Archive for the Paul Corman Roberts Category

Paul Corman Roberts

Posted in Paul Corman Roberts with tags on March 9, 2023 by Scot



A signature tell
of despair
the repetition
of a futile act.
A point I have long surpassed.

I crank
the ignition again.
then quick
three times in a row,
screwing patience on as hard as I can.

A fourth attempt; a fifth.
On number six, the engine turns over again
in high pitched, screeching revs.
a spark.
A moment; magical
the engine catches!

I sweat, breathing my luck rapidly.
I release the keys,
take three slow breaths
then push the gas ever so gently.

The engine turns on its own now
the idle still runs obscenely fast.
I throw the transmission into reverse;
careful to move slow,
and luckily no one behind me on the approach.

Quick, before the car can even realize what’s happening,
I let up on the gas for a split second, slam the stick
into drive, and we’re back in business
moving forward.
I’m fine so long as I don’t hit the brakes.
So here a dilemma has crawled on top of the hood of the Corolla,
stares me down through the windshield
as I approach the onramp to Highway 58.

The dilemma’s right-hand
points North and East;
back toward Vegas; back over turf
I’m supposed to have severed,
left behind.

The right -hand of dilemma is a crawling,
whimpering defeat,
yes goddammit
a denial.
The condescension on its face makes me nauseous.

The left-hand of Dilemma points North and West,
toward San Francisco,
toward the Central Valley
and certain breakdown.

If that ain’t freedom,
I don’t know what is.

Two Poems by Paul Corman Roberts

Posted in Paul Corman Roberts with tags on November 17, 2019 by Scot


Staring in real time at
the mobile neon city
with still corners
and wormholes to Bakersfield
cascading down
waterfall tabulas of light
something is burning
in real time
and like the man once said:
this is the best we could do
their there sweet Narcissa
so in love with our gaze
so skilled in the gazing
the fact of the gaze
become more than the fear
staring back at us
in real time.




top to bottom a pattern
we all know like our DNA we can’t
see where it ends or begins.

It could be steampunk
it could be art deco
it could even be practical
for all we know

I once saw
a very intense man
climb halfway up
to provide himself
a three hundred sixty degree perspective
for six straight hours
but it wasn’t true panopticon
a twisting insistence of the structure
gave a compromised
distorted field of vision and honestly
how could any god want anything more?

1/64th of an inch think risers don’t look
as if they could support a chihuahua
who broke into the coffee stash
but with pure sheet metal
and rusty looking screws that look
not only like they could
but like they want to draw blood

All centered around
a hollow black tube
that flies forever through the floor
the ceiling
the roof and no evidence
this structure is not
the center of the room
no evidence it is not the center of the entire Golden Gate
theater building or the center
of San Francisco
or California
or the planet
or even this foci
of the solar system
so it’s okay
if you want to get a little bit closer.

Three Poems by Paul Corman-Roberts

Posted in Paul Corman Roberts with tags on August 11, 2019 by Scot


Mental note:

Be grateful
for the opportunity
to be running
out of time.

Walter Benjamin noted
when we have our last
conversations with our
dearly departing
in their final beds

we are already speaking
a language that is alien to them
and that’s how it will be for us.

is simply another layer
of the looping gravity well
within whose current
we are all swept

which is to say:

we are always in it
before we know
we are in it
but at least
we are in it

so we’ve got that going.


My tribe: the dorks

The Tribe of Dork

Who else obsesses the nth degree of minutae
but the Tribe of Dork?
I remember one of the brujas
writing a poem after a show at the Stork’s Nest
called “Dorks at the Stork.”

But I digest.
The list of appetizers and courses is loooooonnnnng:
the relevance of:
the Oxford comma
one space or two after a sentence?
the proper usage of a semi-colon
the proper usage of a colon
dashes for punctuation
ellipses for punctuation
the overuse of slashes
the overuse of line breaks (what you actually like those?)
the relevance of the Chicago Manual of Style to style
the relevance of footnotes to relevance
the relevance of DFW’s footnotes to anything

All this but a small sample size
from the smorgasboard/buffet/all you can eat entrees
offered up to those lost appetites
by the Tribe of Dork.

