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.
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
and writes some numbers in his secret book.
I know they must be numbers.
He's tapping his foot.
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.
Imitator asks me to share a cab ride to the airport.
I'm unsure of the question, unsure of the feeling.
always a step ahead,
telling me what to say.
I am the usher,
taking good care of you,
helping you through this thing.)
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.
The monkey family trudges in a bundle home.
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.
stay right here,
silent as your childhood chemistry set,
faithful as the apostles. I've
got to blow my nose
runs gently like time
out of the ears
Have a Theory
Itís so easy to trick them.
You can always tell exactly what they need.
memorize their names and when you see them
say those syllables as if youíre singing a twilight song of
a power in this, believe me.
speaking as an expert in my field.
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.
may not be ready for a message of this
magnitude, allegorical thinking being so
unfashionable these days: nevertheless,
assure you that I donít see myself as having any hold
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,
a political animal, am forced to say what Dante said:
they closed their book and
read no more that day.
never let a miracle get the best of me.
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.
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,