The Poetry Department

Click on the title you want to read. I'll asdd more as I get time.

A lot of the poetry I will post here is older poetry from my youth. Some of it, the angst of youth, the darkness that is mostly tainted by adolescence, that and the immature poetry structures!


Click on the title of the poem you want to read, and it will expand for you to read. I'll add poems as I get time!

Carnitas and Manic Mango Salsa

Carnitas and Manic Mango Salsa

© Rob Krabbe 2011

So far the only good
and tasty “real Mexican food”
in the Land of Dixie, is in
my memory of some of the best
music, cooked up in a mixed pot
on the front lawn of a rented house
on “Avenida De Los Arboles” back in
the day before I figured out
it wasn’t the worst thing
in the world to be crazy.

When I lived in the Los Angeles area,
I spent a great amount of time
trying to remember if I was
a criminal or not.

A bread crumb trail
of hopes on the orange and green
tiled floor so I could find my
way back in the angst ridden fog
of that dry San Fernando Valley spring.

Not all bad, I used to love the
smell of the hot spicy carnitas
simmering in salsa over the
wood coals in the back of Elena
Consuela Alanso’s neon blue
and orange crumbling-plaster

Cumin and green pepper aroma
thick like a steam bath in the
“Oahu Gentleman's Club,” that
invariably wafted through the
room where we rehearsed
Hawaiian party music in an
actual “working band” called
“The Udda Brown Boys.”

I was the only “haole” playing
slack-key steel guitar island tunes
in a Mexican cover band, with two
Mexicans, two Spaniards and a
Brazilian, on that side of the
San Diego County Line, and me?
I lived day by day to get me a
lung-full of air free from tyranny
and the mass conspiracy that kept
me sleepless, and hunting sanity
in the poetry of the great masters.

One day, after a particularly hot
set, we sounded so much like the
famed “Gabby Pahinui Band,” the
year they won the Moloka’i Folk
Music Festival, that we all thought
we “had what it takes.”

We’d make the top ten Hawaiian
pops, and turn the Polynesian
music charts inside out without
leaving the mild early-May weather
in La Mesa, California.
Turns out, five Latinos, and a white

guy, can’t get many gigs playing
Hawaiian folk music in East LA
gang banger beer bars, and birthday
parties for the rich Westwood
business suits.

Just a thin self-medicated line
separated me and the entire
world that was out to “get me,”
in those days, you know?

What we did have, sadly, was an
ounce of good “Mexican Mayhem,”
in a bag, bought for less than street.
The bag? That bag had a damned
hole in it.

We left, less than high in a rusty
back-firing stolen 1970 sun`dried
blue grand marquis, a fine and
noble automobile, with a trunk full
of nothing but dreams and almost
enough desire to get anywhere
but where we were that day.

I pray to my darling Lithium,
dear and sweet keeper of the
expansive plans to rule the world.
Accept, then, my offering; the
keep of my realities; my tithe and
adoration, as I laud yet another
random god while chasing
a better wounded healer.

Why did my doctor, a tall lanky
cotton swab of a man, say
“we don’t know much about
this thing we call a brain?”

He was the expert and yet as,
confidently as a close-to-retired
whore in the back pew of a Full
Gospel Holiness Church, he says
“take these pills three times a day.”
Pills that we “don’t know how
or why they work but they do,”
and then “call me asap, if you
pass out, seize or go toxic.”

All in everything considered,
that leaves me sitting here
thirty years later, in blessed
remission, deep in the forest
of the Upstate, between two
fall creeks, and lazy kinder
gentler rebellion.

I am off medication legitimately,
eating carnitas and mango salsa,
with baked pita bread chips, a
bit melancholic, thinking back
on that wonderful funky place
in the heart of Los Angeles,
“Ticos Fine Mexican Food,”
with a nice tableside-made
fresh guacamole.

An old friend of mine named
Jose, high on Negra Modelo ,
sits down in my memory to
play some nice Brazilian love
songs on his hand made classical
Spanish guitar personally signed
by the great Jose Miguel Moreno.

It Is Not All Good

Sometimes Its Not All Good.

© 2005 Rob Krabbe

My cup is to ponder warring blackness
that creamed with velvet smoothness,
wet flesh engaging. Yes! Wants my body,
naked, and slogging from the days death
and as I gather my frailties about me like
a huge beer buckle, thumbs hooked, and
betraying a hint of unsteadiness.