Is it any wonder AWP
has become a writhing rat king’s nest of
repressed sublime sexual tension
that can be split wide open
with an overheated biodegradable spork?
which not coincidentally rhymes with “dork”
(see “tribe of” in footnotes.)



Just ahead of me on my hike through the scenic mountain path, perched above the rustic commercial drag. They don’t hear my approach nor see me slip onto the bench in the little nook on the side of the path. They’re beautiful of course, so fashionably put together. Her sandy blonde hair clipped perfectly, hanging past her shoulders. His stubble just the right growth, about two or three days & their 1.2 kids tucked comfortably in the dual jog stroller sporting an “Obama/Biden ’08 sticker.”

They waited till their mid-30’s to reproduce. I don’t want to overtake them. I don’t want them to see me on the path, but they won’t move. The oldest, a little under or over two pitches a fit, refuses to budge for 15 minutes. They’ve moved maybe twenty feet in that time span to accommodate the tantrum.

I suppose I’m jealous. I wish I was that young & idealistic again. I wish for a moment my family could be that beautiful, that passive in their idealism and beauty. They no doubt work as consultants for consulting firms who no doubt schedule meetings to discuss the importance of scheduled meetings indicative of their current progress.

Who am I kidding? I’m jealous because I’m attracted to her and envious of him and I want to know what her pussy smells and tastes like after 1.2 kids and I’m thinking pretty damn good.


BIO: Paul Corman-Roberts’ is the author of “Water for the House of Yes” due out from Nomadic Press in 2020. He is an original co-founder of Oakland’s Beast Crawl Poetry Festival and co-produces the Fire Thieves reading series with San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck.

SANCTUARY by Paul Corman Roberts

Posted in Paul Corman Roberts with tags on August 1, 2017 by Scot




reaching through saran-wrap-o-sphere congestion in prayer for streamers of cold crisp air cooled by moonlight though I am not a creature of the night but a denizen of the pre-dawn coming here to escape not from everyone else but from everywhere else, a hiding place to be alone in sometimes

… Didn’t you?

Social currency washes out
with the next high tide.

Hanuman lives in all our memories, fucks with our heads every time we take on the animal rituals of body, the reptilian rituals of death and sex, the angelic rituals of cleansing, and the demonic rituals of burning the whole motherfucker down.

I have
grown fat
on fake news.

Memes are
more nutritious
than media

There remains an impossible magic loving to be found in the smell of these ruins. It refuses to die. A new city is built from the twilight residue, scattered by winds from a Fall no investor saw comin’ round the mountain when it came. Hope was left behind somewhere on the journey but like the river, like love, it is a relentless comer that reminds you that you are too, a quavering in the voice and we become intoxicated on a forbidden tincture holding all the secrets of guilt, grief and joy so vividly felt in the collapse of television networks, in the bloody conquest or righteous barbarians and an unfortunate smear of dog shit running up along the sides of your brand spanking new loafers.

We can no longer hide in launder mats, donut shops doubling as burger joints; no longer take cover in union halls and miniature golf courses, walk easily into Canada because there is no longer an unguarded border for our new thing, our overlord driven thugocracy. When that heavy particulate twilight coils it’s purple boa about our shoulders, that is the time we will most need to know there is a place for us, not just a place, not just a shelter but


the place
where monsters
cannot reach us,
at least
for tonight
we have

a concrete slab in the boiling night to lay together on a cooling absorbency as the foundation of a new kind of starry prayer. Feel, not so much hear, our comrades calling out to us from afar the collective sabbatical is over. Drain the bath, wear your layer of grime against your nakedness a shield of bacterial armor, you can’t tell me you’re not ready for this fight anymore you can’t tell me you haven’t prepared the eviction notices for your old demons you can’t go on wrestling with the questions they are trying to distract you with: there is no wrong answer.

