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Posts Tagged ‘Robbi Nester’

The Hive: A Parody

February 3, 2012 9 comments

by Robbi Nester

I heard a Beehive in the wall
When I was trying to sleep—
Incessant Buzzing at all hours
Precluded counting Sheep.

My swollen eyes were red and sore—
The clock said 2 AM—
I wished the Sun would break his bonds—
Ushering Morning in.

I took a Hatchet from the hutch
and hefted it awhile.
Though it might make an awful Mess
I’d end this thing in style.

The first stroke broke the paper cells—
The second set them free—
And now I’m wrapped up in the rug
And cannot see to See.


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Robbi Nester lives and does yoga in Southern California and blogs at Shadow Knows. She has a chapbook, Balance, forthcoming from White Violet Press with illustrations by Nina Canal. Her manuscript A Likely Story is currently in search of a publisher. Robbi writes, “I am very interested in parody in a theoretical way, and indeed a number of years ago wrote a dissertation about Nabokov, focusing on this very element of his work. I wanted to think about the nature of the relationship among texts in a parody and what they mean, as well as investigating other kinds of literary play.”

Categories: Imitation Tags:

My Memory Palace

July 20, 2011 6 comments

by Robbi Nester

The ancients found remembering was simple
if they built in memory a place to stash
each name or fact. I have no need
of this old tactic. The building rose itself,
no mere mnemonic, without my effort
or my will, needing no intention on my part
to make it stand, secluded, a palace
or a prison on a street not quite the one I knew.

For years, I wore the windows watching out,
aspiring to the world beyond this
faded square of sky, though sometimes
it might hint at nascent drama:
coiled green hose a lurking
mamba. And there, the borders
of a country yet to be discovered:
the spot I scratched into the wallpaper
beside my bed, hoping if I made it
big enough I could climb through, like
the children in the books I read,
entering another world.

The clothes hang still, waiting forever
to be worn. And there, my mother’s vanity,
where I would sit and gaze into the glass
trying on her earrings and her pearls, her
broad-shouldered jackets, inspecting
photographs of relatives I’d never meet,

all this spreads before me, each room
multiplied in memory, a sheaf of dining rooms;
the living room in all its incarnations.
Here, the French provincial sideboard, gift
of a wealthy relative, rules the room;
and now, eclipsed—an avalanche of envelopes
encroaches. And now the roaches
and the rats, the bags of trash I helped to clear away.

No people walk these rooms; no conversations
can be heard. Harsh words and gentle ones
do not endure. Only the doors and windows
where I walk in dream and reverie
fan out like drafts, an intricate origami I could
never fathom. Now that these walls
are someone else’s legacy, I can never leave.


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Robbi Nester lives and does yoga in Southern California and blogs at Shadow Knows.

Categories: Imprisonment Tags:

The World is a Sound: A New Creation Myth

August 2, 2010 8 comments

by Robbi Nester

From the sinuous caverns of trombones
and from the bulbous innards of the bass.
From the lithe length of the flute and the
apologetic slant of the harp, treading
on everyone’s toes, the orchestra
plays the world. Who could doubt
that the ocean first flowed
from the French horn’s golden bell
as from the golden spigots of a tub,
or the sun, rudely cracking the shell
of primordial blackness as blank as slate,
as it has done every day since,
from the cymbal’s first blow?
No doubt at all that this
is the sound of the first day:
the conductor scraping his baton
on the podium, the guys in percussion
drumming their fingers on the pages,
whispering, impatient for the day to begin.


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Robbi Nester teaches composition classes to mostly unwilling freshmen at Irvine Valley College in Irvine, California, and blogs at Shadow Knows.

Categories: New Classics Tags:

Salamba Sirsasana 1 — Headstand

March 26, 2010 Comments off

by Robbi Nester

The moon swells like a seedpod.
Inside the quiet studio, I take
my aching head into my hands,
fingers web to web. A breath,
and then this awkward frame
ascends, becomes an aspen
flexing in a nonexistent breeze.
Grounded in air, movement merges
with stillness, my ear a vehicle
for surging tides, the galaxies’
faint hum. Everywhere
and nowhere, the worlds
fall away, balanced
on these two arms.

 

Robbi Nester headstand


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Robbi Nester teaches composition classes to mostly unwilling freshmen at Irvine Valley College in Irvine, California, and blogs at Shadow Knows. This is one of a series of poems on Iyengar yoga asanas.

Categories: Health Tags:

Picnic at the Big Lady, Quabbin Reservoir

June 29, 2008 3 comments

The Quabbin rises as if bound to speak:
the four lost towns, Dana, Enfield,
Greenwich, and Prescott murmuring
of all that was, before the emptied
graves and cellar holes took on
the impersonal and public face of history.
Where now the bass patrol and deer
nose out the fattest berries, old rumors
and a persistent watching from behind.

Were the windows open when water
swept those barns and fields? Perhaps
a table set for tea and cake spun slowly
to the ceiling, flowers spilling
from their vase, family photographs
undeveloping to slicks of sepia
within the darkening, generic pool.

I can still see the steeple
dimpling the surface. Whole towns
caught, like a breath, beneath its
phantom shadow, as in a small
glass dome where no snow falls.

by Robbi Nester

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Categories: Water Tags:

Public Transport

February 14, 2008 5 comments

There’s no one around, the center sere,
dry as the moon. No one comes near
the still terminal. Buses dispatched
like the sun overnight, doors unlatched,

sit smelling of vomit and beer. Where are
the drunks, neighborhood newstands, far
smoke from the rendering plant? My eye
from a window that never was lends the dry

look of circumstance, something like form,
then takes it back. Sunday, normal,
not sinister. Pigeons unpattern the clouds
with a wash of gray. Trains reroute,
flash like the first things alive.
In the rain, the Daily News arrives.

by Robbi Nester

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Categories: Hidden Messages Tags:

At the Fiddler’s Convention

January 7, 2008 4 comments

In a field behind the stage, darkness rises from the grass
like distant music. Hard of hearing, blunt of sight,
I watch the stars unscroll their secret signs, while here
on earth, the fireflies begin their silent signaling.
Biologists declare Lampyridae’s insistent pulse,
as calm and regular as breath, to be “cold light”
because unlike the fire of sky or bulb, it generates
no heat. But this, while factual, cannot be true.
I witness now the quiet passion of a thousand sparks,
falling in desperate order like a scale, the measured
intervals of flash and counter-flash, telling particulars
of many lives. And while I know that this pursuit and pulse
says more of reproduction than of art, I think
of simple ganglia within my human brain.
What do they know beyond the business
of the moment, muscle’s twitch and synapse-
shock? But by the grace of their oblivious
connection, I catch the last few chords,
watch these green-gold lights, and parse
the pattern that contains this flight.

by Robbi Nester

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Categories: Insecta Tags: