Revitalization of Downtown

A transient panhandler scuttles along a sidewalk
towards the affluent dog-walkers
in the vein of paparazzi

A slatternly junkie has a very sharp stride
and averts her gaze until passing out of frame
then is never seen again in direct sunlight

At a lucrative luncheon
incessant perky whispers
deafen the local curmudgeons

Numerous apertures, numerous fixtures:
vape clouds, septum rings, blackout tattoos,
kratom, gluten-allergies, nothing new.

Ashwagandha is in
and testosterone is up:
There’s nightly coital marathons
and genderfluid cosplay parades
and vaginal film festivals of flesh
and phallic maelstroms of men at work
and helicoptering cocks outside the Yoga studio
and DNA sloppily sprayed from Burke to Cherry Street
and congealed linens from chronically single millennials
and virtue signaling up the ass.

The bones and sinews
of the Tobacco and Textile Industries
are omnipresent

Most of the old mills
have been converted to apostasy:
Into gregarious craft breweries
that only serve hoppy beer.
Into high-ceiling exposed-brick lofts for lease,
not apartments, not condos, but suites,
and one wonders how many people
lost limbs or minds, or even died here.

The nightlife rages on
with ax-throwing hipsters
hoarding the market share,
the local thoroughfare
while spilt privilege slathers the concrete.

Arena lighting and lulls of sound emanate from the ballpark
until the epilogue of unoccasioned fireworks commences

The mad scene coalition strains to slough
dark paraphernalia from the grounds of the Gentry,
the ossified layers of illicit litter underneath
are somewhat reminiscent of a pawnshop parking lot.

The City insists on celebrating itself

Coming soon:
Arcadia in a minefield.


© CMR, 2019

Wallace Stevens

by Cam M. Roberts

I left too long a while
and lost the uplifting flow
to more celestial realms

unheralded northwest of leaden bells
alabaster feathers fall as ashes from on high
and angels sojourn no more in this stormy land

voices clash echoing from nether reaches
then cry never to dream again
writes the dead man’s hand.


© CMR, 2018



by Cam M. Roberts


I am my dead father
I am my unborn son
I am the one burning


quietly in the evenings
sharing the same story
of humble ghosts


walking on
in solemn silence
my hand in my hand


each to his world
our sunken worlds
tethered by shadows


holding us in my arms
without tenderness
but tireless and firm


and sleep now
as under the moon
we are together bound



© CMR, 2018


by Cam M. Roberts

All matter, constellations are laid waste,
primal wreckage strewn hither-thither
where within floating in space
a single speck of stardust
or a far-flung flake of galactic ash
is larger than the wondrous residue
referred to as earth.

Whence we formed from words
exceeding enigma, sifted and strained
through language, this miscreant cosmos
has been preserved for a psychotic ending
by the grotesque hands of a taxidermist so deranged
that his masterwork was a Gothic Cathedral —
so terrorized by extravagance and superstition that people
thought it was in fact a shared and single body
of the holy trinity embalmed
with faithful members of the mass.

The carcass stars burning
through lightyears expendable
are our ignis fatuus —
out there
in the deep, silent hours
where the densest plenum of dark
is embroidered taut in the air:
Behold the zodiac from all sides nowhere, the skyward ruins beyond…



© CMR, 2018



by Cam M. Roberts


Where was I
when you were looking
for me?


Certain elements
in life left us
like our Fathers did
while the rest blew
up in our faces
as our Mothers’
anger grew
God knows
I loved


© CMR, 2014