Sunday, June 24, 2018

Summer Poetry Pop-up: Kim Roberts


His mother dressed him up so fine,
spent all her cash on sailor suits,
wool knickers with the sewn-in pleats,
and floppy grosgrain ribbon ties.
The Coney Island crowd of boys
liked him though: his dirty jokes,

his pitching arm.  Also the way
he let his mother dress him up,
then watched her face go purple-red
screaming down the tenement walls
to all the ragged neighbor boys
who called him out to stickball games.

His name is Irving! she would shout
to my father and his gang below.
It's Irving!  You dirty indigents!
You impecunious gutter rats!

No one screamed as gloriously:
How dare you beggars call him Schmutz!

                                                                   --Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is the author of A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston (University of Virginia Press, 2018), and five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017). She co-edits the journal Beltway Poetry Quarterly and the web exhibit DC Writers’ Homes. Roberts has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, HumanitiesDC, and the DC Commission on the Arts, and has been a writer-in-residence at 17 artist colonies (and will attend her 18th, Art OMI in New York State, this coming October). Poems of hers have been featured in the Wick Poetry Center’s Traveling Stanzas Project, on the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day Project, and on podcasts sponsored by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her website:

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