Poetry: Selections from John D Robinson

It’s All Over

‘I don’t let them kiss me’
she told me:
‘Usually, it’s all over
within a couple
of minutes’ she said:
‘I love
Cameron and he
loves me’ Chloe
said flatly with a
vacant expression:
Cameron takes
money from these
visitors and buys
cocaine to share
with Chloe:
Cameron controls
Chloe’s movements,
social contacts,
hold’s her bank card
and keys to her
‘He looks after me’
she will tell you;
Cameron is also
exploiting a
neighbour’s of
Chloe’s, a
single mother of
a three year
Chloe is aware of this
and it
doesn’t bother her and
Cameron tells
Chloe that he is
‘fucking other women’
‘He’s just being
nice and kind
to them, he doesn’t
love them
as he loves me’:
Chloe pauses
for a moment,
she rarely lets go
a smile:
‘I’ve got to go
home now, I
have a visitor in
half an hour’
‘Okay, I’ll catch
you soon, you
take care now’ I
say after her as
I rise from the
table and walk
away, just as
every other
motherfucker who
has known
Chloe, I look back,
her thin
frame, lost
in the
sleeting rain.

At First

‘Get naked, I’ll be there
in fifteen minutes,
sixty nine, you on top’
he’d text her and she’d
get excited and naked
and then, slowly, his
suggestions became
demands and then they
quickly became more
darker, more stranger,
more perverse and she
felt indifferent and
came to realize that he
didn’t care for her, it
was all about him and
not the love he
confessed, she became
scared and frightened
and felt terribly
isolated and attempted
a messy suicide with
prescription drugs
and red wine:
‘Initially, it was
euphoric, it was love
and I was convinced
but that changed, he
changed and I changed
and I hated my life’
she told me, as we packed
her belongings for her
to take to a place of
safety where she can
begin to reimagine a
life without a
dominating, bullying,
cowardly alpha asshole:
‘You’ll be okay’ I tell
as her transport arrives:
she smiles thinly and
waves farewell
with a shaking
hand and hurting
eyes, that will
look for the hope
she once had in

Work Experience

We’d hide-up,
feeling anxious
and excited,
myself in
particular, I was
a novice:
‘When they’ve
been gone for
about half an
hour, it should
be safe and
we’re hit it’
he said,
and we did,
we dived and
delved into
the landfill of
plastic refuse
tearing and
ripping them
open and
through the
of rotting
food and diapers,
and assorted
every now and
then a treasure,
I found a
1st edition of
‘Coney Island
Of the Mind’
in a reasonable
my father, he
found a gold
watch and an
antique toy
that kept us
drunk for a

It Helps

‘I do these things because
it helps me to live’
she told me with a history
of swallowing sewing
needles and razor blades,
of inserting broken glass
and shards of metal into
her sex:
‘It helps you to live?’
I asked:
‘To feel alive, to reach
out to the pain, to get to
know the pain, to be one
with the pain’
she tried to smile and
failed and then she said:
‘I remember the first time
I cut myself, I can’t
remember why I did it,
maybe it was a trendy
teenager thing, but, as I
cut and watched the
blood seep, it was real,
it was a release, a relief,
like I had never known,
it gave me a freedom
from myself’
she said,
delivering a genuine


I am the hacking opium
cough of Marty Matz
and the elegance and
mystery of Lamantia,
the natural voice
conserving Snyder,
I have the vision of Rimbaud
and the bollocks of Bukowski,
I have the steel nerve
passions of Corso
and the beat swing of
Kerouac, the
gentle swirling dreams
of a raging Patchen,
the vast windows
of Frank Lima,
like the doors of
Ray Bremser and
Bob Kaufman, are
always open,
the grinning Gagaku
of Steve Richmond
is forever
present, I hear the
roaring mouse of
McClure and the
weeping of scattered
Streets belonging
to Jack Micheline,
I see William Wantling,
he is high and
is looking for the
next hit and
follows me,
I hear Doug Draime
raise hell and the
eternal alarm for us all,
as I found
the bullet of Lew Welch,
the buzzards
circled above,
I feel
the inspirational
of Di prima,
Anne Waldman,
Joanna Kyger and
Brenda Frazer and
Caroline Cassidy,
Magda Cregg and
sisters rise in
a literary beacon of
majestic skies,
as Dan Propper counts
down gloriously
and Charles Plymell
radiates poetic
solidarity, as
Douglas Blazek
stares with
and revolution,
I know,
I am poet.

John D Robinson is a UK poet. Hundreds of his poems have appeared online and in print and he has published 13 chapbooks and five full collections of his poetry. His work regularly features in literary anthologies and journals and he has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.


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