Ash Bowen

must have been genius. But I like
to think of Goldbarth before all that:
his Iowa writing room, the dog-eared pages
of everything—Popular Mechanics,
Poetry, Scientific American, maybe
Monarch Notes for whatever
wasn’t available. In the corner,
a space robot with killer pinchers,
a soft disposition and a heart
that pumped Plutonium-239, the isotope
the Manhattan Project liked to play with.   

Night and day, Goldbarth lumbering
through his room of radioactive dust,
his black-rimmed glasses blurred
by atomic fallout, his eyes spiraling
like a B-movie hypnotism screen—
that’s Goldbarth to me. Goldbarth
in the quad. Goldbarth out for coffee.
Goldbarth shot down by girls in a bar.
The real Goldbarth. Before awards
made Goldbarth Goldbarth, when
he was alone in his room, just
waiting for a carcinogenic machine 
to cough him the next line. 





The poem was spurred on by Goldbarth's own poem, "Library" and from reading Richard Siken's interview of Goldbarth which can be read [here].