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Robbins on a Half Shell by Quinn White | Word Riot

January 15, 2014      

Robbins on a Half Shell by Quinn White

Michael Robbins lives in a cashmere jet
that circles the earth at a speed ideal for
writing allusive poetry, poetry that waves
a chainsaw and wears a dolphin mask.
He sometimes wants to deplane.
Penguin requests that he wait until his next book drops.
Michael Robbins feels like a hen.
This high, he is nervous about fireworks,
how Elizabeth Bishop wove their startle over
an armadillo in a gesture of stanzas so ideal that he commissions the words
hand sewn beneath the silk lining of his calfskin jacket.
He shits in a bathroom whose taps run holy water.
He cries on the toilet because it’s hard to tell any difference
between himself and the stars. He wants to deplane.
Penguin suggests eyeliner and glitter
for the Rolling Stone cover shot by Annie Leibovitz
who perches Michael on a horse who loves flying.
The stallion wears, as if he’s won the derby, a 400 red rose garland.
Michael Robbins dreams of lightning and time machines.
He’s heard talk of a last dodo egg.
He straps a passenger pigeon to his throat as he reads aloud to revise
a poem in which zombie Ginsberg browses a supermarket for brains.
I’ve taken notes in the cockpit for weeks.
Michael tells me, “This has gone far enough.”
Like the paper doll he is, he folds
legs into stomach, head into pelvis, arms into chest.
He is a postcard.
I stand in his wake as oxygen masks drop.

Screen shot 2014-01-16 at 9.43.24 PMAbout the author:

Quinn White is the author of My Moustache (Dancing Girl Press, 2013) and Orienteering (Origami Poems Project, 2013). Quinn’s work appears in or is forthcoming from journals such as Gargoyle, Sixth Finch, Weave Magazine, 491 Magazine, and Cloud Rodeo.

    4 comments to Robbins on a Half Shell by Quinn White


      typo in last line

    • OmG, I just cannot fathom the fuss over this guy! My distaste for all things Robbins runs very deep. I wrote a little poem about him, too. really! Like two days ago! Boy I hate that guy! I wonder, though, if the editors at Poetry are maybe having a go at us? Like they’re thing, “Now THIS’ll really stir things up!” To me, the only thing startling about his criticism and poetry is a) it of gets published b) anyone buys into his too-cool-for-attitude, as if poking the bear was brand new, or that poetry never labored before under the hands of a no-talent hack.

      whoops! The phenomenon of his tiny, twisted fame does seem to set off my inner Bitter Hipster! Anyway, I like your poem there! I like the way it seems at times almost ambivilant, doling out admonishment and admiration in almost equal doses. He’s magical one minute, and grossly infantile the next. I love that you describe him, at times, with the sort of lush Deep Image he hates so petulantly. “Wove their startle over,” all by itself, is worth the price of admission.

      Also, congrats on the Pushcart nomination!

    • Okay, actually, after a couple of readings, I think I can safely say the poem isn’t all that ambivalent after all. I love all the pampered rock star imagery, funny and just a little mean. Nice!

    • Jack

      Great poem, well done..


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