February 21, 2017

Amy Elizabeth Robinson


O Kellyanne,
I have waited a lifetime
to see you at a loss for words. Your tired pauses

on Today were pregnant with the chance
you might slow down,
or change your mind.
That vague breeze
that wafts behind you
in the White House leaves—
does it brush your gilded hair and offer
you whispery versions of truth
when the questions come?
They keep coming.
The questions.
Damn them. Right?

You might wake, Kellyanne,
one of these days
and catch a small feeling
in the back of what I hope
is a muscular heart.
A rough shadow of loneliness,
or a soupçon of regret. Perhaps.
Perhaps not.

You’re a free agent, Kellyanne.
You offer yourself up
to the temples of information
and they take you,
with your thick-lashed sleepy eye,
your slippery seizure of words, your
knowing smile. And yet, and yet
today your fatigue defeated you,
and I watched,
with a not-very-conflicted heart.
You’ve been cast out from
some of the dens
you relished hunting in
and I study every frozen image
that drifts across my screen
to detect some modicum of hurt.

Does it hurt, Kellyanne?
It’s true almost
every image of you
is a headshot, skin taut, you suspended
in vocal, televisual motion, your chirpy stream of words
stripped away, and what is left is just
what is left of you. Which isn’t much.
A thin-boned matronly waif.
Glaring blue shadow.

O Kellyanne,
you looked much healthier
in the summertime. It hurts
to watch you disintegrate.
It’s not a zero-sum world.
If you get better maybe
we’ll all get better, together.
But first you have to stop lying.

I am trying to find you.
In my good moments I could
even try to love you,
let you be my shadow.
But your foxhole scares me,
and the circles under your eyes
make me feel almost
inexpressibly sad.

Poets Respond
February 21, 2017

[download audio]


Amy Elizabeth Robinson: “The pace of news now is dizzying, but through it all I have developed a strange fascination with Kellyanne Conway. I watch every video interview she does, sometimes several times. Eventually, after watching the fatigued disaster of her Today Show interview in the wake of the Flynn resignation, I realized I had to write something other than a Facebook post in order to understand my compulsion, and to try to get a little closer to her as a human and not just as a slippery image in a rectangular frame. The Flynn scandal broke on Valentine’s Day, the same day that the Women’s March called for expressions of #RevolutionaryLove, and this poem is what emerged from that strange synchronicity.” (website)

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August 2, 2015

Amy Elizabeth Robinson


What do you give to
people who have to
go on living?

If I could give that
thing a shape,
a weight,
a meaning,
I would send it
to them now—

the mothers.
Each would open
her box with
trepidation and
then marvel at

What do you give to
people who have to
go on living across
the courtyard
from one another?

If I could give that
thing a texture,
like breeze-drenched feathers,
or water seeping
through heavy stone,
I would send it
to them now—

the mothers.
Each would open
her box with
hope-taut aching
bones and
then release

What do you give?
I’d like to know
what size box to
have on hand.
I’d like to know
how many open
spaces such a
box can handle.
I’d like to know
I’ll never need
one for

Poets Respond
August 2, 2015

[download audio]


Amy Elizabeth Robinson: “I live in Northern California and have an eight-year-old daughter. This week an eight-year-old girl went missing from her apartment complex in Northern California. Her body was found in a dumpster, raped and killed by a fifteen-year-old boy who lived in the same apartment complex. I am also raising a son, in a world that valorizes violence and instant gratification, that feeds us alienation and shame. Both of those children’s mothers are alive. How are they going to live? I sat outside my children’s bedroom while they fell asleep tonight, and cried, feeling like there is nothing I could give, nothing that could help, and fearing, just fearing. So I had to write. But of course words are missing.” (website)

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