1.  The King of Wishful Thinking
is thinking a lot about patterns
and gluing together his busted crown.
Yes, the word open is scratched over his heart.
Yesterday he smoked a cigarette for the first time in twelve years.
He is chips of shale today.
Auditioning for the Pagliacci Parade.
Don’t judge him.

He’s gonna go down swinging, this kid.
He’s checking the weather report and it looks like
the cold ain’t gonna snap much longer.
Still, he is debating growing a beard.
He wants to be a mountain man for awhile.
Or maybe he just wants to be a mountain.
He is afraid of becoming an avalanche.

2.  The Lady of the Lighthouse always knows
which window to put the candle in.
She is never a wall.
She went to door school
and teaches people how to open.

She’s lived on the same shoreline
but never in the same lighthouse for long.
Her dictionary tongue never learned the word
She is vagabond kerchief lovely and she is
the romance of car keys and suitcases.

Now here’s where the story swerves for a few blinks.

3.  Where the mountains ease into the sea,
that’s where these two meet.  This stumbling
pile of plaid and this flutter of feathers and circles.
They are orbiting each other, studying
each others’ flight patterns.

So maybe they stumbled into each other’s mouths
a little too soon.  It could be blamed on
the airport bottles filled with courage and release.
It was probably the way they negotiated escape
in the postcards that they loved each other through.
Maybe, someone posits, they are both each other’s doors,
both with open etched all over their frames.

4.   It is difficult for him when they part.
The newspapers are always thick with her life.
The sidewalks whisper, “This is where
she skipped once”.  The walls sigh and say,
“Yes, a boy more sinew than synapse
kissed her here,”
and the floorboards creak trying to mimic
her blooming laughter.

He has started going to Spirits Anonymous to kick
his haunting habit.   She leaves empty boxes
at his doorstep, full of the space that he needs.
It is an awkward waltz at first, as they are prone
to swept-out rugs and intermittent paralysis.
To negotiate this, the King and the Lady
think a lot about patterns.
Small circles, he thinks, watching his feet.
Sets of threes, she thinks, trying to look

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ROB STURMA used to be called “Ratpack Slim” when he ran around Los Angeles doing performance poetry and slam. In 2005, his stint on Team Hollywood saw him touch the finals stage of the National Poetry Slam. When he wasn’t being scored subjectively, he ran the seminal LA open mic Green (from 2003-2007) with superstar selector DJ Jedi and beatboxer Joshua Silverstein and produced a series of web stories for KCET.org called Children of Slam. Now they call him Rob Sturma again, especially while promoting his new book of poems, Miles of Hallelujah, from Write Bloody Press. He’s graced stages across the country from the Nuyorican Café in NYC to the Ugly Mug in Orange, CA and back again. He's performed with DJ Z-Trip in a packed club, and in a hotel room full of professional wrestlers, the latter of which resulted in his poem “Mick Foley” being featured on TNA Wrestling’s website on their Spin Cycle segment. He now rests his head on the red dirt of Oklahoma City, where he is preparing to co-curate The Encyclopedia Show: OKC, blogging for pop culture website Geekweek.com, forever writing, and getting more prepared than you are for the impending zombie apocalypse.  

4 responses to “King of Wishful Thinking”

  1. milo martin says:

    Ratpack Slim Sturma: the king of synthesizing hyper-reality with surreality anointed with a dash of fictional contemporary non-existent references…there is Jackalope magic abound…

  2. Ratpack Slim Sturma:

    I really dig your work. From the moment I read the first piece that you submitted to us, I wrote to the other TNB editors and said, “This guy is great. We gotta feature him!”

    Keep on wielding that mighty pen of yours to do some hellalicious word slinging.

  3. Judy Prince says:

    I love your poem R Slim. Would have to copy/paste it into this message in order to show you which bits of it I love. Give us some more right here on TNB, RS. We need brilliant, shocky-beautiful wisdom. And you’ve got it.

  4. Carl D'Agostino says:

    He has started going to Spirits Anonymous to kick his haunting habit. As an AA(8 years clean) I think it hit my funny bones certainly hard but in a unique appreciative way. The first thing that came to my mind was a parody of the 12 Steps….

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