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Chapel Hill (For Janet)

22 Apr

She greeted me with a warm smile

and soft, kind eyes

to the southern side of heaven.

Since that day, we’ve seen each other less than a handful of times,

but we’ve always made it count.

On the basis of energy alone,

there was a pure connection,

as is if she were one of many

soulmates I’d encountered along my journeys.

Hers is a face that I’d welcome seeing any day

and had she asked me to come back someday to

rent a room from her,

I’m not sure if I would have said no.

In my mind, Chapel Hill will always be synonymous with her;

which is why part of me never left town.

 

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

 

Baby Spa

10 Feb

Bath time is a joyous event in our house.

My wife and I make sure to have everything set up 

before the baby is even undressed.

The coconut oil for his scalp and legs 

sits on the nightstand table.

The space heater is already raring to go in the bedroom.

and the central unit is dialed up to 75 degrees.

The baby’s big dry towel is placed directly next to his pajamas

and sleep sack.

Two more towels await on a rack

to transport him from the tub to the bed.

 

Music is the real key.

We like him relaxed while he gets scrubbed down–

usually some modal jazz with not too many notes playing.

The two small buckets next to his tub in the kitchen

are for soaping and rinsing.

For his bathwater I do a 1 to 2 ratio

of scalding hot and ice cold water from the faucet.

 

Upon immersion he is quickly covered in warm wash cloths

Then we pour warm water over his torso so he doesn’t get the chills.

 

Start with washing the scalp, then onto the face

then down to rest of the body

before ending with his baby feet.

We’re careful to never mix the soap water

with the rinse water.

The baby is then carefully removed from tub 

draped in a dry towel

and transported to the bedroom to be lain down

on another dry towel.

 

The soaked towel is discarded and the third towel

is used to thoroughly dry his hair and body.

We generously apply coconut oil to his scalp, chest, arms and legs.

Some nights we even bust out the wooden brush

with the fine goat hair bristles

to brush his oily hair.

 

The boy is then diapered and soothingly placed in his pajamas and sleep suit

before his mama offers him some “lechita”.

Then we lay him down 

in the king sized bed we bought specifically for him

and hope that he will sleep like royalty

for the next three to four hours. 

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

 

Three Summers in Denton

10 Feb

 

 

I.

Summers in Denton were simple

I’d returned to cement, mend, and let go

of certain relationships.

each day was painstakingly slow

as the Texas heat beat the ambition out of me.

 

Mornings were spent listening to records

checked out from the school library

and trying not to seduce my female housemates ( I barely succeeded).

I spent a lot of time in bed, thinking

and believing I’d made the right decision despite

leaving behind two good jobs and

a rotating bevy of beauties–both young and old.

Though things were on the surface good in Austin,

everything felt slightly off.

 

Moving back to North side of I-35 created new challenges

but it always felt right,

even when things weren’t quite good.

To escape the heat I only moved at night

waking up from naps to the sounds of

70’s soft rock, Bossanova and cool jazz.

I rarely left the house before 6PM,

and at night I stocked grocery store shelves–

arguing with my direct supervisor about my box nightly box count.

I kept a deliberate pace, slow to take things in

and quick to tune things out.

My new life gave me the space to think

and to not think.

I ignored the burgeoning numbness that had yet to peak

but would not thaw completely until nearly 2 winters later.

 

II.

June was a rainy month–one of the rainiest summers of memory.

Lunch breaks were spent at my apartment

lying in bed together, before returning to campus

under the same umbrella–both soaking wet.

It was my first time to ever live alone

First time traveling alone to visit ballparks in other states.

In many ways things were perfect.

Yet still I felt an uneasiness creeping,

I wanted freedom.

But I was afraid to completely embrace it.

I managed to miss out on both realities by sitting on the fence.

Staring down an imminent transition

whether I was ready for it or not.

 

III.

I hit my stride in ’05

spent more loan money on travel than I did books

and the new mattress gifted to me by a friend

came with plenty of good JuJu.

No more road games.

Two (possibly even three) could sleep there comfortably

and I could still get away with giving in to my base desires

(no matter how unattractive the young lady was in the daylight).

 

It was the happiest I’d been in a long time

but I could sense I was ready for something different 

Two years alone had taught me enough.

The road ahead would prove to be a bumpy one,

but it was necessary.

I learned to love to be alone.

Now it was time to learn how to be with others.

The fun (and the weirdness) was just beginning.

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

 

 

Ducks

6 Feb

I shouldn’t have laughed.

I could tell from her face

that she was traumatized by the event.

I certainly saw the tragedy in her story.

She and her (ex) boyfriend

find an injured duck on the roadside,

taking it home

and nursing it back to health;

only to release it back into the wild

at some random pond

and witness the duck get torn to shreds

by the ducks native to that pond.

I cried. Cried from laughter

because it was one of the saddest stories I’d ever heard–

one so poignant that I could envision her sharing it

in a creative writing class as a short story.

It was sad as hell and I felt bad for her.

