robert plath, five poems

the basin

i gazed into
the smudged

a pair of
bloodshot eyes
dark circles
three-day stubble

then i looked down
cuz i was sick
of my face
& even more sick
of my soul

& that’s when
i saw a spider
in the sink

its thin legs
getting hung up
in droplets
of water

it seemed bent on
getting out of its fix
much more than i did

so i nudged it
into a cup
& brought it outside

& it moved about
happy to be unstuck

& i went back inside
& made black tea
& scratched the cat
behind her ears
& put on my favorite
leonard cohen record
& opened the curtains

the little spider soul
w/ in
nudging me
little by little
from the dark basin
& into the light

swirling & solitary

when i was 7 years old
i’d lie down on a bank
of frozen snow
in a clearing in the woods
i’d look up & there were
just tiny crystals swirling
in the wind
against the blue sky
my house was gone
my asshole father was gone
my siblings gone
even my mother was gone
i’d pretend i was some animal
that lived outside
& altho i was shivering
& flakes were on my neck
& down my back
& the north wind snapped
at my face
& i was all alone
it felt good
like this roofless solitary life
would be something
worth suffering for


i was 10 years old
listening to AC/DC’s
song “big balls”
on my suitcase
when my father
passed by
& stopped & yelled,
what the fuck
are you listening
to that dirty shit for?!
go to one of yr asshole
friend’s houses if you
want to play that shit!
never play that
beneath my roof!
& he walked away
but i kept playing it low
over & over
knowing my father
had nothing
on those beautiful

punk as fuck

baudelaire—i heard
yr heart stopped
in yr mother’s arms
but we really know
that you died
2,000 times before
when you were vertical
moving down sidewalks
among the so-called living
yr bodily death
just a technicality
ah, if only i could’ve died
along w/ you when you
wore green hair
& strolled the boulevards
w/ visions of maggots
dancing the can-can
across the cadavers
of the masses
if only i could’ve died
w/ you as you swigged
the blood red wine
from the threads
of the darkest bottle
in the universe
died side by side
in yr cloud of hashish
as diamond yellow
eyes of yr cats
the clocks of paris
& you injected midnight
into yr mad vessels

a poem for the new decade

give me more nose bleeds
red rivulets running down my chin
& tiny bloody pools at my uneven soles

give me more demons cracking
their dark knuckles at the foot of my bed
their barrages of wild hooks until i’m
black & blue souled 24/7/365

give me louder ringing in my ears
like an endless flatline alert
the high pitch of motherfucking madness
drowning out all other voices

give me more hollow-tipped shitty thoughts
ricocheting off the bullet-chipped walls
of my inner skull until blue gunsmoke curls
out of my ears

give me more phantoms
to add to the stack w/in the ever-growing
silo of ghosts where i reside
my cries lost in the tower of vapor

give me more vertigo until the room
spins 1,200 mph
as fast as the earth on its axis
& i do nothing but puke upon
this dizzy cemetery planet

give me more midnight in my vessels
until my heart is a pure obsidian fist
in this white bone cage

give me more of the circular saw blade sun
buzzing at my jugular & threatening decapitation

give me more boxcutter slashing memories
of my ogre father until my brain is a 3 lbs ball
of gray zig zag frankenstein stitches

give me more loneliness until the terrible walls
become a trash compactor crushing me into roadkill

give me more death until the grim reaper’s
cold bone hands are welded to my busted paws

give me hangovers that zip me up
in a body bag for three days until
i burn holes in it w/ a resurrection cigarette
& i finally welcome slim rays of light

give me more dead starry nights
so i may bathe lost in the twinkling
milky corpse light

& feeling its wish-less cold silver
upon the knobs of my crooked spine
rise for another decade of poetry

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