Robert Krut

Humor can rise to the surface in poems when we allow them freedom. Meaning, when I wrote the poem here, I wasn't trying to be humorous. Instead, it grew out of an attempt to free myself of rigid rules (never write about a heart-eating robot, for example). In turn, I have heard from readers (the piece originally appeared in the journal Cranky), that they found it humorous. What's truly humorous, I think, is that I never looked at it as such, and I don't think the speaker does at all. In the end, though, if the humorous and/or odd aspects provide an entry to the piece's real business, my intention (of lack of it) for their inclusion doesn't really matter. The response reminds me of my favorite quote about humor, from Mel Brooks: "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die."                                                                                                      





The Clumsy Love Robot 


I’ve been feeding my robot human hearts
in an effort to have him
understand the formula that posits
love is cumulative, not chronological.

But it is hard—he waves heavy metal
arms wildly and speaks in sparks, a melody
voice. One of his eyes blew out, and now
there is shattered glass all over the floor.

While I was trying to subdue him, he threw
your lamp against the wall. I swear I’ll fix it
as soon as I’m done teaching him
and feeding him these educational nutrients.

I have to tell you: I
broke your lamp. And I hate to tell you:
I cried a little when it happened.
And I want to erase this all,

confessing to crying in a poem,
but honesty’s impatient and I’ve got work
to do. That smashed eye of the robot
has birthed a filament and it is glowing red.


Robert Krut is the author of The Spider Sermons (forthcoming from BlazeVOX Books in 2009). His work has appeared in journals like Blackbird, Barrow Street, and The Mid-American Review. In addition, his chapbook, Theory of the Walking Big Bang, was released in 2007 by H-ngm-n Books. He teaches at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and lives in Los Angeles.