Mama we know you are doing everything you can to drag the family back down to your soiled earthen hootches, the cost of just enough sanity to keep the unsmooth machine belching away but you couldn’t know that we would take to it with such vigor, like that one fish all those years ago who decided she had enough of the fucking ocean for a lifetime.


Dear American, you didn’t have to be so ugly. If you die an hour from now your life has still been ninety percent better than the rest of the planet’s lives but fetishizing that other ten percent is what makes you such a beautiful American. I can look you in the eye and say “yes, you have that fire” but I need you to put your hand inside me like a well worn glove and tell me the same, tell me I belong in this Rube Goldberg contraption of a series of spiral orbits around another series of spiral orbits around another series of spiral orbits around an obit. When one of us moves through the veil, the veil also moves through us and this causes some worry when the mob cries WITHOUT HYPERBOLE WE ARE NOTHING to a call and response that fires back with THE TONE POLICE ARE THE ONLY POLICE WE NEED!

Very well then…

as below, so above but don’t be surprised at the fear of love in this kind of world. Once upon a time I may have gleefully retorted TOLD YA SO! but what does that gain anyone besides an acrid aftertaste in the tonsils? Is that all you can afford? Pretty smug for a white thug. The secular world sustains an industry of self congratulatory award programs for those who refuse to get on their knees, for those whom the word “compromise” triggers anxiety attacks, for those who refuse to humble themselves beneath the firmament, because that’s what it means to get on one’s knees



So please hold me. Please gently stroke my forehead & hold me close while hot tears drift into your palm as we wait for the south bound trains. Maybe I can catch my breath before catching my death of being a so-called aggrieved adult requiring the soothing comfort of my children who never asked to be drafted into the emotional healing industry.

This too
shall arrive
from any
and all
directions the
of age and
a sleight
of body
a feint
all the
a scythe sits
pin pointed
at the top
of the map
of the subconscious
our destination
we hint toward
but from what path
can never be pried
from our teeth
you can only
destroy so much
of the body
but not before
it’s passed on
to some other ghost
that must be chased:




INTERVIEW WITH THE POET by Paul Corman Roberts

Posted in Paul Corman Roberts with tags on September 25, 2014 by Scot

I sat down to interview the poet

They said:

Don’t be fooled by
the gorgeous bucolism
of the rural countryside:
It IS trying to kill you.

Don’t be fooled by
the homicidal feints
of the big city:
really it’s just lonely
and is looking
to take someone home.

Most big city murders
are the product of uncertainty
or buyer’s remorse.

A crime of passion
is much more frightening
& desperate
& likely to happen
in a moment of beauty;

City people take their kids
to the zoo
to demonstrate
a facsimile of nature
which only really happens
when nature breaks free
for a few moments.

I checked my watch
to find twenty years had gone.

I wondered if the poet and I
were now common law married

I wondered if the poet and I
had copulated & then realized
it didn’t much matter
as these matters go

We shall both know our passing
by the latest gaggle
of photons arriving
for load in
before they pulse
& fragment away.

FRACK JACK I DON’T CARE O’WHACK by Paul Corman Roberts

Posted in Paul Corman Roberts with tags on November 7, 2013 by Scot

The desolation to Damascus
paved with do-gooder campaigning
begins at compacted concrete
evidence & public opinion
historical foundations laid down

proven demograscapes
the past ten years
& promising
to never indulge
our vices again
in the cold
cold rain.

Whatever you stand for God’s sake
please make sure the hipsters
can’t use that shit against you
should keep plenty preoccupied
with unoccupation & headstrong fumes of consumer ether.

Let them frack
your soul
your conscience
for the price of a map
which leads
to another map
which leads
to another map
ad infinitum
cause believe me:

In America nothing commodifies faster
than the journey nothing more undesirable
than the destination
a can to keep kicking down
the good-intention super highway.

Featured Poet–Paul Corman Roberts

Posted in Paul Corman Roberts with tags on June 5, 2012 by Scot

Paul’s second job is promoting underground poetry in San Francisco and the bay area.  He doesn’t own a famous bookstore and doesn’t need one to accomplish the goal.  He is an unselfish, tireless worker at promoting others and the craft and art of our words.

Enjoy a glimpse of his work below.

Three Poems by Paul Corman Roberts

Posted in Paul Corman Roberts with tags on June 5, 2012 by Scot


Contrary to popular belief
The poets are the last
To be killed or driven out
When the various gurgling pockets of
Begin to fracture, shrink, divide and multiply
Into a foamy disaffectation
Beneath the economic pressure
That makes a liar out of everyone
Who claimed they had faith
In civilization.

Poets used to be the elite of course;
In the days when only the elite
Were allowed to read and write.

Since then, no practice or profession
Has so sycophantically embedded itself
Into the columns of society
Than that of “poet.”

And this is because genuine poets
Are genuine slaves to words.
And words have always been used
To divide and fracture and
Separate and segregate.
And there is none of this
That is new.

But what the liberal white intellectuals
Tend to forget
Is that while Western Civilization
Faces many humiliating and degrading mileposts
On its slide down history’s timeline
There is still actually quite a long way to go.

But make no mistake about it
And let’s be perfectly clear on this

When the authorities
Begin rounding up the poets
And incarcerating them
En masse,
You can be sure that
It is not the beginning of the end

But a sure sign
That the whole shithouse
Has already gone up in flames.

–          For Mojo R 40 years on down the line



It was a gorgeous day in Hell this afternoon.
Seventy-Five degrees and a gentle breeze,
Flames unobstructed by clouds.

Yeah, a beautiful blue sky day in Hell,
In this city, it’s Heaven’s ambassador to Hell.
The eternal bad seed, the tainted soil of paradise;
Because you know every Heaven has got to have one.

Did you think the place was all brimstone and high impact aerobics in a lake of molten lava for all eternity?
None of our religions tell us that Hell is what we feel, not what we see;
Hell is the ultimate illusion much as it was designed to be.

Hell is
Wall constructed combustion
Line drawn exclusion
Hell is fission and it is fusion.
Hell is the wholesale of consciousness and creativity
by those claiming to be prophets of vision
when in fact they are only visions of profits.
It is where we are told to cling to the sidewalk
and all of its associated storefronts
because if we don’t we’ll have to come back after we die.
Hell is a beckoning, teasing lover;
palpable yet just out of reach;
a mirage that slips not through the fingers
so much as the mind; leaving the heart at war.

And war is against the white blood cells of the nurturing, single welfare Gaia.

Hell is inside you dreamer, individual,
You time-spun creators, you dust-bound poets,
You geodes of star matter made self-conscious.
We are our own angels and demons.
We are the citizens of Hell,
and literally it loves us to death,
because we do shine this dark
and shine this light with an astonishing intensity,

Inside these carbon wrapped marionettes,
On this collapsing proscenium;
We all just want to make it to the cast party baby,
‘Cause Hell is not the hereafter…
… it is…


Ponder the mind
which originally conceived a WMD
designed to maximize
the suffering of the living
and minimize damage
to property, resources and capital

none of the sheer vaporization of particles
provided by the all encompassing H-bomb
or even the conventional A-bomb
nearly as clean and quick
a death one might ask for
almost a blessing
a purifying death

But no
instead here is the lowest bid
the path of least resistance
the all too convenient
dirty bomb
which by force
creates a relatively minor ripple
in the space time continuum
but also manages
to render urban populations
into George Romero extras
in rather large numbers

Take a moment to imagine
everyone you engage with
nearly every day
and every month
and every year
whether you love them
or loath them
but please imagine
every last one of them

with their hair falling out
puking blood the whole day long
third degree burns
eating, sleeping, shitting and breeding
on all their faces
all the time
all the while trying to figure out
the best way to die
while the power plants
and lockboxes
and secured resources
await scavengers
frequently wearing protective gear.

