Marilyn N. Robertson
I am Marilyn N. Robertson, a Los Angeles poet. Although I have always read poetry, writing my own work has come more recently. For close to ten years, I have studied with the re-known poet, Suzanne Lummis. My work can be found in Speechlessthemagazine.org http://www.speechlessthemagazine.org/Robertson_WhatHappened.htm, The Boston Literary Magazine, in the online journal Capitol and Main, and I have a Poem of the Month for Writers at Work. 'Rubber Band' was a poem chosen in 2014 for Poetry in the Windows, a grant project of the Arroyo Arts Collective. I heard about Verse-Virtual recently and am excited to join a community of people devoted to artistic self-expression.
Editor's Note: I am thrilled to have discovered Marilyn's work on the Internet. In order to get in touch with her I wrote to Suzanne Lummis who forwarded my email to Marilyn. Thanks Suzanne and Marilyn!
Scene at Dog Beach
After our beach walk I see them
pull up in a faded green Corvair.
It doesn’t take me long to size him up.
You leash the dog, he loiters,
a big guy with thick wavy dark hair
and a paunch. A cigarette dangles
off his lower lip. The two of you
have come to take the dog for a romp.
He barks orders; you snap back.
Your locks droop like hound's ears
on your shoulders. An India print skirt
wraps around your narrow hips.
It’s true, you’re no beauty.
You married him so you could walk
down the aisle, like your friends.
I've seen some women
give it all away for a man--
type his papers, bake him pies,
make do with boxed perms
to save a few dimes only to get left
like a penny on the railroad tracks.
I say, dump him.
Let him keep the dog.
Dogs and guys—they get along.
He’ll find someone else, probably
already has, some bleached blonde willing
to put up with his cheap couch,
smoldering butts, grimy
foam-ringed glasses, the TV
blinking all night like a neon sign
at an all-night diner. Oh, he might
protest, when you leave, might
even start to get rough...
On second thought,
you take the dog.
A bombshell it's not though
it is part of the needed arsenal,
a shiny black chamber trimmed
in gold. On the road, the stoplight
turns red. As she reaches for it,
a tiny missile fires, crimson rises,
worn on one side from so many
intimate encounters with her mouth
defining peaks, rounding curves,
reflected now, a dew-fresh hue
like a genie unleashed with power
to confer a heightened allure,
attraction that turns heads, magically
changing red stop lights to green--
to green, oh no! The top is replaced
in haste. A tiny accident takes place.
Mashed, the missile makes a halting,
bruised retreat, its power compromised,
future transformations crushed.
Message to Shoes
We're not going for your flip-flopping,
your tongue-flapping, your spiky
Fashion means little to us now.
Get our toes out of jail.
Animals have died for us.
It's justice we're after.
You've had miles of chances.
Pinch us and you're dismissed.
Rub us wrong, you fly
to the top of discard mountain.
But don't be put off by our calloused
exterior. Support our aching arches.
Cradle our soles.
Languid, they show off
their hard pointy breasts ,
bendable knees extended
as they model her latest
hand-sewn outfits, lounging
in their mansion crafted
from her old wooden blocks
stacked across the Turkish rug.
My daughter dresses them up
to play girl, she explains, but
if their golden hair becomes
too tangled, she'll cut it off,
dress them in sweats, alter
the conversations. Once
she buried one, dug it up--
Today, for the first time,
she announces that she wants
a Ken doll, to be what, I wonder,
a husband, brother, friend,
a stranger lurking on a corner
making offers? "After all,"
she says, "a girl can dress up
just so long for other girls."
Will she sew him manly
outfits or cross dress him
to spark creative new dialogs?
"No," she sighs, "I want him
because I'm just tired, every
day, of making up excuses
for where he is."
See how my stance shifts
just so, how my hipbone juts?
See how my wrist poses, languid,
how my arm angles out?
Observe how my fingers form
two sharp spikes. Between them,
I summon arson, my lips entrap,
my cheeks hollow.
Watch how I savor acrid tars,
let them smolder, how I toss back
my head then release, blow
a hard little stream.
“Get them before they get you,”
my motto, voiced in a rasp
my dark hair like a shroud
over one eye. I watch, alert
for that spot most tender.
When I find it, I strike
like cold lightening.
Watch out! My crimson
nails leave marks.
I want to be a tough bitch.
That’s right. Watch me do it.
©2015 Marilyn N. Robertson