Spring/Summer 1993, Volume 10.2


Bruce Robinson

Bruce Robinson (M.A., Johns Hopkins University) is currently certification specialist with the New York State Department of Education. His work has appeared in Fiction, Onthebus, Spoon River Quarterly, and Sow's Ear.



The car responds: listen.
With the bite and slip of your tires
you want to hit the inside of the curve
at its latest apex, the point
that lets you drive yourself for ever and ever
until the world curves again.

You want to pin your wheels
to that precise point,
to turn in almost the way you comb your hair,
and to do so each time
with smooth ease, like a word
that redefines mobility

as a change of prospect.
You want to brake late,
don't even want to brake at all
let the car's weight settle,
turn in, build speed
through each tangible bend

on a long downhill
to a turn where suddenly
you're alive to the idea that you can
-at last, for once,-
enter early,
spin wide with the most natural of forces,

let helmet, heart,

head hurl past the line you've always taken, and then how easy it is, light at last, to track that release, not unpromising

but promising nothing,
that while it waits for a proper word
is called destination.


"Only we can speak of a beauty"

Only we can speak of a beauty
refined by

in those desperate days, my daughter.

Daily the corpses lay down
in the street,

lying easy now, with enough,
for once,

to eat
in those desperate days, my daughter.

We look for something simple, like a

for explanation. Very little

explains starvation
in those desperate days, my daughter.

All are equal when none
survive; reserve

your pity:
in those desperate days no one thrived,

my daughter.
A wall could be our world,

in fact, would be sufficient:
gentle smudge

of lava, shadow of a cloud. Or that
sudden clap

of hands before we
cry out loud

in desperate praise, my daughter.


Cold Storage

our desks are glacial, our pens riveted to fingers numbed with cold; ... our mountains are delightful in their excess of horror;..." -Marquise de Sevigne

Frost on (just about) everything,
from pumpkins to prose. Words
just about glacial, scars

on the nerve, like thick water,
iced isinglass, only lies avail,
producing heat by means of fiction.

Wounds on the porch all winter
cold feel the cold polarity mulling
in your hands, feel it from the house,

all that's bitter contracting
like the head of whatever it was
that became known as turtles,

internal telescope, the slow pent fury
of power, jealous light
the dense delusive stars

you wish upon all night
(it's the magnetic north
and opposites attract)

And when the sun warms the porch
words scratching at the door
and rising from the snowline

in a pen kept warm and ready
the way the old stories tell,
then for a while, all's well, just about,

but all cracks stiff and cold,
sun failing like the star
they've always said it was,

horizon a crease, a fold,
word, world, old Sol compressing
like that old enemy, like paper.

like paper.