here are 4 poems i've written in the past few years that i sent to many literary journals, to no avail. actually, a literary journal called Poetry Motel told me they would publish "saints" but I could never reach them after that one letter from them, so, who knows. well, here goes.... a bit dark in places:
4 poems by Robin Crane
For you the saints of love appear
They ask you what you’re doing here
You say you’ve needed them so long
You’ve since forgotten what was wrong.
In Washington they’d probably
Prefer to just remember me.
In Michigan my ma and pa
Left for me what as kids they saw.
Savannah with its sexy grins
Is where I threw up all my gin.
New York New York the laundry hangs
On lines that line the sky with veins.
Los Angeles I made my home
But panic freezes up my bones
The only words that comfort me
Are “Coast to Coast Cab Company.”
All This Could Be Yours
As in a farcical mystery novel
Whose hapless hero falls unconscious in a den of murderers,
But who wakes up in someone’s nice bed,
Only bruised and curious,
I went out trapped
On a cold table
A mask to my mouth and huffing a gas
So sweet it made me gag,
But when I came to,
I was alive.
Manhandled by a nurse with an axe
To grind and no nice manners,
All that I could tolerate,
But what has been so bad,
So baroquely sickening,
Almost like a joke,
Has been the return to all this.
The red white and blue of the neighboring lawns,
The lonely secretarial days.
The quirky off-tempo beats of a Frankenstein’s Monster heart.
The doctor’s red-blooded skepticism towards a self-proclaimed
Buck up, Bucko.
The only pretty parts have been the
languid suicides of purple and orange leaves
And sometimes love.
Aren’t you tired of your beauty, your singular way of threading a plastic saint heart and a sentimental John Lennon pendant on a silver chain and wearing this heartbreaking, too-poignant jewelry around your dirty neck?
Sometimes you have appeared at a birthday party or other event, mercifully restored somehow, in a worn-through, not-laundered but beautiful dress, looking pre-Raphaelite and sober. But sometimes you’ve needed a diaper, and the lenses of your glasses have been smudged with chocolate and tears. This is all unbearable, it causes house fires and little fissures in the tissuey walls of the heart.
But aren’t you tired of your beauty, its ghost, on all the days and in the years when you were okay at least for awhile? Sunny, jingly-belled laugh afloat in the sudden wellspring of happiness of a manic episode. Moments when a certain tranquilizer didn’t make you drool but instead allowed you to articulate last nights’ dreams. Months of being pregnant and having a recognizable function in society, a sudden usefulness to a race of strangers. The memory of such triumphs is no good right now, it’s like an animal trap, a steel jaw garnished with some delicious sustenance. Take a step towards this gift and slam! Your leg is caught for good. The only options are to lay there watching your soul drift out of your body through your mouth, or to chew through your leg.
Drugs, drugs, life of drugs
Alcohol and Fun.
Who can count the down and out?
Count me in as one.
It was so messed-up feeling and such hilarious fun, to be on vacation from my sad sex education life at the college in another state. To be on winter break in my hometown, at a Christmas party for adults, the two of us gigglingly guarding our vodka bottle, getting drunker and nicer and more sentimental about the Holidays as the night stretched out. Feeling the holiday spirit, the nervous anticipation of magic. Little colored lights defining the cold night air and making us feel like children. We were two too-charming women, smoking and drinking, a mother and daughter variety act. We knew what we were doing and that it would come to no good. Even then, we were telling them laugh-stained anecdotal miseries.
There is a lineage of mental illness and dependency, abuse of all kinds. The women of her family have uniformly prostituted themselves in one way or another, and for the purpose of absolutely ruining all joy. They’ve been moms who had stomach flu or a migraine that was just a hang-over.
Women already carry the burden of self-sacrifice. These women of my family created for their sisters and daughters elaborate ceremonies in which to frame our sacrifices. Here is a bag of her pills the ER nurse handed to me. I am throwing it into the mouth of an active volcano. The volcano is still hungry and I am beautiful, honeyed and pink as a barbecued pig.
So I dive in.
There had been some fun in this kamikaze sisterhood, and now there is none.
The question can be asked “Why not?” Or “Why me?" Or: is God an ambivalent miner, drifting off to sleep in a bar somewhere, his arms on a sticky table, his head resting on his arms like they are pillows?