Two Poems
Rob Schlegel

Present Value

When I say, The best artists are exceedingly
generous, Kisha says
The question is not
are paintings irrelevant, but what to do
when your friends

leave, and you’re alone with every
object in the room
The snow in these poems
stops being snow after Kitty Lov is

Say what you will about RED, just let me
chill w/ powder daddies
so far out of it, their hands
move corporately over corporate sea
castles in their

infancy. Happy GREEN through windows
phony boats pass
What’s worse: uniformed children
or betraying friends by writing
about them? Bingo

Jack, I’ll take you up on that half-
calf, cut bovines
like hills in air. I recognize friends gaging
descent among execs
selling experience

If you liked Good Morning, you might
also like Going
is not part of the fantasy
Mom texts
pics of Lindy’s stuffed

owl. Should this stay here? Overturned
cars in the ditch
I slide to reply but can’t open
the camera in time
to record police tasing

tarp man shouting, Lovely (portraiture,
still life, teapots & trees)
or séance, an Oxford Conspiracy whence
false smile is transition

between conversations Justin says
You read Frieze
More question than statement at least against
the wreathy condition of
Kisha’s lust for

Icelandic Jays, that species of music future
masters add to the periodic table carved
from Italian marble
dinosaurs must have peed on, right
I mean, just adding BLUE

before dropping to yr knees is less contrived
than the gold Jeff Koons in
Florence on whose surface
fingerprints finally prove a human


Assisted Living

—after Margaret Ross

If I could be your horn ablaze, closing
Gates, I’d speak
Out against rulings
In favor of synthetics over real prairie
Sap beetles navigate
Carrying their weight in pear from
The orchard where cats
Overdramatize falling from limbs
Upon which kestrels sing
Open your caves, for the dragons are coming
Basically stealing
The show from wind rolling
Geodes at the start of the year-long
Storm, one huge
Valentine, divisive as poetry with
Filling in it, like Smartphone prose
Spilling out the bronze
Malibu passing crocuses protesting
Bullets undoing heads falling
Forward into child’s pose
When the sun is female, sweet ester, plume,
A public affair in real flesh
Opposite Fitbit ‘bods boringer
Than white bread, but that’s just me
Channeling the sun’s
Cavalier judgment come August when the sun’s
Male and everything’s dead
Celebration—my own life
Escaped—did I even want dragons?
If I could be your
                            I’d be your
Echoer turning over
Horizon orchards contour
The road through prairie
I’m wearing the jeans you like better than
Novels, ill inside reflection, cameras
Spanning December squares
Bodies perfect in their
Asceticism. I could be your grief, deeper
Than sturgeon. As your
Conductor, the schedule I keep precludes
Coming in port towns
Where passions are endless
Formulas of sound. As your triumphant
Sufferer, I could be
Your aging statesman growing
Loveable as you grow monstrous
As your pattern
I’d set fire to
And to every promise turning
Spines into steel
Rods like acid on mineral
Ore I could be your
Light               let there be the wholeness of
Your person. I’d be the friend
Your disorder disappears
Is the knowledge of good & evil
Divesting itself of
Meaning through repetition. What’s your Mom’s
Mom’s Mom’s Mom’s name?
I stopped because I thought you were
Alone. I see you have
Someone. I wish I did, too.

Rob Schlegel is the author of January Machine (Four Way Books, 2014) and The Lesser Fields (Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University, 2009). He coedits the Catenary Press.