& while a disproportionate number of us
May already be oddly suited
to such an environment
But please do me this one favor
and never forget
Who I guarantee
Was a man
With very rich descendants
Pondered this scenario
For all of us.

Paul Corman Roberts

Posted in Paul Corman Roberts with tags on June 5, 2012 by Scot

Elegy for the 20th Century Liberal Activist by Paul Corman Roberts

Posted in Paul Corman Roberts with tags , , on December 4, 2011 by Scot

Don’t you remember?
Somewhere on this timeline
between Waco TX
The deterioration of our walls and grimy floor
Someone said needed sweeping once before
but these rebels don’t care enough
to keep ‘em clean anymore.

There is a dated sexual revolution
Somewhere among the heaps of rot
Strewn about our Occupy.
There is a forgotten labor movement
At the bottom of a laundry hamper,
A civil rights mandate
beneath a greasy pizza container.
The only movement visible now
Is toward the horrible clarity of sobriety.

We’ve been squatting
beneath the barricades for so long now.
Long enough for history
to go all fuzzy via time exposure.
Long enough to believe recess is over
& the bell rang
& we just missed it.

Don’t you remember..?

Don’t you remember when the enemies’
advance battalions arrived
in their matching Circle K polyester uniforms?
Don’t you remember when they surrounded us
and just
…camped out?
Swilling Crazy Horse malt liquor
and processing legalese?

Our bastions shelled
batteries of forms
our turrets strafed
by business return envelops.

An armada of B-1 bureaucratic bombers
dumped their payloads
of competing deregulated utility bills
and eviction notices.

& we laughed.
We pointed in their faces
& so they opened up high-pressure hoses
Dousing and bruising us with a vitriolic ink
& still we took our eternal youth for granted.

Don’t you remember Visa’s special assault forces
scaling their way through our computers
and into our wallets? When treaties were posted
on the front gates offering truces in exchange
for letting the insurance Gestapo impose an existence tax?

So some stuck their heads out the windows and cried
“all we want is our sex, drugs and rock and roll to be on sale down at the mall!”
And then others stuck their heads out the window to protest that this was not at all what the rest of us wanted.
So media pundits and Wall Street columnists ensconced in sniper nests blew off their heads.
And proclaimed, “we’ve consulted what Jesus would do, and Jesus would say one out of three isn’t bad!”
Then there was a diplomatic concierge of Hollywood agents, recording industry executives and Silicon Valley headhunters and Angels waving mall itineraries.
And some cried out “we’ll take it!”
Then even more stuck their heads out the window
to protest that this was even less than what they wanted.
Only to have investors wielding gavels and invisible profit certainty blow off their heads.

Don’t you remember those few who were left?
Looking for a way out
For one
Or maybe
for all?

Don’t you remember seeing daylight
through cracks in a wall
clinging to its seduction of offered passage
Only to watch it fade
Behind the mounting paperwork mortars
that once seemed so harmless?

I remember
I see these things
again and again,
too many times to count.
That’s just the way things cycle
here in the encampment.
Like I said, history gets fuzzy.

I think the power has been turned off
& the urban-khaki storm troopers
have gapped the plumbing.

& that’s all right,
because the few of us left
didn’t want to go
through a social cleansing anyway.
It would have been unsatisfactory
knowing what awaits the party lizard
that manages to survive till the gray dawn light.

We’d rather wallow in the stink of the bunker.
We’d rather smile, smile, smile and wait
for the barricades we grew
and the tents we set down
and the community we tried to build
to copulate
with the diplomats and troops and
special market forces in one shining moment of clarity
when nothing stands between our pure existence
and their lust to reprogram us in their image.
What a fine moment
that is going to be.