December 19, 2023

Robert W. King


Today the sky is blue dust
and the mountains blue shadows
against the dust so only
the snow line across the peaks
actually exists, a scribbled
white cursive, words piling up
here and thinning out there,
like the long sentence you’d write
against the sky if you thought
you had that much to say.

from Rattle #34, Winter 2010


Robert W. King: “Where I live, along the front range of the Rocky Mountains, the view to the west is always changing and it never fails to invite poetic attention. One particular day, the snow-capped peaks stood out from every other aspect and helped begin the poem, ‘A Language,’ although the ending—and I always love this—was a surprise.” (web)

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March 2, 2014

Robert W. King


The workmen over and above the fence
fit bricks, lift mortar, slap it accurately
in place. Guilty by sitting idle, I
imagine they envy my luxury
of doing nothing until I remember
the days I had my hands full of shovel,
the dragline plowing the ditch of a sewer
through a future subdivision and how
I pitied those who walked by our work
with no apparent occupation,
denied the pleasure of making something,
piece by piece—even if it would soon
be buried—they would depend upon.

from Rattle 29, Summer 2008


Robert W. King: “At 70, I find more past coming into the present in my poems and I love it—it’s like living twice. And poetry in general is the perfect place to find the past and present existing together. It was written. It’s being read now. Perfect.” (web)

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November 15, 2008

Review by Janis Lull

by Robert King

Ghost Road Press
5303 E. Evans Ave #309
Denver, CO 80222
ISBN 0-9789456-3-8
2007, 76 pp., $13.05

Robert King’s Old Man Laughing is divided into three parts: “Old,” “Man,” and “Laughing.” The epigraph comes from a poem by Shih-Te: “an old man laughs at himself when he falters,” which also describes the gently self-mocking tone of King’s book. The first section begins with a look back at the poet’s happy childhood, “What It Was Like Those Days”:

Even the dead, I thought then,
grinning as I biked around town,
were happy in their own dead way.

The “I” of these poems continues to roam around town and (especially) country as an adult, in a car instead of on his bike. He finds himself “West of Oglalla, I-80, by the feedlot,” (“West of Singapore”), “east of Cheyenne and Eden,” (“The Singing of Bob and Charlene”), driving past “shattering yellow butterflies,” (“The Whole Time”), or down the Missouri Valley (“Driving Home, Wherever That Is”). Often, he’s listening to his car radio, skipping from station to station as the signals fade and swell:

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