Poetry 365

Poet Michael Robbins

This month for Poetry 365 we’re highlighting Michael Robbins’ defiantly inventive debut  Alien vs. Predator.  Described as “equal parts hip-hop, John Berryman, and capitalism seeking death and not finding it,” these 55 strange, darkly funny poems are as impressive for their formal precision as they are for their frenzied name checking of everyone from Auden, Frost, and Yeats to Nirvana, Star Wars, and M*A*S*H.  So check out this University of Chicago grad’s brave new collection, sample a poem below, and make sure to stop back next month for Poetry 365.

To the Break of Dawn

I wandered lonely as Jay-Z
after the Fat Boys called it quits,
before the rapper from Mobb Deep
met up with the Alchemist.
I wandered lonely all along
The Watchtower’s office front
in Dumbo, then across the bridge
that tempts the bedlamite to song.
From here you could’ve seen what planes
can do with luck and delta-v
as that fire-fangled morning
jingle-jangled helter-skelterly.
From your gravity fails to whoops
there goes gravity, from Celine
to Celan, from “Turn the Beat Around”
to And the Band Played On,
from the Live Free or Die
of plates from New Hampshire
to Musidora vamping
her way through Les Vampires,
from It Takes a Nation
of Millions to Hold Us Back
to Daydream Nation,
from Station to Station,
I take this cadence from the spinning plates
where the DJ plots the needle’s fall.
I take it, and I give it back again
to the dollar dollar bill and the yes yes y’all.

Russell J. (Readers’ Services)

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