Anthony Robinson

Travel Poem

Beware of the faded hieroglyphs and memories of friendships.
These things can only hinder oxygen intake.

Watch out for advice of the sort given in cookies and on the sides of buses.
You'll absorb more from a thin-limbed girl with a basket of fishes.

Loneliness is a lie. A man's beard can be a hiding place for his finer things.
Sleep the sleep of restless Parisians. Avoid Canadians—they make frisky
          bedfellows.

If you hitchhike, don't get picked up by men driving to Oslo.
It's very cold there, and you'll catch pneumonia.

Read Plato but be suspicious of Socrates. To commit oneself to virtue
is no big deal. People do it all the time.

Take this piece of paper and fold into thirds. There, like that.
Wear it next to your breast. It will keep vampyrs away.

When in the throes of ecstasy (or close to them, for throes are sometimes
only identifiable as such after the throe unthroes), finger this sheet.

After gutting the large country, after treading through boys and kangaroos,
after affecting an accent, after unfretting fingers from your sun-bleached hair.

After the conversion of the Jews, after forty-one poems about mowing,
take a shower. Don't be afraid of being watched. It's natural to want to
          touch.

Dwell in the nobody for a moment. Fly your flag, unfold the creased
          parchment
that is a map to someone's darkest heart. Repeat after me.

This indolent scrap can be used like a rosary. He approaches with a collar.
Every animal has sharper hearing than man—go on, ask me what I know.

At the end of loving, read these words aloud by the greenish light
seeping in through the cracks, read this man who is mad, who is for you.


Anthony Robinson teaches writing at the University of Oregon, and is a poetry editor with the Northwest Review, and the new journal The Canary. Recent work appears in: Xconnect: Writers of the Information Age, Chase Park, Spinning Jenny, parlorgames, Salt River Review, Snow Monkey, Fourteen Hills and other journals.

Anthony Robinson can be contacted at bobnewhartfan@yahoo.com