About the Poems
by Anthony Robinson
A long time ago, the poet Aaron Belz mentioned that it would be cool, if we ever met, to smoke hash and listen to the Pixies. When I finally did meet Mr. Belz on the night (or early morning) of December 13th, he spied me at the baggage claim (where I was eyeing Vanilla Fudge drummer Carmine Appice and trying to get the nerve to talk to him) and walked up, yellow bow-tie askew, nay, threatening to fall off his neck, and said to me, perfectly seriously: “I’m really drunk.” Of course, he wasn’t really drunk. We walked out to his car and I was pleased that we drove to my hotel listening to Surfer Rosa. He didn’t have any hash though, so that adventure will have to wait until another time. Later, in my hotel lobby, we compared the relative merits of Frost and Stevens over whiskey and beer. Six months later, I scribbled this poem on an envelope while I was supposed to be paying attention to a lecture on Faulkner. I paid enough attention to glean the quote.
‘taping the lips’
In the middle of writing this poem on trying to not be in love while America was attacking Iraq and blowing things up and Francophobia was on the rise, The Canary editor Josh Edwards showed up at my house. He sat on my bed while I finished the poem, and I think I used snippets of our conversation in the poem, as they occurred. He was reading aloud from a Brandon Downing book, too, so maybe some Downing dust rubbed off on the finished product. Shortly after completing it, I gave a public reading to a room full of geriatrics and working-class poets. They stared at me like I was a weirdo. In any case, this is where the title of my manuscript came from. I said (or maybe Josh said): “Lucky error! That’s the manuscript title.” I proceeded to center the title in a large italic font in a blank word document, print a copy, and skewer it on the nail that’s still inexplicably protruding from my bedroom door. It’s still there, the title page. This is one of the poems in the book that tries to explicitly address both love-lust-longing and our destructive nature. Humans can be really selfish, awful creatures. But it’s nice to be in love. No, wait. It sucks.
Simply what it says. I’ve got a night to destroy. I better get crackin’.
Ode to Joy
Written at the beginning of a friendship/unbearably wonderful and painful unrequited fake love affair with another poet. I tried to be hopeful and sad in the poem. Excited, and self-negating. We always know that the monkey eventually goes to heaven. Of course, I’m tipping my hat at Frank O’Hara here, too.
So long sonnet
This is the most recent poem, and would be my kiss-off to the fake love affair if it were a real love affair. I put Laurel Snyder in this poem because she’s sweet. I also put Brenda Hillman in here because I dig her work, and she’s also very sweet. In fact, despite the kiss-offish intentions, this is a really sweet poem, I think. Not in a slangy way, not “sweeeeet!” as “cool” but sweet in the maudlin way—hopefully without being too maudlin. I’m not sure if there’s such thing as a gooseflower, but I hope there is.