M. Robin Cook
A Cycle of Memories
All I Did See
All I didn’t see,
all I discovered, speaking
about illness, telling stories
about individuals daring sickness,
about iconic disease, sending
anyone in deep—savage,
arrogant, ineffable, daunting sycophant.
All it did, seething
as I did, shitting
as it did slither,
as it did slough
along its dread, slow,
antisocially insistent damnable sentimental
acuitās, I didn’t see.
And I discovered. See?
He is very
Goodbye Columbus, 1985
After a little while we stopped asking
where so and so went—we knew
that like an empty scabbard, he’d gone coming
from the baths like gas chambers, steaming—
once bright, erotic playgrounds, electric blue—
by odor of the health department, closing.
He’d left in a rush, bottle-stop gleaming,
in a wisp and a while, we knew that he knew
all along. The Watchtower, blue blotches, free reading
today at the clinic! These strange glyphs we’ll be deciphering.
Bring a friend. If there were to be a test, we’d test him, too.
But hurry, we’re not lingering; you’d best be scurrying.
We’ve a long and frigid winter’s longing
for just icily moving, glacier-slow, you
An entourage of embedded acronyms
adorned the lives inside our rainbow.
At its furthest end there was no gold,
just the icy and cum-drenched, the blood-addled,
copious bounty of AIDS,
always it seemed full blown
in those days—
M Robin Cook writes: I am a transwoman, 54 years young. I write fiction, poetry, and the occasional essay; I draw and make music. I am interested in doing my small part to de-marginalize my community. We suffer the effects of the eraser; we disappear between the lines. We are always at risk and in need of so much. I love art, and I also believe it can be a critical force for change in the queer/transgender community and in our relationship(s) to the world. A dialog occurs between art, artists, and audiences which can help delimit and codify cultural boundaries. As we produce these works, and as they are recognized as being distinctly queer/trans* artifacts, we empower that move toward culture. It is an exciting time.
These poems are not previously published.