But that didn’t keep me from seeing the humor in it also.

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

 

Limeade

6 Feb

Such a big boy to cross the street all by himself
walked to Braum’s and got a 1/4 cheeseburger, fries, and a giant limeade.
He crossed safely back towards the apartments on Audelia,

deftly maneuvered through traffic like a game of Frogger.
Before his feet even touched the sidewalk there was a splat!
Half of his limeade ran out onto the curb

and down into the street.
Near the bottom of the cup

remained a few sips–with more ice than liquid.


He a took deep hard look at the oncoming traffic
coming from both directions and decided to not go back across.
He ached for the limeade that was lost,
wishing for more than a cup of tap water

to wash down the burger and fries
while he watched Bosom Buddies and It’s a Living

on the 13 inch Magnavox. 

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

Transition Chord

6 Feb

For a very long time in my life

I was the guy that girls dated
right before they met their soul mate,
life partner–the one who was serious enough
to move in with them or marry.

Once the revolving door of evolving
partners stopped spinning,
I soon realized that I was always the transition guy

because I was always the one in transition;
and its impossible 
for a girl wanting to stability

to get serious with a guy like that
unless they were equally as chaotic and unstable.

And though women like that are most times fun in the beginning,

they rarely amounted to anything past a few warm nights,

a handful of memories, and if I was really lucky,

a poem or two. Which of course, worked out fine,

until I became the person craving stability.

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

Creative Differences

6 Feb

He was a mixture of jazz, post-rock, and  post-punk,
a loud, bombastic
instrumental, cacophonous 
free form and improvisation
skulking closest to the underground.


She was structure,
an epic and rehearsed drama
using her commercial appeal  to gain mainstream approval.

Together they made soft soothing melodies,
creating emotional lyrics
written to quiet sunsets

Both styles complicated by their 
conflicting formats.
Neither one better; just different,
depending on one’s tastes.

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

Pedestal

1 Feb

The combination of background music

and her naked body beneath mine

created a magical and visceral image that exists to this day.

Back when the female body

was still a mystery;

when I never took for granted

any woman hopping onto my mattress with me.

When porn wasn’t quite as accessible

and conversation was merely a hurdle

one jumped through to in order to achieve sexual relations.

Before women (and people overall) weren’t such a nuisance. 

There was still an innocence to it all.

In my mind not only were we mugging down,

but we were transcending worlds with each kiss;

achieving our destinies with each bare touch,

and baring our souls through every orgasm. 

Hmm. No wonder I stayed a virgin for so long in my life.

Your boy was just simpin’.

 

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

Shiva

1 Feb

Oh Shiva, Shiva, Shiva,

you are so drunk

and sloppy,

and oh so thick.

I’m so afraid of how easy this appears to be.

 

Oh Shiva, Shiva, Shiva

you just my type

with those juicy hamhocks

and big bright headlights

and proportionate  caboose.

The blemish on the side of your face

under your nose tells me

that you can be had

but at what price?

Nothing is free in the Bay Area

especially time.

 

Oh Shiva, Shiva, Shiva,

are you always this fun? or is the alcohol

that is making you laugh at my joke

about the guy who sitting in the seat next to you

not knowing the difference between creepy and romantic

because he was European.

 

Oh Shiva, Shiva, Shiva

I’m loose and you’re loose

and we’re being so obvious right now that

the other passengers on the train are smirking

as you write your number on a piece of paper

before we reach the Shattuck stop.

 

Oh Shiva, Shiva, Shiva

I hated myself for months

for accidentally throwing that piece of paper

on the way over to my friend’s place.

It was late, and I was drunk and it would take me

days to even remember the brief encounter we had that night.

Which now with clarity, I can see

that it might have been the best possible outcome

for such drunken encounters.

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

Trixie ( For Jennifer Reich)

1 Feb

Trixie and I immediately hit it off

at the karaoke bar that we met.

she was always down to take a drive around the city–

no matter how early or late it was in the morning.

 

Trixie was fearless.

She’d crash any party,

loved getting a taste,

appreciated good music, and 

worked for a video game company.

There was genuine love between us:

platonic, but with a tinge of sexual curiosity.

I think it was our laughter that kept getting in the way 

of us getting it on.

We just liked spending time together

And just wanted to see the other person happy. 

 

Had it been any other night

that we tried to hook up

Perhaps it would’ve been something more celebratory

rather than consolatory.

I’m glad that she stepped in and said she wasn’t ready

because it may have made for some sad balling 

steeped in confusion; full of false starts and delay of games.

 

We salvaged the weekend by driving up the coast

to Monterrey and Pebble Beach; listening to Ween

and stopping every so often

for whatever snack we had a hankering for.

Later that night,

she kissed me goodbye

at the San Jose Caltrans station

and I never saw her again.

 

I knew it wasn’t meant to be because

Trixie couldn’t cook eggs worth a damn.

But Trixie was a damn  good friend. 

I wish I still knew her.

 

 

~Edward Austin Robertson