Stan Sanvel Rubin / Poetry 6.1 / Spring, 2018







Photography © by Tammy Ruggles from RSR Featured Art Gallery


Read Before Playing

The rules include never having to say you’re sorry.
The rules include knowing you should be sorry.
The rules include feeling sorry without knowing why.
This is too bad, if you want simple rules
go somewhere that has simple rules,
rules that are easier to understand,
the way you can understand the difference
between day and night, which is easy
except in certain latitudes where at midnight
the sky is lit by yellow fire or the Polar sky
darkens everything and turns day to night
like a filmmaker shooting to save money,
only there is no cinematographer, no director
to hold accountable, just the darkening
so that your life slows down to shadow
or quickens to shadow, you can’t know which,
you can’t know whether you follow it or it follows you.
Either way you can’t keep up, can you?

Lucky You

The story of my life
would bore you
if you had

time to hear me tell it
the way I might
right now

if I trusted you,
but I don’t,
you can just get up

and walk away
like a person
who stole a drink

at a party he
wasn’t invited to
but happened

to pass by
and took a shot
at something that

looked promising
on such a hot day
but wasn’t.

An Elegy For My Elegy

When I step back
I step across a grave,
the one I dug

by stepping forward.
I have buried parents
under stone,

seen the gray dust
of a loved wife
settle in a plastic bag

inside a set
of plastic urns
she chose for this,

nested like words,
one inside
the other.

My own death
weighs on my tongue
like a small piercing

made of titanium
and silence
no one knows is there.

My final breath
will slip over it and be gone,
a secret held no more.

So it’s not as earth
or ash we end,
but indecipherable consequence,

a hash of language and desire
punctuated by the slow
forfeiture of meaning

which was implicit
in the contract
I never signed.



There’s always the document of silence.
And the mountain.

There’s the document of pain.
And its children.

They identify you
before you can identify yourself.

They ring your head with sorrow
even you don’t see.

There are no words for this
and everybody knows them.



Stan Sanvel Rubin’s poems have appeared most recently in America Journal of Poetry, Watershed Review, Gravel and Hubbub and are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest and Open Journal of Arts and Letters. His fourth full-length collection, There. Here., was published by Lost Horse Press (2013). His third, Hidden Sequel, won the Barrow Street Poetry Book Prize. He lives on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state.


Comments are closed.