Stan Sanvel Rubin / Poetry 7.1/ Spring, 2019


Stan Sanvel Rubin’s work has appeared in such magazines as The Georgia Review, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, One, The Shanghai Literary Review, and Agni and the new anthology, For the Love of Orcas (2019). One of his poems received the 2018 Vi Gale Award from Hubbub. His fourth full collection, There. Here. was published by Lost Horse Press in 2013. His third, Hidden Sequel, won the Barrow Street Poetry Book Prize. He lives on the northern Olympic Peninsula of Washington state and writes essay-reviews of poetry for Water-Stone Review.

In the earliest morning,
just before dawn,
the scintilla of light
behind the granite gray makes it seem
as if the sky will stay that way
forever, as if the world
is stable,
as if it will  never change,
yet this is the very moment
it is sliding into day
and the inevitable carnage.
Is it too late already
for me to learn
our separation from the sky,
why my heart must beat alone
although it is just a heart
among all the others,
why its sometimes desperate beating
is a way to count the losses,
is a fever,
this fading early dream,
this throb of light.

An entire Roman Legion
might be necessary
to pry me from this delusion
of senselesness
unsensed except
in the bodiless heart of sleep
where another dream
invades my dream,
disaster of erect spine
establishing our history
among the animals
whose eyes shine with now
while ours try
to ensare the world,
Rilke says in the Eighth Elegy.
Our words
set traps.
We reach beyond ourselves
only in the deepest sleep,
where no one speaks
because no one remembers
to the bloody light.
Survival Guide
It’s probably too late
to draw up a plan,
but I can put cans of beans away
in the cold garage
along with boxes of freeze dried pasta
no one would really want to eat
but there won’t be choices,
you’ll just shut up
and do what you have to
until the one sure thing.
Draw up the final pages
no one will read
of things you want to be remembered by,
and the things you loved.
If someone loved you,
that’s a plus.
Because debts are real,
the cash in the drawer
won’t bail you out
with the landlord,
the dismal upholstery
will continue to fray
the way words fray into air
even though you want them
to be as real as furniture
or cash.
This is where poems
come in,
sometimes useful,
mostly an escape
from so many debts
you don’t want to pay.
That you can’t pay.


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