Robin Wyatt Dunn (Western Voices 2023)

Bio: Robin Wyatt Dunn was born in Wyoming in 1979. You can read more of his
work at
Untitled Poems

cut the dike and lay the frame
draught wails summoning the stop
to sail:

the dragon once was ink
a printing press
but ink was many things
the stuff of life

and in the drawings of the 16th century
men would line up
to be printed
each in line
out of the door
under dragon's breath

strike the name and then the face
strike the sound and then the place

sammy down below 
under the paper
under the sea
where we're going:

it isn't that identity dissolves
it's just that it's a cover story
and the meat
the lover and the maid
the wizard and his glass
lie down here
where we're being sent

hunters under belly for the fruit
maelstrom eaters
up the mic and set the galley to his cheek
this sea monster
his scales many ages of the earth
shall be your education
mark your kingdom in the map inside
your personal vision

(if you go back you'll never be believed)

but you don't need them
you're with us now
descenders to the deep
and if your face should cut against the dark
scraping slow to etch his trials in the motherbrine
if you should know how you're a monster now
dweller under kingdoms
your voice grave and slow
just know your people sent you here
and what they called a sacrifice
was really a promotion

Just be 20 with that stopsight stance
Dreadnought eyes tearing the air
Trails atop the triangle bed
Knifing passage through the valley

Patient handles guarding the mark
The miles of night inside your hair

Ahab had his child wife
Swept inside the sandbar tide
Wauwinet cradles

Hover closer by the railing
Widow walking
Years inside the pine
Breaking the name
right down to the root
right down to the rainbow darkness under town
his shining grip over your dreams

the tunnels 

some of them with iron over the entrances
some of them open
some of them lead right into prisons
some might go down to hell

here in the eye
the Sahara has an eye, you know
and so does the Great American desert

where the light smashed down
and baked everything red

in science fiction stories
the colonists arrive on an alien planet
wondering what these strange ruins are around them
who were the aliens that lived there?

here in Arizona
it's just that we forgot, you know
our memories were erased

Will Smith just held up his magic ray
and whoosh
you're braindead again

my fellow braindeads
Zombies of the American West
Good morning and Good evening
God bless this town and tell your mother I said hello
I'm going to go down

Down below the city
Down below your dreams
To look for what we lost

The name of an entire people
You and me
An entire civilization
More advanced than this one


  1. “ scraping slow to etch his trials in the motherbrine” - that is brilliant

  2. Spontaneous and mildly ordered-- creative works!


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