MTPR

Robert Lee's 'Breath'

Dec 4, 2018

Breath
Credit Robert Lee / Foothills Publishing

  Companions

The plants in my bedroom,

I forget their names, are dead.

Dried up, both of them.

Negligent homicide, if you must

call it murder. I'll confess

that I enjoy their corpses.

Dried leaves don't cry out for anything.

Brown vines don't climb everything in reach.

A plant will dominate, if you lavish

too much water on it. I never do.

These two creatures are suspended

animation, one completely brown

his phallic stalk, shrunken.

Long leaves, curled and coarse

coffee-colored pods full of beans.

He's done with drink and righteous bloom.

His mate is muted, pale green,

fragile leaves almost white.

Death's bride, with no hint

of a blush.

I'll never throw them out

not while I inhabit this room, alone.

I celebrate their tender lines,

the beauty of their present tense.

About the Book:

Breath is life, and Robert Lee's Breath like life is loaded with laughter, tears, music, and wit, its pace in constant flux, pushing the mind to connect. Always conscious of the beat, listening for the breath, he reminds us to stop and breathe, take it all in, knowing that we're almost gone.

-- Mark Gibbons, The Imitation Blues

Elegiac, death defying, hard earned truth in this collection. “All music from a funeral” writes the poet. Comes hard for the heart: racing receipts with the numbers of the losses. Devoted to each moment, Muse for the Hydaburg Warriors. Fish fear him.All along, a wit as dry as ice: The force of his language comes up behind you and you jump, and you’re glad you did, and feel the better for it.

-- Sheryl Noethe, MT. Poet Laureate, 2011-2013, Poetry Everywhere, Grey Dog Big Sky, Ghost Openings

Robert Lee’s poems take us into intimacy between friends, between lovers, between life’s sweetness and unavoidable loss. Each poem is filled with closeness and story. There is a kaleidoscope of humor, love and beautiful things gone too soon. This collection of poems bravely faces the impermanence we all breathe together, “until/ one by one/ the ones I know and need/ stop breathing.” Anyone who enjoys poems that matter, will love these poems.

-- Jennifer Finley: author of My Hands Have Vertigo

Robert Lee

About the Author:

Robert Lee is the author of Guiding Elliott, Lyons Press 1997, reissued in paper back by Mountain Press 2013. His poetry chapbook Black Bear Holds a Hole in His Paws was inspired by three autumns spent as writer in residence in Hydaburg, Alaska for the Missoula Writing Collaborative (M.W.C.). Robert has taught for M.W.C. for nearly twenty years. His work has appeared in the anthologies New Montana Stories and Poems Across the Big Sky I & II,  Montana Magazine, and in numerous literary journals. Robert is a tutor for the Writing and Public Speaking Center at the University of Montana. He resides in Missoula Montana with his bride, the lovely Rosemary Lynch.