ROBYN ART

 

MUSCLE MEMORY

 

If we can believe the metrics of January’s homeostatic trudge

pasted directly into the hypertext of the inscrutable, algorithmic sky

it’s like being bummed in a general-sort-of-way then noticing

the cute-in-a-rednecky-way guy fingering the drill attachments at Lowe’s.

My high school experiences mostly stoned-under-the-bleachers moments; (Ah,

Youth! part money shot, part alligator death roll) The survey revealed I had

amazing powers of self-actualization despite my crappy work ethic. Sometime

during the Monday-to-Friday survival shuffle, we decide what we need is more

unguents in our life. If I’d known X, I would have moved someplace

forward-thinking and piney, taken a personal day merely to breathe and depilate.

Bee-keeping, circus school, distress flares all along the occupation zone,

all those snow days with the kiddies trolling YouTube for videos of cute cats

riding vacuum cleaners and Sponge Bob dancing to Gangnam Style

remixes, Seriously, if I’d known Y, I would have what? What? What? What?




































VARIANTS OF THE SHARK STORY

              

It would be more visible at night.

It would hate everything, like respectable teenagers everywhere.

It would be more field surgery, less Labradoodle. If a tree,
less maple, more fir.

Itself and not fully itself, like bees in Emily Dickinson.
(Dickinson: confidante, botanist, consumate giver of TMI.)

It would be one giant powerpoint of measure and countermeasure.

It would never say “Anyhoo” or use the phrase, “Slice of life.”

It would curate an amazing reading of chain letters.

It would love less in a docudrama, more in a theme park, kind of way.

In the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story, it would be the part where we were
totally happy, until we weren’t.











SKIN IN THE GAME

 

The siege, day three, all night swapping places, as in a hostage exchange,

              at the bedside of the sleeplesssly-frightened child (unlike in, say,

the war zones, where children have to drink their water filtered through a dirty sock) waking

              to the morning’s archival light and the usual headlines of mass shootings and flesh-eating

diseases (Note to the NRA: they’re putting MDMA in the drinking water!) December’s slurred

              idiom like the conflation of lie with lay (Primeval Beaver: recent archeological find,

not name of actual nineties prog-rock headliner) the birds yukking it up

              on the wire (McDonald’s Express: for all those times you thought to yourself, wow,

I’d love to eat at McDonald’s more, but man, who’s got the time?) Quagmire. Quagmire.

              The world of dew being, still, the world of dew (I’m avoiding eternal hellfire

and damnation. Ask me how!) In the wild, the father lion will kill his own cubs

              to regain his mate’s waning attentions; (noted Public Figure

on the immigrant population: They live; They shoot) the common goldfish will expand

              to fit its own particular container; all along the interstate, the lanes strewn

with dead deer and the broken bodies of trees (Dear Oracle, if a professed Pentecostal-turned-

Anabaptist member of Sovereign Citizens United manages to throw his voice from a gun shop in

Memphis, Tennessee all the way to the West Memphis, Arkansas Home Depot parking lot,

does it make a sound?)












Robyn Art grew up in Lincoln, Massachusetts, hometown of the legendary eighties-indie band “They Might Be Giants” known in turn for their 1988 album, Lincoln. She is the author of The Stunt Double in Winter (Dusie 2007) which was a Finalist for the 2005 Sawtooth Poetry Prize as well as the 2005 Kore Press First Book Award. Her newer manuscript, Amplitude, Awe, was recently selected as a Finalist for the 2014 Burnside Review Book Award. Her chapbook, Farmer, Antagonist was selected by Jennifer L. Knox as the winner of the 2015 Burnside Review Chapbook Contest. Recent work can be found in The Denver Quarterly, The Illanot Review, Blueline, The New Guard Review, La Petite Zine, Tinderbox, Coconut, Leveler, and WordFor/Word.
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