Poetry from Bruce Roberts

Hayward Public Library

Cold steel door handles

startle my senses


eyes scanning

people, shelves, books–

ever the books–

inching off their appointed spots,

creeping closer,

daring me to approach.

I slip past the librarian,

whose wire-rims notice nothing

but my overdues,

taking breath,

deep, tense,

boldly, I enter the stacks.

The hairy hand

around my ankle

springs from

The Rue Morgue

blue book, clear cover,

white-knuckle grip–

Poe me,

but I’m ready.

I kick out hard,

freeing my leg and leaping

20,000 leagues away,

finding Nemo

in brown leather binding,

and giant squid tentacles–

slithery, insistent,

suction cups on my eyes,

my eyes!

Twisting, I spin loose

into a great white book

smelling of the sea,

and malevolence,

as Ahab’s hurled harpoon

slits my ear;

spattering blood

I dive, led on by leviathan,

careening loose on a coffin–

a fluke, I’m sure—

to Denmark where

in the mid of night

slimy and dark,

Grendel’s claws swipe down

from a high swampy shelf,

pulverizing the door,

raking my scalp

before I rip off his arm,

and nail it to the wall,

then rocketing, rolling

into the next aisle,

stopped short by an ancient tome,

brown leather cover

stained by sea–

and blood–

clutching me

in huge, bloodied fingers–

my chest, my breath–

squeezing me, laughing,

upward, upward,


pile-driver teeth

and a lone,


ravenous eye.


roared Ulysses,

and oddly enough–

it did–

escaping, sprinting,

stumbling, somersaulting,

a panicky juggernaut into the sea,

I strike out strong

in the salty cold,

pulling myself up the oars,

into the ship,



I’ll read this one!


Orange Rhyme Sublime

I’ve always wished

That there could be

A place for fruit in poetry.

But every time

I start to rhyme

I find that I am stuck with “lime.”

For slime and time

And rhyme and chime

All complement a verse of lime.

Then there is apple,

A marvelous fruit,

But trying to rhyme

Makes its marvels moot.

Dapple might work

But what about mango

Words dance all around it

But still only tango.

And pity the poor apricot,

Always linked with What-You’re-Not

Or maybe the fact that the weather’s so hot.

Well, that might work,

I’ll give it a shot,

It’s better than quince,

To rhyme with quince,

You must give me hints.

Though to coerce such a rhyme

Might well make you wince.

And that lucky, plucky persimmon,

Nibbled at leisure, by nubile women,

Close, but no cigar,

To rhyming with lemon.

For that we have femin (ine),

A perversion of rhyme

That violates all rules

Like margarine/tangerine,

A rhyme only to fools

Who idolize the cumquat,

Rhyming salaciously–

Pulchritudinous fun thought.

Of course there are berries,

Black, blue, rasp, and straw,

But they’re way, way too easy,

They can rhyme without flaw.

And I should never be glum,

For I can always rhyme plum,

With some, thumb, or rum,

Unless, of course, my brain is quite numb.

The rhymes for peach,

Are not out of reach,

But orange, orange, orange–

Has no rhyme to teach.

Unless, sleight-of-hand, slick like a habit,

From our magician’s hat–

discard the rabbit–

extract the word “foreign,”

just reach in and grab it.

Abracadabra, hocus pocus,

Switch “e,” “g,” “n”–


The word “foringe”

comes quick into focus!

Meaning, of course,

A fruit that’s so ripe,

It squirts when you touch it,

The squishjuicy type:

The small boy who pleaded with Mom for an orange,

got a squirt in the eye cuz the orange was so foringe,

and it wound up devoured

by my friend Carolyn Gorrinje.”

That’s it, I’ve done it.

In unparalleled time,

A new word created,

For an orange rhyme sublime!