Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Michael robbins mini poetry collection

Myself and many others were introduced to the strange and wonderful charms of Michael Robbins one year ago when his poem Alien vs. Predator appeared in the New Yorker. However, it is not easy to find more of the man's work, holed up as he in the hamlet of Chicago. One piece that you'll find if you Google him says that he teaches at "Columbia." In Chicago, that is. (I hoped he was a local). I am quite happy that I was able to find an additional five whole poems online, and now present all six to you.

Michael Robbins collection (formatting went a bit kaflooey, damn blogger.):

Aliens vs. Predator

Praise this world, Rilke says, the jerk.

We’d stay up all night. Every angel’s

berserk. Hell, if you slit monkeys

for a living, you’d pray to me, too.

I’m not so forgiving. I’m rubber, you’re glue.

That elk is such a dick. He’s a space tree

making a ski and a little foam chiropractor.

I set the controls, I pioneer

the seeding of the ionosphere.

I translate the Bible into velociraptor.

In front of Best Buy, the Tibetans are released,

but where’s the whale on stilts that we were promised?

I fight the comets, lick the moon,

pave its lonely streets.

The sandhill cranes make brains look easy.

I go by many names: Buju Banton,

Camel Light, the New York Times.

Point being, rickshaws in Scranton.

I have few legs. I sleep on meat.

I’d eat your bra—point being—in a heartbeat.

Favorite zoo animal

Tiny reindeer dancer
you put the
abra in lab rat.

Appoint a green snowsuit
to sort out illegal downloading.

A specter is haunting communism.

I think the lake reminds me of a wafer
bottled in Arkansas & shipped
with maple porn.

Left Behind to certify the velcro of small things

—antlers in our milk, the hen
that guesses our weight—

the hen that stamps our names on tin bands—

Management of Widow Burning,

or, The Cultural Logic of Late Creationism.

You can’t smoke in here, this is America.

A good police will patent a lint barrow.

When you fix it in a field of filthy x rays

one girl’s ankle monitor is

as sad as another.

for Matthea Harvey

[Things I may no longer bring on airplanes:]

Things I may no longer bring on airplanes:
1. Box cutters
2. Airplanes

This spleen & idyll is legally a star.

Let us stockpile rupturewort & eryngo
in the unlikely event of water landing.

All that is sullied melts into flesh.
Hebrew, the original HTML.
How will I open my box on the airplane??

I saw a bat another bat
& two batlike swifts
that might’ve been bats.

I mean that literally.

I mean “literally”

Either Time

Made like a moving picture

not about things but with—bonny a machinist as pleases.

I mean I have real hair to transfer

I have moths to gale. Say it, us

look that tiny, tinsel-mote October

revolutions, belly-belly barometric span.

Sure, sad stories I love to leave where they lie.

For who can sing so softly heroes from their stupid tombs?

Didn’t I know all this in the version where your negotiations of

it is simply astounding to see an animal dead on a highway

were nonnegotiable? No one if you lift the rain

from the bucket & fling it back into the sky says

hey it’s raining again

for Anna Clark

Known knowns

Very little perhaps nothing
is known about boats.

I was never bitten
by a radioactive pony.

I believe we lack
a public health system
per se.

The world’s tallest freestanding smokestack
is in Sudbury, Ontario.

Lights at the top make it
scrutable to aircraft.

We’re waiting to de-fern.

Soft pink widows

Uplink with the Candied Piety

Filament the trash-fish trade

Your spinal melodies comfort
ejector-seat collectors

Tried to use the spoon but the spoon
shorted out
It wants its robot raspberries back
Tried on neon, neon
obsoletes me

& xanadus from the fever archive
Remix the minesweeper’s tiny sex

Thus you no-man-fathom, pee-shy
Braving the salad to saturate
lavender horizons
with wire-minded professionals

The religious left’s turntablist
Printed our t-shirts in narrow daylight

Like an odometer you sundered valentines
Fire-static limbered your ambit

You were weirded by an old box of receipts
Purple numbers italicizing trees


He writes for this site:

EDIT: After comments by the poet, some correction have been made to this mishmashed post which originally attributed 7 other poems by "Michael Robins" -- one B -- to the poet in question. Thanks Michael.


Michael Robbins said...

Uh, a bunch of those aren't by me. Some of them are by Michael Robins (note the different spelling), & I doubt he'd be flattered to have them appear here credited to me. Please check these things more carefully!

Otherwise, thanks for the kind words. I have work coming out in The New Yorker, Fence, & a coupla other places.

Michael Robbins said...

also, Finnegans Wake doesn't have an apostrophe (but if it did it would go after Finnegan & before the s) so why does Finnegans' Cake?

Michael Robbins said...

Oh, & The Next Settlement is Michael Robins's book, not mine. I don't really thing our poetry is anything alike ...

Sam said...

Oh dear. It is so strange to have someone you are talking about respond to your blog that no one reads. It's as if Thomas Mann came at me with a list of corrections...

Sorry for errors, have tried to fix them all just now! I agree that Robins' poems are completely different from yours, but at the time of my misapprehension, who was I to quibble? I am a big one for "post now, edit later." Also known as, "Google wildly, check little or next to nothing." Sorry again.

By the way. I can't tell you how much AvP meant to me when I first read it, and then re-read it over and over and over, completely gripped by the rhythm. I think I had just given a rash rant to a friend trashing all New Yorker poetry, picked up your issue to prove my point, and immediately had a 180 degree change of mind and mood.

Lastly, Finnegan's apostrophe is a typo, but at the time, I was thinking it was romantic to think of the book's title as meaning the Wake of all the infinite number of Finnegans out there. Or their cake, rather. I'm inclined to let my own misinterpretation stand for now...until Joyce or Helen Vendler shows up in the comments as well.

Michael Robbins said...

Thanks for the corrections, & yr response to my poem is the reason I write. I'm glad, & grateful, that it meant so much to you. Best of luck to yr with yr own writing!