The Day Mostly
It turns its back on you in your haste
For the thoughtlessness of giving themes
Gathered from impersonal histories of suffering.
Let’s try to make it cut that out. What about
The lead veins of the stained glass – windows
Of the spirit reading a red and blue hornbook.
The last of the leaves is wise to sketch
The history of a turning spectacle. Outside
Everything is green and goes unnoticed underfoot.
You made it this far with your puzzles and canteen
To give up on the purposefulness now. You’re off
To a place not less than everywhere at once.
As if it Were that Easy
On the river rock you take in
The articulation of water rushing.
I would be a no one if not for you.
I would leave no fingerprint.
The wind picks up – the gray froth
Makes it as if the spirits like
Seeing us composed in this bright type together.
Your leg refracts where it enters the water.
The alluvial silt obscures your feet.
I have something I’ve been meaning to ask.
Where and when did we meet?
I have no clue of a time you were not there.
But you laugh: silly.
Somehow we were both swallowed
Back in the day – two voices
Echoing one another out of time.
To Be Misunderstood
Under black umbrellas
Faces hide as I pass –
A peek of drab routine
Ducking in and out of offices.
I am a rumor confined
To their elbows at the bar
When they stop for a beer.
I never claimed to be perfect.
I am a listener without
A desire to interrupt
The thoughts they would keep
Quiet as a mistress.
The Garden Under the Garden
The laughter isn’t aimed at us.
It’s just too far off in the distance
For our radar to pick up the signal
That beckons the people in the clouds
To clap and dance. You and I –
In this room alone with only windows –
Have been together as long as I can remember
And sharing the miracles of the gifted
Keeps us innocent from actually talking.
Only touching is as lonely as the rain.
A Sense of Place
Without flowers or a narrow wind
Now Friday’s sunset in Brooklyn’s deep
Is an introspective glimpse of parlors and patios.
Gentlemen in dark suits pawn off their cards.
They can’t get you out unless you’re in
A no-fly-zone. And the detailing shops
And the tattooing joints run along
Coney Island Avenue in the falling rain.
Gazing at a woman with child-bearing hips,
I think of you back in high school days.
Your tussled good looks. In my heart
Life comes pitched like a hard curve.
In this basement I jot down our lives,
And head out to get cigarettes at the corner deli.
I have made the trip so many tines,
So many times. I fear no one is counting.
Mebane Robertson is a writer and musician based in Brooklyn. These poems are from Mebane’s chapbook Blue Light Room, published in 2014 by Underground Books in their poetryUnBound series. A new volume of poetry, An American Unconscious, is forthcoming in December 2014 from Black Widow Press. Read more about Mebane’s work, and check out his Signal from Draco: New & Selected Poems, here.