Two Poems by Robert James Russell


Hands reaching out to touch me
they shimmy up
pouring out like
chubby children lamenting.

My cement room.
This place.
A room, simply.

Grasses reaching the sky
in transient mobility.

So much promise,
my own desires gone.
Lost but not quite so.
Delineated and
I want my own.

Hot sweat
on my neck.

She claps her hands and
begs that little monster to kiss her.
He refutes.

Little twisted lanyards
of searing pain and heartache
spread thin across a velvety rope
like notches,
decaying in the musky humidity
like the long-gone caress of a lover.

His hands rough,
not like they once were.

Gray strands interwoven
in his chestnut hair.

His smell,
changed some over the years.
Not as sweet now.


(published in Thunderclap! Magazine, March 2011)

You don’t seem too thrilled to be cutting my hair.
You sigh a lot between long-winded dialogues
about your husband, the electrician, and your kids who are
mostly good, just bored. You tell me they have “idle hands” but
I’m not entirely sure you understand the meaning.
You make jokes about
how little time you have to yourself these days –
the recession has hit you hard and you
are working a second job at a bar called Figaro’s.
“It’s alright,” you say sighing again as you
trim the back of my neck with the electric razor
the buzzing loud in my ear.
Your youngest son Eric is a real athlete, you say.
You tell me how he’s “going to be trouble”
because even now the girls are all over him.
“And he’s only ten!” you shout.
The entire time I’m nodding and
watching your nervous ticks – you tuck your hair
behind your ears bite your bottom lip and
rest your hands on your hips.
When our eyes meet you look away quickly –
either I’m not good enough or you’re not,
I’m not sure which.

~ by yearzerowriters on June 28, 2010.

3 Responses to “Two Poems by Robert James Russell”

  1. Marvellous – “Stylist” is amazing – it captures the absolute triviality of everyday life that is simultaneously soemthing almost universal

  2. Thanks, Dan. It’s the little things, I think.

  3. Yeah, the stylist one is better.

    Though as Dan knows, I hate poetry, and the first one has some okay lines in it, but there are other lines in there that I just cringe at. I think it was the ‘cement room’ bit with the ‘simply’ on the end. But really, all poetry has this effect on me, and i will never understand why anyone bothers to write it.

    The stylist one is maybe better because it’s lyrical prose? And the last lines are good.


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