Author of the Month: Rob Plath

things i might’ve missed if i didn’t have insomnia this week 

i might’ve missed placing my hand on my whimpering cat & waking her from a bad dream & her blinking at me three times & curling up closer to my leg 

i might’ve missed re-reading these lines from  the rubaiyat of omar khayyám: “i need a jug of wine & a book of poetry / half a loaf for a bite to eat / then you & i, seated in a deserted spot / will have more wealth than a sultan’s realm...” 

i might’ve missed stubbing my toe & suddenly thinking of you coming to visit me after midnight & kissing me & kneeling to untie my combat boots, laughing how i’d sleep in them if it wasn’t for you

i might’ve missed the rapture of that chocolate chip cookie in the dark kitchen

i might’ve missed getting nostalgic & watching clips of the johnny carson show & laughing at johnny laugh at robin williams’ frenetic madness 

i might’ve missed the moonlight projecting the maple boughs across the walls like bare nerve cell shadow puppets 

i might’ve missed having gratitude for how the night unsharpens the edges of things & rounds out the world 

i might’ve missed the simple excitement anticipating sourdough toast & a cup of earl grey in the morning 

i might’ve missed the beating of my heart, lonely as it may be, & the ease w/ which it opened & closed at such an hour
***


inside-out 

did you ever convince yrself 
someone long gone 
waits for you to come home?
so the day is not a bucket of lead 
& yr knees don’t buckle? 
did you ever convince yrself 
somebody long gone 
waits for you? 
so when you get into yr car 
the tar isn’t just one long 
stretch of terror? 
the moon not some 
mocking lidless eye? 
did you ever convince yrself 
someone long gone 
waits for you at home? 
someone sitting w/ knees 
sweetly pulled up 
in yr favorite chair 
smiling in the warm 
yellow glow of a lamp? 
fresh gardenias in water 
on the table? 
did you ever in yr mind 
lift the body of a ghost up over 
its own shape like a dress 
& pull it back down inside-out 
so it’s flesh & bone again 
b/c you want to race home? 
even if it’s just one more time? 
did you ever stoop 
to such foolishness? 
such utterly desperate measures
just so you could race home?
***


eating alone in my own little blue kitchen 
(for my mother) 

you always seemed to be chopping garlic 
or onions on yr long-gone mother’s wooden paddle-shaped bread board in yr yellow kitchen 
today i wonder as i prepare red lentil soup 
how much grief was in yr own grip 
in the pressure of yr fingertips against palm-flesh 
in the heart-strike in the ball of yr thumb pressing against the handle of the knife 
how much absence played a role in the rise
& fall of the blade 
how much ghosts really feed those who are lucky enough to be seated at the table 
to feast & be present
***


haiku from hell 

my damn heart chakra 
is a .38 slug hole 
full of bloody pus
***

BIO: Rob Plath is a writer from New York. He was once tutored by Allen GInsberg for two years from 1995-1997. He has published 22 books and a ton of poems in the small presses over the last 26 years. He lives with his cat and tries his best to stay out of trouble.

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