Robert Strong



In the Beginning was all this and the contract: this land without form, &
void & the dotted line whose signing started time, started the winter already
on its way as we came from before being here—a whiteness come tossing
across the face of the deep a little tardy by late November to take up the
covenant verbatim: The Party of the Second Part shall sow so they shall
reap; the Party of the First Part shall vacate fair fields and refrain from their
mouth; the Party of the Second Part shall sweat of the brow etc.
And the
evening & the morning were sleep & toil, the evening & the morning were
export & import, location & location, and let there be Blacks— & Whites
to say: let you bring forth green grass and herb yielding seed after its kind,
let you manage my dominion over cattle & creeping thing, great whale &
winged fowl, my every living creature that moveth, and the clock ticking on
our arrival, the want of the flesh of our flesh, the dust & mud we have
contracted to replenish and subdue (as stated above), and the property
value—for it and meat and every green herb shall be for meat.


Before the Beginning I could eat of was the freedom of trees. All was
brought before to see what to call it. A game played language, giving names
to not do. And run from mom and cling to ribmeat. It began of murmurs
of a bad unwrapped by the breezy part of the day. In the breezy part of a
day: a breaking of bread on a sweaty face, making efforts to sui generis in
leather garments and grim earthyield. Forced from dust to seek our flesh in
other dirtmeat and sent east away from manifest. Dusk. Ungenerous.
Breaking ranks and ribcage. Becoming equipment brings "to want rest."
The end of rest begins memory. After eating tree from ribmeat—toil for
dirt return. Retreat & remain, banish & keep. Remember death (this idea).
Move west.



O give us individual mobility and daily we will embrace death.

Give us miles to the gallon and things made small by moving swiftly away.
We will sacrifice certain teenagers to the oak tree.

Make the sunrise manifest in the sideview and the periphery a roar of shouldercorn.
Ours will be the Kerouac and the Conoco, those empty shells of orangegreen HoJos.

Make our existence portable beyond the white picket fence with internal combustion.
Constant surveillance and insurance upon our own and only possible existence is OK by us.

Give us eternal direction divided by nice green strips, the whirring sound of pistonbirth.
We will cheat our legs of land— on leather or whatever, we will strap in against
          a throw from our going.

Make the miles a whetstone to our way, the highmetal quick to the skyheavy horizon.
We will aisle it with junk and liquid drug, with the sacrament of Big Mac and more gas.

Could the howling wilderness just be calmed with concrete please?
We will be the oil and the asphalt, we will predestine in shatterglass and no-fault.

Make us in you all ergonomic and airconditioned, arrive us deodored and relieved, ready
          whenever to leave.
We will set our seed in reverse childseats, split roadbeasts in two for you.

Deliver us in you we dwell, deliver us through roads that only are home.
We will save and surrender ticket at exit, we will invent us an automatic E-Z Pass.

Take us fast into the samemore, diminish everything left behind us.
Let us eat the doubleyellow in the blackscreennight like Pac-Man.

We will go wakka wakka wakka,
O sing, wakka wakka wakka.



I will remember the dust. I will remember the roses and the potroasts. I will remember the peaches and cold cool ice and the acne cream. I will not forget the lost waffles and wedding rings, the report cards, fireworks, first bra. Oh those valentines, lost timepieces, those cat feces, raindrops and birdlove, old pigskin and porkchops. I will breath the ferrous air aware of slicing limes to get a bit sluiced. I remember gold corona bottles, whole. I remember the smooth moves inside my throat and thankful stomach sensations. I am recycling a city on this hill of overripe condoms and odd egginess, this castle of tin cans and can-do. I raise a toast to the spilled champagne and shitpants. I set the scent-dial to vanilla and will ascend and remember—wave the white-winged gulls back to their work ethic. I will come to rest on this hamburger landfull, the vanilla-landfilla, and remember my days.





These pieces are American Common Prayers from my manuscript Puritan Spectacle. When I read them to myself, they feel often very sad; read out loud to an audience, they sound hilarious. This is a dilemma and a clue as I proceed forward.