June 10-16, 2001: Will Roby and Emily Sunderland

week of June 10-16, 2001

Will Roby and Emily Sunderland


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Will Roby

Bio (auto)

My name is Will I live in Southeast Texas, and somehow I continue to write poetry.

The following work is Copyright © 2001, and owned by Will Roby and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Iseawall blvd
a mock trial of seagulls
on a red-flag ocean this is galveston
I am perfectly calm,
and (like the storm)
I’m prepared
to break over the water we have new neighbors :
an old man who rolls his own
while the woman sweeps
dust from the dull floor the new neighbor
tells me “men
built this,” and he
sweeps his arm “prisoners
remain here from
older prisons “
I’m rolling over
to look through our window I can see the top
of his old head
and one corner of his doorway our apartment is full
of the music we make I mean symphonies
playing out in
the bird nests
built in the windows.


I know her father’s name
it is written
under her foot
she stood on his chair
with her head out the window
watching his horse
I know the color
of all of her
it was washed
with my sheets
while the horse was away.

first letter to portugal

my new job
is slinging coffee
beside your old
only once this morning
was your name brought up
he was bitter,
and his arms moved
against the bricks
my apron is
a royal blue it ties tightly
at my stomach
and becomes your arms
when I daydream.

second letter to portugal

in the back room
I have hung your clothes cool water from
bronze pipes
moves over them
in the evenings
I place a jasmine flower
at the bottom
of a porcelain cup this is the tea
I drink
when I want to
remember your name.

third letter to portugal

the neck
you showed me
under the
tight blue cotton
of your dress
should be guarded
ten thousand
militia men
foreigners would
to know that

fourth letter to portugal

oh, the strands of your hair
are so tiny!
we remember you
as a woman
with your
narrow neck set
cautiously like a statue
under a stone bridge.

fifth letter to portugal

I can only think of you
meekly peeking
at the shower head
You sit at the dresser
and comb the bumblebees
out of your hair.

letter from portugal

I’m wandering the road, 
barefoot you wouldn’t believe
my toes cracking —
how it wakes up the birds
all I have of
is the photo of you
pumping gas
and the memories
once, my hair was in
two brown braids
once I put the water
on the dry wood
and stole
a piece of ham
for the dog
remember that day?
the rain was a
frozen bedsheet.

beaumont, 5:45

I decided very suddenly
that I miss you

and I put down my book to sit
in this chair
it helps.

beaumont, 5:47

I read that
a certain species of
insect makes
an inaudible call every
morning when
the sun rises
I think I hear it, and they
whisper the name of a girl
in a blue shirt I kissed once
in a parking lot.


in a country where they
roll cigars
we will become royalty
of the hot sand
I will chase you
down a hill and your face
will shine with sweat
in a cool white room
I will bathe your feet
and you will turn on
the metal fan.


the sweat of my childhood
has collected at my ankles I’m
sure I should have
a dirty habit, but
all I have is your
hair on my pillowcase.


Old men in wicker boats
beat the ocean with thick paddles
and light the ends of thin cigarillos
White sun-screened tourists buy
shells and postcards with their
I’m laying out a blanket
to dry It will collect the
east Texas night air.

Emily Sunderland

Bio (auto)

Emily Sunderland lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

The following work is Copyright © 2001, and owned by Emily Sunderland and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

I Want to Get into a Car Crash With You

We would have to be going fast, talking, wrapped in the hum of the highway
It could be my fault, I could have been reminding you of what we forgot to
bring, or maybe removing an eyelash from your nose, when you missed the
breaks, when the other car appeared We can be holding hands when things get
quiet But I will be next to you I will be next to you when our heads rush
forward, slow as honey, and into the dashboard, twisting like balls of hot
sugar, then back and up again, our knees sliding shut beneath us, tight as
fists It will be peaceful, head on, a false moment, the space in between two
thoughts Don’t worry my dear, my sweet heart, my left side, I will be
watching you as we slide into the windows, sloppy as two children and with my
heavy elbows, and the cuts above my eyes, through the half-cracked lids I
will be thinking of you more, of your chin bruising against the wheel, of
your body lodged for flight, tense as a coyote on the top of its hill
We will not understand the momentum The car is spinning its body like a top, 
a flower twirled in between two fingers, until the guardrail, until those
five seconds bring us over it, getting rid of us, keeping us together.


You remind me of 16 bad ideas, 
Back porches and beaten plastic cups,
Scared freshman and your fists, 
Laughing like the devil at midnight before we maybe got kicked out, again
Kristen, you remind me of driving standard with no hands,
a cheeseburger, a soda, a sunroof and your father’s fast car,
the sodas sloshing around every curb

Kristen, you remind me of breasts to be used, to get deals with
and legs, long ones, that skip class from side to side, side to side
until the parking lot
Kristen, you remind me of cigarettes, any kind, 
and belly aches, your boyfriend beating in another
car window, nervous, giggling, picking glass from our hair
You remind me of trigonometry, Kristen
First row,
the teachers pet in black boots
picking your nail polish and raising your hand
a helpless energy in your dark eyes
while I sat behind you, yawning, doodling,
waiting for some answers
(ps I really liked that fudgicle poem)

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