Kirk Robinson, Garin Cycholl, and William Allegrezza

Telling Time


“not at present greatly in fashion in this kingdom”

we switched and lost
time so that
even my birthday skips a
year now;

i assume it is
never to have happened.
a new calendar and hope—
               yet the fire
barely warms me, and
the letters that explain
how we have changed
sing hollow.

this afternoon
i watch mallards
come out of reeds together
wing and wing. they
make better use of
time than me.


the rest



I-81—June 8, 2015

He is two bars from
Bristol, the guitar
tuned badly and the
bridge too lovesick
to take him across
that new river. Sappho
won’t answer, her
hair still under the
dryer, her nails too
slick to pick up the
phone. “Where’s the
snow?” he asks the
next rest stop candy
behind him, ahead
only Radford.

March 20, 5077

on                 to listen                                                                              tell
                                                                                                                                the snow
                among our reactions
we heard a voice
boxed                                                                                  or listen

the bottom is flying                                           it
through a season (under
water, it’s hard to believe)                        to
and is destined to fall.
we watched the strand
and crafted vapors with 
our reef lights.                                                                                                                 all.
on is above
is an all. 

Ninety-Five on Sept 5, 1965

Charlie Sheen crapped his pants
five times the day that
Pakistani troops marched into Kashmir.

Kashmir has been a site
of contention since before my
birth—an unlined, angry border.

Bordering along a moderate line,
Zhou Enlai addressed the Bandung
Conference with his soothing theses.

Theses, ninety-five of ‘em
nailed to my garage door,
asking, Where is my wife?

Wife of my youth, where
‘d you get those charms,
those relentless Cold War eyes?

Eyeing Kashmir, a leftward shift
in their policy, the Pakistanis
marched forward into ceaseless conflict.

Conflict in South Asia would
reignite a few years later.

A sentence schoolboys would memorize.

Memory of the war with
China, with Iraq, with the
vaguely non-aligned tribes there.

There were few things I
wouldn’t snort, he recalled for
his biographer. Cocaine, caffeine pills...

Pill of my heart, welcome
me back to Kashmir, as
Zep plays, grinding and loud.

Loudly. Not even the Tashkent
pact would give pause to
the revving tanks. Endless war.

Wars weren’t what we feared;
the shadowy borders of mine
enemies struck through my heart.

Hearts stiffened in the moments
before the United Nations vote;
did they have the bomb?

Bombs dropped. Bullets flew. Flags
tumbled. Trumpets sounded. Checks were
cashed. RTE tins cracked open.

Open road (at least for
those of us who could
afford the gas). Pedal down...

Down the line, they toed
a moderate stance, recalling the
shootings of 1962, the dead.

The dead keep speaking, talking
in their curious, open-mouthed
way. Awake, they refuse silence.

Silent—like that morning along
the border where we pledged
our lives to the cause.

‘cause of you and your
cheatin’ ways, darlin’. ‘cause of
you and your cheatin’ ways...

Ways of making you talk.
But talking about what? Movies
where they’re always named Charlie.

Kirk Robinson is an Associate Professor of English at Calumet College of St. Joseph. His poems have appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review, RATTLE, Poetry Northwest, Third Coast, and a number of other literary magazines. He lives in Munster, IN with his wife Kate and their four children.

Garin Cycholl's recent work includes Horse Country, a collection of shorter poems that reconsiders the iconography of the horse in American culture, and ham, a one-act Hamlet set in eastern Kentucky.

William Allegrezza edits Moria Books, the webzine MossTrill, and teaches at Indiana University Northwest. He has previously published many poetry books, including Step Below: Selected Poems 2000-2015, many poetry reviews, articles, and poems. He has also edited three books, including The Salt Companion to Charles Bernstein and La Alteración del Silencio: Poesía Norteamericana Reciente.
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