Joshua Robbins


One by one, the street lamps' sodium purr clicks off
           as my neighbor's half-ton coughs
                     and revs, coughs, and finally turns over

and he heads off, a gravel-tire churn
           as a gangsta rap bass line thumps from the cab,
                     circles out like pond water

after a stone's plunk. "In the end it's all
           a question of ear," says Kierkegaard, meaning the next life:
                     the next life as pure music, heaven's harmonic

resolve of Being's sour arpeggio. But for now,
           suburbia is tuned to dream's white noise,
                     that octave three steps above wakefulness,

the one right before the clock radio
           bleeps on and the percolator autogrinds,
                     and the front door rehearses its slam.

Joshua Robbins is the author of Praise Nothing (University of Arkansas Press, 2013). His recognitions include the James Wright Poetry Award, the New South Prize, selection for the Best New Poets anthology, and multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. He teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Tennessee. "A Question of Ear" first appeared in Praise Nothing.

Current | Archives    Submit | Masthead    Links | Donate   Contact | Sundress