Sunday Morning

Michael Robbins is the author of the poetry collections Alien vs. Predator (Penguin,...


Must you flush the toilet
while I’m in the shower?
That’s a metaphor. It means:
one system, contrary aims.

Let us say that I have come
from beyond the Lyme fields
and ironworks of mortal men.
Would you flush the toilet then?

It’s a yes or no question.
Sometimes I think you’re in a coma
for there is no pupillary response
when I shine a penlight in your eyes.

Still speaking metaphorically.
We’re all adults here,
except for the children.
We all have someplace we’d rather be.

Once, not many winters ago,
a man could record his favorite show
on magnetic tape in plastic casing
and enjoy it at his leisure.

Or so I imagine it,
living alone with the cat,
my amanuensis and all that.
Visitors tell her that she’s fat.

Anthony comes around to play
“Burning Airlines Give You So Much More”
on my brand-new Yamaha.
I read him what I wrote that day.

I step from the capsule
out onto the surface of my apartment.
From here the earth looks like the set
of the Verizon Halftime Report.

I make the beast with no backs.
Some day a real rain will come
and wash all the scum
off my sheets.

I support the unborn child’s right
to be spared the ghastly sight
of this brightly burning world,
this swiftly tilting dumpster.

All new speedways boogie
and misty mountains hop.
The telephone’s been cut off,
I’m waiting for the clocks to stop.

If you love something, set it free—
that’s stupid. Keep it close.
If I’ve killed one man,
I’ve killed most.

I’m having a feelings attack
out of the blue. Into the black
site, the multisided mudslide.
I’m just trying to find the bridge.

I Skype with Rose.
The heart knows what it knows.
Rose says, “Go put a shirt on.”
All my friends are Scorpios.

I live alone with the cat.
It’s been a long time.
Been a long lonely
lonely lonely lonely lonely time.


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