Robin Myers is a young poet and translator from New York, currently living in Mexico City. For her, writing a poem is like an itch that comes "sometimes like a line, sometimes an image, sometimes just a nebulous question or concern or juxtaposition". If we can learn something from Myers' work, it's the fact that poetry can help us understand life itself.
There must be something.
is moving ever faster, there must be
something that isn’t
moving ever faster. Something
if not completely still, then slow
enough to touch.
What does he think of it, the traffic cop
in his hat and yellow vest, motionless, poised exactly
along the middle line
of what he’s trained to stop
when it isn’t stopping: four lanes that only converge
colliding, and otherwise plunge forward like a river to its death,
or like what a river wants and has its way with:
fish, silt, trash, the body of someone who trusted it.
What becomes of the yellow lines
painted down the middle of the road, parallel,
between tires and pavement.
There must be something that knows how to slow
without stopping; there must be a way
to look straight at it while it’s still moving.
Once, in the mountains, in inadequate footwear,
I lay down with others
on a clean staircase of long, flat stones
that snow had learned to trickle around
as it melted its way down the slopes.
(I’m not sure whether the presence of others
made it slower or faster.)
When I closed my eyes,
the water was the only thing I heard.
(Once, water was the only thing I heard.)
But the water moved fast.
Is there anything that moves forward
without moving forward ever faster—
what is it like for her, the shy opera student poised in the park
to sing, the neon joggers arrowing around her
like lasers. Or for the mango-seller as he peels an infinity of mangos,
slicing slivers from one fruit after another after another
after another. Or for the group of friends
struggling to send up a star-shaped hot air balloon along the freeway
without setting it on fire.
I can think of no way to do it
without setting it on fire, or stopping.
I can think of no way that doesn’t start with once,
even on repeat.
Once, a friend had a hummingbird
fall dead at his feet; he said it was strangely heavy
when he picked it up.
Once, I watched a drunk man lurch across the tracks.
Once, I heard someone drop a glass, which shattered,
during the low, sweet note held so long by the saxophone
that I waited either for him to breathe again
or for his heart to snap.
Once, and again, and again, and again, the moment of nearing my face
to another face as if for the first time,
or for the last—although the nearing
uproots it, opens it up like an orange,
mouth paused to meet the mouth of it,
if only for an instant.
If there is something that knows how to slow down even
when it keeps going and going,
then I’d like to know about it.
What is it
they become, competitive swimmer,
insomniac hacktivist, hungry can-collector, father of a daughter
braiding her own hair before bed—
there must be a way to look at them while they’re still growing,
to see them, water, numbers, hunger, daughter,
somehow, and be unafraid of them
and where they’re going.
Not like the way I waited on a bus, at a stoplight,
in a city both stalled and teeming,
when the pause lingered in a way that felt truly
eternal, or could become eternal—all my longing
surging into the movement denied me,
a frustration nearly erotic
in its helplessness. What I thought, once,
before the bus lurched forward again and carried on towards who knows where
I left it,
because that’s the part I can’t remember,
was I will be here forever, was
I will be here for the rest of my life.
Published in the journal Enizagam, in Amalgama / Conflations (Ediciones Antílope, Mexico), and in Lo demás / Else (Kriller71 Ediciones, Spain; Zindo & Gafuri, Argentina).
Photos by Drew Wilson.