The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words


All In Black Blood copy 2

See me taxidermied – a prom date after

four wine coolers. Ooh la la! Such romance.

You see me cross-sectioned, slit and pinned

a science class earthworm.

Point to my parts, label them clearly.

This is amateurish, groping.


Thank you Ross Robbins for splaying yourself open like the science class earth worm. For letting everything out in the open. For being the extroverted mass transit rider, the malevolent toothache. For knowing that sometimes, “love is a many vendored thing.”

In his latest release, All in Black My Love Went Riding (Two Plum Press), Robbins lays everything on the table. There’s no urgency about what he’s saying, but rather a want for the reader to understand that love, and life, and self are not all lost. Instead, they just happen, and you just have to deal with it.

Tired as clay but ready to shape.

Persistent ache in the right side of my head—

it only hurts when I think about poetry, doc.

Which is always…

Which is neverending…


When the mind refuses to shut down, and when even the pulling of a metaphoric tooth won’t even stop the pain of life’s roller coaster. Robbins just keeps it going. Because if you “sit still enough [you] won’t move at all.” There’s nothing gained from a stagnant world. He implores you to grab reality by the balls – sometimes imploring in a non-metaphoric way – and just do what needs to be done to satisfy the ache. Because, look, we are all slowly disappearing, and we can either wait for it to happen, or jump onto the next MAX train, and see where it all goes.

If you live in the Portland, Oregon area, you can grab your copy of Ross Robbins’ All in Black Blood My Love Went Riding at its release party on Thursday, June 19th at the Independent Publishing Resource Center. Or, after that date via Two Plum Press. 


About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

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