Poems by Robert Reid Drake


You Never Thought Not to Tell

But he still doesn’t know— how you got hard watching Porky Pig fall from his fishing boat, basted and bound at the bottom of the ocean. Someone else for supper, you thought. How you played shepherd with the lambs on your sheets in the summertime, lead them to safety in the folds of yourself— still learning to bend in ways that felt natural. Celebrate that which is still wholly yours.

Think about it when he breaks the arm rest in your car. Think about it when he’s t-boned after taking you to the bus station. Think about it when he makes you cry in the parking lot of your favorite video store. How long did it take to plunge a knife like that?


Our Lady of Garden & Gun. The hair on their legs give blessing to pansies along footpaths. Village to village they sing with subtlety & to the spiritual welfare of the whole of life: yeah, Lie to the cops, yeah we playing stupid. Our Lady of Fitting Room Mirrors. squeeze tree trunk thighs into slim cut Levi's and sigh relief with the stretching seams. Run a thumb down a thread as remembrance of what it takes. Hold yourself together. Our Lady of Concern That We Smoke Weed More Often Than is Healthy. With his insight and sensibility he can pierce the depths, but in his innate frivolity he fetches up from them not a jewel but a tinsel ornament. Our Lady of Tattoos We Might Regret if They Were More Visible. But break open a pen & give yourself four more in the month of March. By a window wait for the last clumps of your first winter alone to slide from the gutter, fall dead behind the compost. Our Lady of Unread Emails. Negotiate your meeting in the car so long that your battery dies. Tell the man who's dick you have seen from seven angles that god has it in for you, that twelve blocks is too far to walk in this kind of cold. You're sorry, you're sorry, but this is much bigger than you. Our Lady of Well Intentioned Afflictions. It gets better. It gets better. Oh, it gets better. Someone will point out a spectral gem and say it's something other than far away.


Massive Delight for Runaway Scouts. or, Troubled Fun in Troop 69.

There is no foot path, no blue blazes to point a way. It is thick, just thick- the camera man’s breath, the rhododendron’s guard, a spinning arm outstretched and a cotton mouth clasped at the tail. No one knows when to strike, in what direction. We can forget ourselves in motion.

In an almost accurate Boy Scout uniform, his black brow in exaltation, laughter breaks past tongue and teeth. A worried glance shoots quick into the camera. The second boy arrives and attention turns. The snake is thrown. The same broad hand slides across the other scout's belly, pulls him in by the bend of the back. But cut to the snake— black body bent beneath the leaves, coiled shaft pulsing in blood or breath. Jaw opens to the edge of unhinge, pale mouth patient. We can forget ourselves but for a second. Every body is a foreign shore.

Robert Reid Drake is soft butch, pansy poet currently living in Washington, DC.  He is a former host & curator of Juniper Bends, a free & femme-centric reading series in Asheville, NC. He is a graduate of UNC Asheville and his work has appeared in Assaracus, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and Crab Fat Magazine, as well as the collaborative zine, Doing It Mostly Wrong. On the internet he is sweet, sweet, sweeterthanspit.