Elizabeth Robinson

The Book of Running and Apprehension


Now I speak for myself
and say,
"Put those in the chase
into their right places."

It's my creator who
follows most furiously
and least well.

Who knows better my scent.
The elements of my making.

But no one can plumb what I pursue.


Any race run
can be run again
to losses
and gains.

The aspirant
runs past

to place one immobile object
in relation to another.

And he hopes that the relation
will endure.


His legs are brown,
his arms are brown.
His beauty was vegetal
as it sped by.

His beauty sped by
and the clarity
of his body
amended what


His face is simple and fine.
He makes the onlookers hunger.


The mouth struggles
with its intention,

the way a runner looks
back over his shoulder.

"Kiss" shapes itself by gait
and speed,

interchangeable from
mouth to mouth.


What is bitter and what is
finally caught in the same sentence.

Prize, booty, bag, spoils.

If we permit him to go on
this way, the exact fact is:
the spoil.


The mouth opens.


Think of anything
that cannot move,
that hasn't its own


This is his circling
gesture, face, course:

The rock. The roadway.
The bowl on the porch. Costume. Crumb.

There's a chant inside him:
run, run, as fast you can,
you can't
to catch me.

Taunt is faster than chant.


One who has no lover.
One who collects objects
and calls them his "wake".

This is what lips, tongue, imply.
What is sanctuary, what is the lure

but a snare.

The slow unfolding that covers
his haste.



© 2002 Electronic Poetry Review