“Crying boy? I’ll spank you till you stop!”
I chuckle now, It’s what I have, and after
all, we parents meant well. How many
promises to not pass on some epitaph?
Cold and calculating, hell knocks, but
fuck off, i say, learning as I sip the cup
and start my own personal day with the
Redeemer off in the distance, I had sure
wandered away, prodigal energy untill
after the mirage clears, now slow start
like a 1978 304 racing block that hates
a cold morning.

I see Jesus in the garden, on his knees
and I wonder, how is it that he has such
a wonderful sense of self, and yet even
as God, prays to the Father. Shattered,
me, from the nightmarish prophecy of a
Memphis derelict, this wonderful hot and
fresh Indonesian coffee pulses through a
crack in my infection, and tries hard to
force me to remember, that I am human.
Puts the pieces of my “self” in order, at
least a little more alive, ready for the fight.

Like old country music at night, my soul
can’t help but tap its foot, curious and yet
I down another gulp of the salted brew, an
invading resurrection. The insurrection, a
happy old habit from Grandpa Joe Collins
“Ah,” I make obligatory gasps of muddied
appreciation, and look to news in the “hood,”
where some teen aged cartoon character
planned to columbine. He was shot, made
permanently senseless before he could rain
down hell fire. Down indeed, the next slug,
heaven on earth, after all, “it’s all good.”

I’m sorry for this, but with the love of God
in my heart, still sometimes it’s not all good.

The Depth of a Sorrowful Joy

The Depth of a Sorrowful Joy

© 2010 Rob Krabbe

Branches hang dripping low
on a mist covered pathway,
a walk I have put off, till the
calendars fell from the
rotting shelf.

Deep in the fall forest,
cool morning air, shackles
clank to the ground.

My melancholy and I
are life long friends,
whispering, giddy like lovers.

Trying to remember how
many I have murdered in my sleep.

“You say, killing myself could repair
the damages?” The irony sitting
on my shoulder, likes to hear his
own rusty voice.

Well I would have jumped
long time ago, into the abyss.
Years of the couch, lithium blood
canals, till I found only apathy,
and Frankenstein shoes.

Thankfully, a peaceful wilderness,
and nature protects me now,
and gives me the margin I
need to soak up grace, and forgive.

Forgive myself? maybe,
I don’t deserve it, yet that’s

how grace works.

It’s a two way blazing heat day,
clogged blast furnace, and crunchy
dry grass. Bake till dead, scraped
up ashes fill the brass urn to overflowing.

My neck, today, offered
to the King, how much
easier would that be?

But to face the old man,
sing the young boy, and put

in the work. Damn it,
I wish I could remember,
where all the burned bridges lay.

I pick up the steel, glimmering,
wonderful flashing blade.
Razor sharp, faithfully mirrors my soul,
my face, my eyes.

Romancing the sexy lover, she
offers pleasure for pain. Boy yes,
I like how I look in the reflection
of a big beautiful knife.

I want to make love to it,
slide it deep into my heart,
I could cut gills and swim
away into the dark cold sea; free.

My faithful, faithful friend,
always there for me, waiting.
Across clear creek water,
shocked back by the sound
of flowing life. The smell
of the organic process,
and the non stop healing.

A purpose for everything
under heaven? Sometimes
I sing that line. But true,
all members of the body,
every part, every task,
unflinching, and no judgment
or personal agenda; an offering
of a deeper joy.

I stand back and look at my day,
a masterpiece canvass, shades of darkness,
glorious textured globs of melting paint,
fall from my wounds and create a new,

and special way to look up and wonder.

There is no going back,
picking up all the trash,
but one can try.

Repair all the bridges,
heal all the damage, admitting
all the lies. Some of the corpses,
have long rotted into the soil
continuing the cycle.

Nurturing new life, the process,
without my “damned” help.
No going home again?

Wisdom, or frustration of the
court jester? The infection will
only fester, but suddenly I realised,
my eyes open wide.

Time is my true lover.
I sit and “friend” old enemies,
we all chuckle at youth and foolishness.
The flavor of the month, “we was
just stupid kids back then,” grains
of sand. “Don’t give it a thought.
You ain’t been thinking of that
all these years have you?”

The grace of a forgetful mind
is not as satisfying, but works
wonders in the soul.

I was a real jerk, but now
I’m just one you “ain’t heard
from in thirty years.”

Well I fought back the tears,
and my blackened heart found
an odd acceptance, rubbing the
tarnish into a wisdom, comfortable
shoes, and a gentle old but joy filled fool.

