Poetry by Michael Robbins, Stephanie Anderson, and Anthony Madrid


Michael Robbins

            I used to be carried in the arms of cheerleaders.
                               —The National

Somehow I sidle, I kick start,
I hotwire my monkey heart.
I take my waking slow.
The president totes a vial of my cremains
and toots a vial of blow.
Nice president! I wish you’d just explode.

This is Uncle Tom to Ground Control.
I’m half awake. I’m a total fake.
The moon’s the only natural object
visible from China’s Great Wall.
The seasons rearrange themselves.
Winter, winter, Google, fall.

Fuck the moon. It’s pink.
I was raised on Stax and Stones.
I pledged my troth to Mr. Bones.
The glaciers are melting
at a non-glacial pace. I have no
genes. I learn by going
out alone into America.

Fires, I’ve lost a few. Beerustlers
infiltrate my privates. I just
died in my arms tonight,
brown cow. I’ll walk into
sky-blue skeet shoots, baby blue.
It was nice of you
to. But you can put me down.

(First appeared in Fence magazine.)


“Enjoy My Symptom”

I spit on any fresh green breast.
It’s a misdemeanor. You can build the rest
from airplane parts and Listerine.
I get my news from Meerkat Manor.
Every Cylon is a mystery.

I get my news from Al Jazeera
and the American Apparel catalog.
Dick Grayson stole my lady friend.
Her muzzle was like yellow fog,
a post-consumer fiber blend.

I wake to Auto-Tune, and take my waking
out into an orchard, where I traipse.
I killed so many bulls the young males went
insane to meet another elephant.
They raped a rhino. They raped some apes.

Mother Mary ploughs the deep remotely.
She guides the Rover to its red thought.
I can’t live with or without me.
I etch the speckled cybernaut.
I rape the earth. It’s not my fault.

(First appeared in Fence magazine.)


Stephanie Anderson
“The Mule Spindles”

Are spun-out to threshing, but not threshing.

Dust tracking above thread
or form. Some husking,
dehusking, and you flying shuttle.

The form is watching the field or washing sills.

But then, you already know
how I place. Enacted place. Weft
when it becomes another utterance—

a stone boat stone-full against hill to forest—

to ritual. Or interlaced.
When task was a way
to utter task.

The form watching field against hill to forest.

But then, place becomes
tool when task lacks
tools. The second form,

the form which turns from eye to eaves,

justifies task. You flying shuttle
amidst cues of
dust, stone. My own

husking against change. Staying form's

quivers, I know, and using
cue as tool. The task
of eaves is placed

to track; I like that. Succeeding with tools—

punch cards still
pushed to clocks and trees
carried on trains—

clacking, of course, signals industry; neat

ends. Clean clothes
and other replacements.
Leftover thread or jar.

I horde these ends for use; future impending weft,

knowing that they remain
as husks or habit from when
task was task—not mine.

Task is placed, the ends dependent. I punch

in whether or not
the tools will befit
my tasks or grasp.

You form, watch our tools may yet out-spin us.

(First appeared in Tin House.)


Anthony Madrid
“They Do That Out of Anger Which We Do Out of Love”
THEY do that out of anger, which we do out of love.  One hates to think of their
Wretched and wretched-making emotions.
I shall denounce them at the top of my voice, though a whisper is sufficient to kill.
I’ll right my crooked sword on a fresh anvil and run yelling into their ranks.
I’ll say to my modular strophes: Show off the tone in your arms, my girls;
Polish your jewels, use your eyes shooting fire out of cunning and girlish faces.
For my 580 are viral, are contagious, are venereal.  Their every
Dimple delivers ordnance; their kissable navels are poisoned.
And today is the last of the month; today I arise and set out for home.
I leave footprints handprints pawprints on the moist sand of the beach.
The sidewinder’s pleasant muscle is well fitted to the desert.
Her eggs swivel around inside her like Chinese worry balls.
You say “opposites attract”?  Yes, and so does everything else!
You say you hate your own father.  Yes, and so does everyone else!
Who taught this young woman to speak?  Who taught her this English
On which all the secret methods of bragging are perpetually brought to bear—?
MADRID, like you, I stand accused of the worst kind of recklessness.
I have unleashed upon the world the full force of my infantile allure.

(First appeared in 6X6.)


“What With This New Body”
I AM impatient, I am irreverent, I am addicted to giving pleasure.
You could say I haven’t the scholar’s cast of mind.
I wouldn’t even let ’em put a cast on my broken arm!  I said: Better my bones
Divert their course around the stones in the river of life.
It is not for me to subtract from their stock of therapeutic laughter.
Only, release me from the obligation to egg them on!
People like poets to be good-looking?  I do my best not to disappoint.
And what with this new body, I am become a blip on the gaydar.
Let’s flip through The Devil’s Dictionary, see if we can find a nudist.  Ah, here he is:
“A forty-year-old guy, quite naked, except for his horn-rimmed glasses.”
Conspiratorial Rat says, “I am a schemer, through and through.”
He says with a wink: “Whoever spares my life is complicit with the bubonic plague.”
HINDUISM! that fractal religion with gods sticking out of the gods!
Every time you open the faucet, you get a sink full of gods.
MADRID, do you not see your poetry gives comfort to the wicked?
It does give comfort to the wicked—but it also makes wiser the wise.

(First appeared in Antennae.)