Five poems by Robert Margolis


It was not intended
to convey
a message other than
the dark street
where, walking, you
burned your hand
not intending to
be seen
nor to convey
a message
wherein your fingers
touched the sky
leaving welts
on all the stars,
pieces of skin
above your head
a man with a mask
his eyes
holes, your hand
he sang
to you
before it was
and even afterwards
on the dark street,
seeing sky,
you remembered
his eyes.


The warm ovens that say crematoria
are someone you once loved–
in the lines, in the worn-out ovens

The concrete floor of the room
becomes you, a mirror
staring back at the memory
of windows and dead leaves

Falling outside your window
are dead leaves, so many colors
and you once knew all of them

Before the time of your time,
which is to say: your time.


In a tiny room,
in the Hiroshima dance hall,
an old man
sings Kaddishim

A universal dream machine
tells you not to go home:
There are too many scars
on her body

The number you have forgotten
is inside your black book

Holes in the sky
The brown earth
Digging a hole in the sky
Welts on your skin

My hands are burning
as I dip them
into the river of you

Take my hand,
little one
Bathe in the river

Are you digging?
We are digging a hole
for our god you
We lay the bodies there
one at a time

We had a memory
You were there
You held my hand
I carried you to the river

The smell of you
on my body

Please help me to understand
I have come from a far place
My eyes are cold
There are lesions on my body

There are lesions on your body

You are being forgiven
for being far away

I sing you in the river

(“Minamata, Japan is known worldwide due to Minamata disease, a neurological disorder caused by mercury poisoning. The disease was discovered in 1956. A local chemical plant was blamed for causing the disease by emitting untreated wastewater to the Minamata Bay.” — Wikipedia)


Afterwards, you weren’t home
The war was over
We stood on your front porch

The windows
were broken
and in my heart
a small boy
broke all the windows
but you didn’t care

It was only
the start
of somebody’s

We waited for an hour
Then we turned around
& started killing

On the hill
On the hill

On the beautiful hill

We ran
and when somebody said
“I love you”
we all of us
like hyenas
& started killing

like hyenas


When you say “that which endures”
you speak of a stone
in the park where we lived
that summer before the accident

In that park there lived a stone
whose granite face was your face,
whose sacred eyes were your eyes,
whose body sang of your body
gathering the sun to it::
The stone of your body

We lived in our stone for many years
until the woodcutters came
and hacked away the trees
Broken branches leaned brokenly
beneath metal teeth

But the stone remained a stone
Your eyes were still you
There were no other gods before you
Even in the fields your wilderness,
the stone endured

Even now in the empty fields your wilderness,
the stone endures.


Robert Margolis is a writer, filmmaker and actor.  He co-directed the film  “The Definition of Insanity,” which is available here. He has also been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship for study abroad.  He currently lives in New York City.

4 comments on “Five poems by Robert Margolis

  1. tanya distol
    October 11, 2013

    How sad and lonely one can be… Beautiful poems.

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    September 4, 2014

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  3. Dylan Margolis
    March 11, 2015

    Beautiful… Absolutely stunning poems done with a clarity such that the words appear in my mind as moving images.

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This entry was posted on October 9, 2013 by in poetry.


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