots for blood.
Fruit of your roots baked to a tart pie.
Girl on a steel pier on a horse about to dive.
Going deep to find the cold of Lake Hartwell.
How in a portrait, the gaze seems to follow you.
Into the shallows to spear a sparkling fish.
Like little cards to arrange in a memory game.
Like a ticking box. Like the sad lover of Narcissus.
Moving up the dark.
Or the memory controls you.
Sharp the palmetto frond, sharp the crescent moon.
Singed. Too hot the furnace.
Speeding down the low road of justice.
The door left cracked.
The first state to declare its secession.
The round, dead-black eye of a Carolina wren.
Then summer, and the oleander's venom.
Though the faults in the region are difficult to see.
Tiny red lights that never expire.
To break the surface of Lake Greenwood.
To see how many postage stamps would fit.
Two walk into the woods and neither returns.
Vendetta, a love-petaled weed.
When your lover is your father and your child, too.
You love him, so you imagine things.





...........

L.A. POEM
   

From a downtown rented room,
Los Angeles is anywhere, but the streets
extra-wide for cars: a miniature death
to cross from one side to another.
Homeless on Wilshire and Ninth
laugh, scream at head movies.
Last night, a porter broke
in with an automatic
key. When I woke,
he was stroking and
nearly choking me.
I asked for love. It wasn't
 a ruse, I wanted him to. Even
amid signs in long palm trunks
and shades, star bills, I can't but
dream in the old way: red sheet
snapped for a bull.





...........

L.A. POEM

   

I once read starlets
are judged by their
wanting. Or maybe
it's everyone, every-
where. A mile from
LAX: 1-800-GET-
THIN. The sky's an
embarrassment: big
sun, a touch cool, un-
wet. Anticipating one
end, Maria: Sometime
in the night she had
moved into a realm
of miseries peculiar
to women . . . .
The Tar Pits bus full
of nots, my broken
reflection. We pass
a strip selling perm-
anent lines. I stare
straight on. Some-
where behind me,
what remains:
saber-tooth fangs.





...........

L.A. POEM
   

In the County Museum, I'm big
on white floors: the American
art clean, speciously breathtaking:
I want in. The man with cork rings
and ink who takes my money
to pass is so kind, I'm nearly
whole. He says, Know where
you're going? No, but the Newcomb
bowls. All greens and fish,
my head in the clear
swim light, I may die and return.
Here's gold: Eakins and
Cassatts, Coles and Hassams.
How do women sit in
straight-fitted jackets? I know
when the light is gone, I'll return
to view. Pictures up close,
and something lets go.
A single breath exact.






...........

L.A. POEM


   

Everywhere, the Hollywood sign
is alight, a work-ethic pulse,
a nude icon. In the downtown
room, in the pane that views
other panes, I could be home.
Cara and I, drinking wine before
the show. I ask her if leaving
her man was worth the guilt.
She and her sequins say, Still
here. Art's chosen in part: where
one winds up when the standard
means are closed. Tall orders for
small windows. Perhaps if my
friend had been more lake, she'd
have stayed still, and he'd have gone
down deeper, come up close.

 

 

 

  

BIO: Liz Robbins' third collection, Freaked, won the 2014 Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award, judged by Bruce Bond. Her second collection, Play Button, won the 2010 Cider Press Review Book Award, judged by Patricia Smith. She's an associate professor of creative writing at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla.








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