Three Poems, Three Art Works by stephanie roberts


words stretch a liquid skin over meaning
sound uses the arithmetic of fate and faith
as knife dividing important and matter.
i’m not going to say i’m busy when i’m not interested.
                    everyone will suffer a degree of hearing loss.
trust a comfort of lies but fear
the woman unafraid of being
                                          the truth.
halfway between heaven and dreaming i release
the guy-wire to fall through a kaleidoscope of monotones
and droning piano chords. my singing voice is ignored
until i hit the chorus. people polish the covers
of what they hide. i wax sincere with you as bad habit
of first born daughters who try to mean only
intentionally. precursor to betrayal. i want to co-exist
with disappointment as with the drug dealers
and prostitutes across the hall who borrowed my boots.
they need a place to live without being compelled
to note every lip curl, shudder and sneer from
the straight life. tiger rug, leather belt, croc-hide boots
exteriors, you peached.
sound how this ignorant pen shouts awake page after page
into an indifferent dusk. it annotates our insulin levels.
hand gestures the tells of an enemy’s arrogant mathematic
radical bystanders and every melancholic internal
expression will purple your under with regret.


when grey clouds stretch hands
to your back pants pockets,
you will scamper to me,
wild with the threat of water,
thrumping like the chipmunk
that raced the wide tar road,
to sweet grass grown lush & high.

these green arms couldn’t be more eager,
or the ebony soil of my grief more glad,
to have planted your split-to-pieces,
husk-released, melancholy-washed hopes,
that remained
                               phototropic, though
scandalized & hungry, from winter’s long white

tick to the dream of your spire as giant,
we get distracted from on purpose & fall
frozen off the ladder of ambition.
who leaned it against this rock face, i can’t say,
but we wanted on top, with an ache when we saw it.
climb up the wrongs leading to
a kind blue nowhere. leading up to together.

together, at pinnacle, the skylight weeps repair;
flashing is what it’s called, the barrier we laid
that keeps out rain. look, it’s a zag of silver.
look, now a falling star. look, what my eyes don’t do.
look at the bright line & bright line & bright line
before rain.


Everything in our heart burns scarlet.
Every blood filled stanza knows.
We are the white Mustang
running us down in our dreams.

Expecting the crush of falling clouds,
daily our disappointment over weightlessness
pricks us. Hope cracks like glass underfoot.
We won’t walk to anyone

who burns in the sky day and night
against the blue of our lack of courage,
our prayers for waning, or release
from the poison of faith

which long ago was a sack crawling
with kittens, we married to stones
for the kiss of the St. Lawrence.

Ravenous have our lips sucked at love
for lies that we spit out the honey
to hold room for what is never coming

for what does not set ready
under our bottom spreading our thighs
repeating repeating our name.

stephanie roberts is an inter-disciplinary artist who won first prize for The Sixty-Four: Best Poets of 2018, Black Mountain Press. Born in Central America, she grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and, from her Québec home, believes in love-based society. A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her poetry collection rushes from the river disappointment is forthcoming with McGill-Queen’s University Press, April 2020. Twitter: @ringtales Instagram: @ringtales SoundCloud:

List of Art Works
(per)stephanē IV altered digitized oil pastel on paper
Hades III altered digitized oil pastel on paper
Oceans and Fire II altered digitized oil on canvas

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