Robert James Russell


Robert James Russell co-founded the indie comic book publisher Saint James Comics in 2009 (

He has had work featured by *Year Zero Writers*, *Like Birds Lit* and *Leaves & Flowers*, and is currently working on his debut novel, excerpts of which appear on his website (

Robert lives in Detroit with his dog, Chewie.

Two Poems (August 20, 2010. Issue 20.)

Tequila Sunrise

long thought into night
our hair on the shared pillow
yours an extension of mine
one big mess
the sheets balled like a fist
at the end of the bed
your eyes half awake
half dreaming
your eyes the color
of the universe exploding into being
my hands on you
on all parts of you
my head filled with
a concert of noise i can’t mute
we drank so much last night
almost got kicked out, but
we knew the guy tending bar
bottomdwellers, he calls us
but we never listen, just
do the deeds and make love
and now, this is the best
right here
the night a goner
the morning sun laughing
pinching us
and we ignore him
because this is it
the end of the world in a cozy queen-size
warm and damp and smelling of us
of us together
that sex smell
that lingers like cuffs in the air

we drank tequila
and we loved it

Memorial Day 2010

The whole family gathers together
around a beatup grill –
its duct taped fuel line
radiating a perfume of propane and
meat fallen through the grates,
charred to the bottom and reborn as
coalblack pieces of suet, indistinguishable
from charcoal now and permanently
stinking up the porch…which is
nothing more than a tiny patch
of dead backyard grass
flies overhead like buzzards.
Everyone gorging on light beer
hot dogs and hamburgers
seven-layer dips shouting obscenities
pontificating religious dogoodery
rightwing politics and the
problems in the Middle East and
how, if they were in charge, it would
all be different.  Cheap makeup and clothes
tasteless tattoos snaking up wilted arms
dulled from age and brown summer tans.
Fruit platters of cantaloupe and honeydew
for dessert and everyone livening up living it up
the world the same but changing for them
growing warmer the embrace tighter
hoorah-ing into the night –
cursing and steaming and
letting themselves forget
what it is that they swore
never to forget.