Nice to Meet You – Poetry by Paul Corman-Roberts

Oxygen was the first trauma, wasn’t it? The first gasp of a new substance burned into our lungs, trying to adapt to that burning and barbaric yowl isn’t pulled; no it rushes out into the big wide world if we’re lucky to not have the infernal obstructions of the medical establishment to prevent it from transforming us into that thing we learned long ago to transform into, whatever that is.

Twice in one year I bounced off the Earth, fulfilling those waking dreams of free falling off the moon as a baby; the first time going downhill on a bike off a mountainside in Idaho, and because I was the last of three mounted on the narrow five speed banana seat I was thrown clear over the handlebars, lucky and dumb because a few months later I learned how much your teeth look exactly like all the other little white rocks on an old country road. 

I discover a world where I see different, hear different, an alternative to the ridiculous laws of gravity. The bathtub becomes a portal where I can disappear from bullies and taunts of smarter kids. My familiar is the sparkly bottle of Prell shampoo whose emerald glitter splattered transparency allows me to uncover the secrets beneath the surface. Almost like a recovered memory.

Fire introduced herself to me in a laundry room in Santa Rosa, a roaring laughing sprite of pure energy who winked at me on the wrong end of a game of hide and seek and she said I could try the roaring and laughing too if I thought it looked like fun, told me I needed to get a little closer, but I ran and ran and told my mom and then the fire chief tried to get me to admit I had set it, and all I could hear was some far away laughter.

Yeah, and then that ephemeral other just beamed down from space in front of me and said “HI!” and the next thing I know they’ve wrapped me in a soft cocoon that also feels, oddly enough, like an old memory recovered and they come and visit every once in a while, but never in the same body, never with the same approach and never tells a soul because she can’t be bothered with the ridiculous laws of arrival and departure.
Paul Corman-Roberts

Paul Corman-Roberts is the author of the Firecracker (CLMP Awards) nominated full-length poetry collection Bone Moon Palace from Nomadic Press (2021). An original founder and organizer of the Beast Crawl Lit Festival (Summer Beast 2022 - Beast Crawl Literary Festival) he currently teaches workshops for the Older Writer’s Lab in conjunction with the SF Public Library, the San Francisco Creative Writing Institute and the Oakland Unified School District. He sometimes fills in as a drummer for the U.S. Ghostal Service and The Jennifer Blowdryer Band, but mostly he is just exhausted.

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