Robert E. Wood



Spring butts heads with death
covers winter’s wetwork
with a fleece of gold.

A red-shouldered hawk
waits motionless
for something new to move.


Love and Death

Such ingenuity
to serve desire.
For the god-crazed queen
love is a labyrinth.

Only the bull is a worthy sacrifice.
Wreathed in blood,
he paws the sand.
Death arrives in a suit of lights.

Gemini `

For the twins,
solitude is unthinkable,
soliloquy absurd.

Their geniality is becoming sinister.
They have posed together
for too many portraits

Horror is imminent.
The other side of the looking glass
has broken through.


Avoid the ragged claws.
The polar whiteness beckons,
Neptune ghost-clad, paler than the moon.

Fire will have its say,
speaking of scorched earth and ruin,
the end of scurrying for tiny things.

The oceans shed their salt, ascend.
All waters are baptismal; clouds are a scripture
as fluid as time, more honest than the law.


I take the heat,
lie in the sun.
Someone is eager
to kill a king

This is how it starts.
I become the first labor.
Jupiter with his seraglio
passes through.

The cave gapes like a dark saloon
waiting with aces and eights.


She will be the last
to leave when things
fall apart. She admires

cats and Japanese poets
for their silence. Mercury
can only suggest a path
and stir up the clouds a little.


Dim lit
in the cold-
blooded sky,

the instrument
of reckoning
awaits a human hand.


She is jealous even of death.
She would like to escape to a telenovela
where every woman has flashing eyes
and the men, dark and handsome,
wear silver crosses dangling from their necks
and smiles that hint of danger.

There is a quarrel in every script.
She would know more if she spoke Spanish.
Someone is forging papers.
Like everyone she is a suspect.
She anticipates arrest.

She is very pleased.
But who will plead her case?
Plutón, her abogado, has been disbarred.


No Horseplay signs at the pool
seem like just another cheap shot
after Dante had me giving tours of hell

Ptolemy knew better,
saw me in the heavens Dante
only pretended to negotiate.

Poets and scorpions, beware my bow.
I contain planets, nebulae.
My deep wells of dying stars
are no one’s cup of tea.


When the sea goat soars
in the too dark night,
decorum yields to fancy.

We dream of Saturnalia—
the goat man piping,
maidens clustered like grapes,

dancing everyone dancing,
not a drop spills
from bowl or cup.

At dawn the hearth is cold,
the gambols of the heart are chancy

for the Harlem Globetrotters

Before the fancy dribbling,
the simple pranks,
the sleight of hand,
we know the score.

The basket doesn’t matter.
We await the water bucket,
the old gag always new,
the anticipated downpour bursting
into a thousand paper stars.


Winter taught us sleep,
but troubles linger.
The day grows longer,
the night less absolute.

A few green shoots
are taking a chance.
The fishes dance
in a pool of sky.

Bob photo 1 030509 IMG_0088

Robert E. Wood teaches in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech and received a PhD in English at the University of Virginia.  His film studies include essays on Fosse, DePalma, and Verhoeven, as well as The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  He is the author of Some Necessary Questions of the Play, a study of Hamlet.  His poetry has appeared in such journals as Southern Humanities Review, South Carolina Review,  Quiddity, Quercus Review, Blue Fifth Review, Jabberwock Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Poets and Artists, and Prairie Schooner.  His chapbooks, Gorizia Notebook and Sleight of Hand, were published by Finishing Line Press. His award winning book of ekphrastic poetry, The Awkward Poses of Others, published by WordTech, includes poems on art and cinema.