January 4-10, 1999: Robert Wynne and Steve Armstrong

Week of January 4-January 10, 1999

Robert Wynne and Steve Armstrong

Robert Wynne


Robert Wynne grew up in northwest Oregon and now resides in Southern California, where he is a co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets He is a 2-time winner of the Academy of American Poets College Award, the winner of the 1997 Masters Poetry Prize, and the winner of the 1998 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest He is the author of two chapbooks, “Driving” (1997, The Inevitable Press) and “Patterns of Breathing” (1997, Mille Grazie Press),  and his work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in numerous magazines throughout the United States, including Solo, Poetry International,  The Maverick Press, Rattle, 51%, Trestle Creek Review, Shiela-Na-Gig,  Interbang, Art/Life and Parting Gifts He is currently enrolled in the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program at Antioch University in Marina Del Rey, and he has a penchant for light

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Robert Wynne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Love Poem With a Photo of Two Empty Chairs

I want to be able to sit and talk with you
wherever I go, so I carry a photo of two empty chairs
with a painting of a room draped behind them The flat room falls

into a roll of fabric on the floor, bunched-up, too big for the studio
it hangs in It wants the three dimensions of these chairs as much
as I want you, like a photographer who can’t sleep alone

without the right light
(Previously appeared in Two Rivers Review)


“The highest morality consists in being useless “
-Milan Kundera, from Immortality

for Brendan Constantine

So to appear truly moral
you flood the world with words
until they float you
above all the tiny judges
with their meanings vice-gripped
and rusting in an underwater Pompeii
You litter the surface of the waves
with pages from the last dry book
soaked black as the new sky
stretching over the heads
of each figure frozen
in its own image of you
(Previously appeared in Blue Satellite)


for Erica Erdman

Do you believe
Everything you taste? I ate
A deck of tarot cards
Tonight, chewed through The Moon,
Hanged Man, Magician, Devil I

Anchored The Chariot to The Tower and
Nowhere were any buildings left standing
Death is woven into the backs of all

The cards I licked the fingerprints off
And swallowed the Ten of Swords whole in the
X-ray light of my digital clock Everything’s green Prophecies
Stain the corners of my mouth
(Previously appeared in F.T.S )


“Before we know what we want,
all we know is want “
-David Oliveira

The three oaks on
our farm yielded mistletoe
every year My brother and I,
lying on our backs
with a B.B rifle, shot
down clusters of white berries,
green leaves Decorated
each passageway at home Filled sandwich bags
and secreted them
to school The price
of a kiss Even in
first grade I knew
how to make a door
of such small arms
(Previously appeared in rivertalk)

Deborah on the Beach

She spells her name,
one foot dragging carefully
through each capital letter,

then writes `SAVE’ below
like a command to earth and sea
She does not move
as she watches the approaching water
erase each letter
Heels together, toes apart
she sinks a heart in the sand
(Previously appeared in Spillway)

Easter Island

Named for the day it pulled
itself into the gap of Dutch explorer
Jacob Roggeveen’s horizon, it could
be the perfect metaphor This is
where we would make ourselves
new, bigger than before In the shadow
of three dormant volcanoes, we’d chisel
ourselves onto the surface
of the sea’s blue eye, land buckling
under tons of rock we call
the past Christ would’ve been
proud He would’ve rolled
our stone faces away from the mouth
of morning, called the sun down
to live in one of those dead mountains
until it was alive, smearing
this lip of earth with lava
again And we would stand
still on heavy feet
never sculpted, wonder
who will roll this island
away, who will remember
this sky that buries us
(Previously appeared in Di-Verse-City Too & The 1999 Poetry Calendar) [ed : It’s making the rounds ]

R.D Armstrong


RD Armstrong (Raindog, to his friends) lives in Long Beach, late of San Pedro, CA He publishes the Lummox Journal and has just embarked down the small press blvd, publishing the Little Red Book series (10 books planned so far) He has stumbled down the backroads and mean streets of Los Angeles for nearly 48 years RD fixes houses for a living
What Folks Are Saying About RD:

“Raindog writes with amazing sensitivity and clarity for a guy who thinks so highly of Charles Bukowski “
Caron Andregg
Poet & Publisher

“Thank you for sharing such a beautiful poem about such a special man I was deeply moved by it
unknown customer at Dutton’s Bookstore
after reading “Traveling Man”

The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by R.D Armstrong and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Eyes Like Mingus (For Steve Fowler)

Eyes like flint
.like flecks of coal
.like shiny bits of starless sky
.trapped in the ruins of a slag heap

Eyes like molten steel
.sullen and angry
.piercing — a bullet finding its mark
.like a jaguar
.passionate and alive
.yet hating the trap
.pacing behind the bars
.bars like a skeleton
.trapped inside the mind

Eyes like Mingus
.like notes caught in the net
.like the grid of notation
.like Mingus
.in shamanic Mexico
.trapped in a chair
.no strength to grip
.no fingers to coax notes with
.no feet to stand up and count with
.no time — no signature

Eyes like concrete — shattering
.like glass — splintering
.like the wrecking ball?s slap
.like voltage — unregulated
.like a passion laid bare
.to the gallery’s scrutiny
.like the madman’s frothing nightmare
.like the inexplicable accuracy of random fate
.like a shot to the belly
.like Coltrane’s “Favorite Things”
.like your fingers — stilled

Eyes like an empty glass
.staring bug-eyed into space
.upturned and dispassionate
.like a dream — lost in the stars

Eyes like Mingus
.silent but never


Behind me
the landscape smolders
with my passing Before me
a land of innocence
lays patiently
for my accidental

Like the Wings of the Butterfly

The miner, Wang Shu Bin
tells the story of his last
hours with his wife:
trapped within the rubble
of his hospital ward
after a devastating earthquake
“My wife called to me
in the darkness, we were both pinned
under debris, ‘Wang Shu Bin! Are you
alive?’ I said yes, can you move?
She said, ‘I am pinned from the waist
down ‘ I began to claw away at the
cement blocks that buried me It took
two days for me to reach her She
was only three beds away
from me I tried to get to her but a large
beam blocked her from me I could only
touch her fingers When she realized I was
beside her, she was so glad her fingers
fluttered like the wings of a butterfly For two more days we talked of our past,
of our love for each other Throughout
her fingers touched mine, speaking to my
heart, directly Finally, she said one word to me ‘Wang ‘ Then her fingers fell silent.

I’m Falling

it feels so easy

effortless like

breathing or

the pumping heart

a “no-brainer”
I’m falling

like a feather

from God’s wing

it is so easy

I don’t have to do anything

I don’t even have

to let go

“It’s all been taken care of “

I’m falling

through space

not knowing

where from or

where to
It doesn’t matter

I’m at ease with this

(which is odd)
Acceptence was

never this easy.

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