:: Article

Four Poems

By Rob Plath.

A Pinch Of Sand In The Hourglass

I see them walking along
the girls of August,
thumbing their nose at gravity.

For now they are like delicious candy apples
strapped to a skeleton.

But one day the worms will come
wiggling out from the core,
and it’ll be winter.

A Strange Pact, Indeed.

I remember in Brooklyn
one time this gang
came into our neighborhood
a few nights in a row
and robbed a car and shoved
an old man.

For a few days after,
my father and my uncle
sat smoking in two parked cars
waiting with two large crow bars
across their laps.

On the fourth night,
the guys came down the street
once again
and Uncle Victor and my father
clubbed them all.

There were four of them
but they did not escape
the steel bars.

When neighbors heard
the screams
some other men came out
and started kicking the gang.

The cops asked no questions.

Strange, though, that all the men
in the buildings, including my uncle and father
never came to the rescue
of the children and wives
when one of them was being beaten
within the row of apartments
by their own husband or father.

Just like with the cops, no questions
were asked.

Always a brutal difference
between the outside
and within.

To Hell With All Of The So-Called Cities Of Love.

To hell with all of the so-called cities of love…

Give me a tiny room inhabited by two bodies, seated femur to femur,
ribcage to ribcage,
on an old thrift store couch, two bodies smoking cigarettes, sipping
beer from bottles,
their bare heel-meat pressing down against a burned, ripped strip of
carpet, and finding
in this small, smoky space what the rest of the world wouldn’t ever
find in their next thousand lives:
that the natural magnetism of the marrow always defeats the weak
draw of the shallow chambers
of the heart…

Give me this instead and I’ll happily go into the Void without so much
as a sigh.

My Grandmother’s Mirror.

I have a large, old wall mirror that belonged
to grandmother
but I can’t bring myself to hang it.
It has a fancy carved, dark wooden frame,
she hung it over an old dresser in her apartment
in Brooklyn.
I remember on the last day of every December
she’d write ‘Happy New Year’ on it
in some kind of white foam.
This old glass that my grandmother,
once a flapper in the 1920’s,
used to stare into as her arms scissored
over her head and she let her fringed dress drop
over her shoulders and settle on her young frame,
same glass she gazed into as smoke from the ashtray
resting on the dresser curled up past her newlywed
same glass she gazed into as she learned her husband
was married to two different women at once,
same glass she gazed into as she got ready
to go to Reno, Nevada, only place that
granted divorces in the 1930’s,
same glass she stared into after returning from
her nervous breakdown,
same glass she gazed into as she finally broke the news
to herself that she really had cancer,
same glass she gazed into adjusting her fake breast
in her brassiere,
same glass she gazed into as the cancer metastasized,
same glass she gazed into at the large zigzag scars
across her belly.
No I can’t bring myself to hang this beautiful unbroken
mirror full of ugly luck.

Rob Plath is a 39 year-old poet from New York. A former student of Allen Ginsberg, he has published hundreds of poems in well over one hundred and fifty different magazines and journals. His books include Ashtrays and Bulls (Liquid Paper Press 2003), An IV Bag Full of Bile (Scintillating Publications 2007), Whiskey and Clay (Pudding House Publications 2008), Squeezing Blood From The Alphabet (Erbacce Press 2008), Tapping Ashes in the Dark (Lummox Press 2008), There’s A Little Hobo In My Heart Who Forever Gives The Finger To Humanity (d/e/a/d/b/e/a/t press), A Bellyful of Anarchy (Epic Rites Press) and Nicotine Stained Scribblings From A Hammock In The Void (Good Japan Press).

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Wednesday, August 12th, 2009.