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Robin Reagler

The Age of Irony


Here in a morning world of silver birds and silver dollars
the acrobats snicker,
the orphans lick their fists,
a majorette glides down the newly paved asphalt.
I have a funny feeling about this video.

The mothers blaze at the appointed hour.
God calls the wanderer on a pay phone. 
"Hello?" resounds the helpless voice inside the booth. 
The connection is poor, as usual.  It is morning.
A double agent
places his ear on the outside of the glass, hears half the conversation,
and writes some numbers in his secret book.
I know they must be numbers. 
He's tapping his foot.

On the altar
the baby monkeys play a little game.
They outline pictures of things they know on their mother's back--
hyacinth, fire ant, giant raindrop--
And she tries to guess. 
Silver birds sigh in the alcoves.
She is ready for a new game, frankly. 
I can tell by the way she doodles
lines in the dust.
Her pictures echo the thoughts of the booming sun
and an edgy fear of the changing seasons.

The Imitator asks me to share a cab ride to the airport.
I'm unsure of the question, unsure of the feeling.

(My mind races,
always a step ahead,
telling me what to say.
I am the usher,
taking good care of you,
helping you through this thing.)

On the outskirts of this idea
cats are wearing the sacred ponchos
to keep themselves safe from the sneering rain.
The video camera whirs away.
Someone slams down the telephone receiver.  Another recording.
The monkey family trudges in a bundle home.

How can we trust what our eyeballs are telling us?
We don't understand, but we aren't really trying.
We are anticipating paychecks and wondering where to cash them.

You stay right here,
silent as your childhood chemistry set,
faithful as the apostles.  I've got to blow my nose

which runs gently like time
seeping
out of the ears
of time.

So long.


I Have a Theory


Itís so easy to trick them.  You can always tell exactly what they need.

Just memorize their names and when you see them
say those syllables as if youíre singing a twilight song of love.

Thereís a power in this, believe me.

I'm speaking as an expert in my field.

Once the friends and the enemies got mixed up
and wore each otherís tunics.  We all oversleep
on occasion and thatís exactly what happened
to them.  Their genitals felt all stressed out. 

You may not be ready for a message of this
magnitude, allegorical thinking being so
unfashionable these days:  nevertheless, let me
assure you that I donít see myself as having any hold

on you.  Shall we go on?  The friends and the enemies
saw each other through the haze of day, redefining beauty 
instantly, and you will just have to fill in the blanks:
Jesse Helms is reading over my shoulder as I type, and I,

myself a political animal, am forced to say what Dante said:
they closed their book and read no more that day.  

I never let a miracle get the best of me.

Because I am preparing.
I am preparing for my motherís death. 
And although she climbs three hills every day
she is dying
she is dying all the time
and I want to be ready.

I am preparing
for us
all.

Robin Reagler's poems have been published in the North American Review, Ploughshares, Denver Quarterly, Iowa Review, Blip Magazine Archive, American Letters & Commentary, and many other journals. She earned a PhD at the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program and an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop. She is currently the Executive Director of Writers In The Schools (WITS) in Houston, Texas.

 

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