Three Poems by M Robin Cook


was there a time before the desire before the symbolic before the decipherable static interfered when I was free is there a world within that thin sliver of stained class that broken shard which pricks the mind and penetrates it with sanguine longings a world without gender I lost my thought it was just right there on the tip of my tongue everyone knows we’re betraying our own ethos the goddamn labels are just that self critically important to us if we had any fucking sense we’d be toppling the wholething like communist countries but we’re dancing in the mist hoping someanyone sees even though all we are is built by intrinsic hands perform this bitch and they’ll tear it down for the price of piss in a bucket I can fix my own car thanks man not far from the palatial space in my pockets if these pants had any and what does that even mean if I pull off the crime of the century I have no place to put my booty this mirror that barrier though which some other invades and pervades freeing me into that world where darkness and hope love and death are one where everyno thing collapses into itself where noorall bleeds together bleeds out in the space between abracadabra proclaimed the prophetic pundits cannot penetrate may not enter the realm of the blind beyond open sesame they died screaming and there we careless remained nothing matters these things leading to things we want the one so we the other with might may wield simple see that tranquility elephants made of swans trample mutilated monks upon their endless inclines of penrose planes and in the final analysis the impossible reduction the inconceivable incessant intractable insight the unimaginable unimpressive indelible imprint of impermanence upon the unwary underlings and ellipses and ellipses and ellipses and ellipses and ellipses and ellipses and


So, what do you want, then?

I want them to (in)exclude me,
to vomit me like fetid sashimi,

but I always end up in this thing, wasting
away inside their outs. Thinking ‘bout

dying in tonight, where I
is always wrong, like red

marks through a favorite line of sight,
the aborted traces of written things, dead,

gone, still talking from places of
(ā)weakness wreaking,

ad hoc vouching,
speechless gifting (in)sight to the blind.

The I in team excludes my kind
but I am nonetheless on. We

picked last when nones left, but me
and that other kid no one wants

for a merry band of faux savants
to solve their problems for’em. I am

neither the source of all your ills,
nor a metaphor for something

sans else. Not a path I chose nor a choice
I lacked. Not baggage you lost and can’t

unpack. Nobodydunit. Stop trying
to solve it. I just wish to sit

beneath these trees and eat my lunch
with relative ease, and when I’m done

an’ it’s time to leave, to be left alone
an’ in one piece.

I want a large life

bloated and pregnant
with possibilities.
I’ve been a tempting small too long
gorging myself with (de)lights
and puking out my desires
drowning in my own flesh
when I should be
flaunting this fabulous flab
trying to hide between straining stiches
of sartorial insensate madness
a chintzy thread count shrinking
avoiding stares of sharp rusty disgust
blood poisoned and lockjawed
silently speaking
but loudly eating
everything insight
including my words
those mellifluous maker’s marks
the poetry of me:
sensuously stretched  
glorious and gloriously gorgeous.
A huge helping of myself?
Don’t mind if I do.
What a picture I must be
so large but trying to get small
feeling your feelings about me
my own only foregone fetid footnotes
like fine wine gone rancid.
I’ve heretofore deferred
to hating myself in pictures
when I should be blasting this unfasting ass
across acres of bildungsromantuous billboards.
Those shaking heads?
Those downward glances?
What mirror are you looking in?
I know it’s hard to see me living so large
loving and laughing and leaving
your bleak lethargy behind me but
why ever on succulent Mother Earth
should I strain to stay small
when this girl wants a large life?

M Robin Cook is a trans woman living and loving somewhere between London and San Francisco with her wife, Tanya. She writes poetry, prose and music, enjoys drawing, and dabbles in photography and film. “As an older trans person, I feel partially responsible for the history of my people, a history which is sparse, at best, since so many of us lived in silence for so long. But we’re out here, and we remember.” Her stories, poems and drawings have appeared in The Collection, HIV Here & Now Project, E·ratio, and The Voice.