X Minus Y to the 10th

X Minus Y to the 10th

© 1976 by Rob Krabbe (I was 15 years old, writing pretty dark poetry).

Where is X?
In the course of my
quest for X, I never
thought it intentionally sleek,
but eluded and hid
from my queries,
with guile most
demonic and bare.

For X is life to me,
breath to me, sight to me,
camped at the foot
of my sanity's fall
and my heart is beating
a rhythm pleading,
that most never see,
never sense; and don’t care.

Then X flashed,
dimly seen,
glimpsing its beauty,
its countenance rare.

X equaled all of my
hopes and my dreams,
Just from the hint of all I had seen.
I followed for years,
to the ends; all my breath,
to the place where no other
Even would dare.

More than part,
my whole healthy heart,
but Y in the tenth place,
was X just not there?
Then all my courage,
I gathered around,
And went to the place,
where Satan found rest.
Pretentious, portentous,
haughty, and rude,
though there were no more
answers than old rotten food.

So, Y was my soul,
in 1 empty old jar;
the force of the universe slamming about?
When the gravity struck me like
nothing I’d found,
like black and white,
though much more than clout.

And when I had given up all but my life,
I turned to my wrists, with my sad, old best knife,
am I crazy? ... the question popped into my mind,
Or is X the component I never will find.

I tore apart the skin yet
my knife was quite dull,
yet deep enough surely
and life poured out.
marveled in trails
pools and lights,
As the ER team
pulled at my life
late at night.

So they fought very hard,
I should give them their due,
though it wasn't my plan,
It was something to do.
See, Its not like I cared
for my death or for life,
I just needed to feel X to
continue the fight.

So knights in white satin,
princess and queens;
they all attend to me,
pumping my heart.
They fuss and they moan,
I shake and I dream,
And I try not to fight them,
their motive in part.

Then lightning it came,
and X = hope,
and Y was the sacrifice,
raised in my heart?
Then my mind calmed to Chaos,
and governed by prayer,
to a god that I now knew
had always been there.

Slowly my brain cleared
it's current season,
washed out, and turned on,
opened it's eyes.

No one was following,
bent on destruction,
just love there, with tears in her eyes.
So another week passes, 
seems funny but not,
That my entire life flows
in seasons of X.

Today I Would Have Died

Today I Would Have Died

© 1999 Rob Krabbe

sitting in the glow
this window,
the portal
this world,
gives not a single care
my difficulties the smallest subtleties,
input this fast failing mind.
that lay in crumbs
on the pathway
i leave behind.

cries out within me
can't be reached,
destiny further still away,
arms outstretched
painful desire to be touched
my cry into the blackness\
none will hear it,
reside in death,
pain lay down,
find the eternal crown.

reverse the steps
back here someday
fill in the pieces,
this sad puzzle assembled
the soft light where hours meet
languishing heart and soul,
neither thought them
made whole this

offered me
without a price
free like confessing
my companionship want
withdrawn from this,
I stand in awe,
even one could profess
such love for me,
I could not repay
in all eternity this

bless me
I who deserve not
his soothing hand,
his mercy given
my sinful heart strays
home though I stray
but seek my selfish wants
who waits and hopes
for me to return.
who takes me
who comforts me
I can't feel who holds me
when I'm alone in the universe
who eases the gun
from my trembling hand
who straightens the steering wheel
within my grasp
who cries the tears
that fall from my face
who, deep in pain,
utters the sound
my soul has cried,
who says no, flatly
when I want to take
the end in my hand
and I cry again
for I know that
I would have died.


Sin and the Heart

Sin and the heart

© 1997 Rob Krabbe

I lay the glass down,
shallow breathing,
The final drops,
beautifully collecting,
in the bottom corner, fallow, conceding.
For, no strength at a time such as this,
to press it to my lips, and kiss.

I feel, swimming in my blood,
senses to the corner to sit.
I would stand and exit if I could.
The walls and fences,
my numbed defenses,
like a heavy woolen blanket pulled low
over my reason. and the season,
is humbly at it’s best.

Grapes eaten on the vine,
and I’ve known it from the start,
that the glass is pure and the drink divine,
lo, the sin lay in my heart.

I lay the smoky paper down.
Shallow breathing,
the final moment,
beautifully trailing.

Deeply in me, fallow, conceding.
The numbness, oneness, mind and matter,
to try to catch the thoughts that scatter.

The workish work, until today,
step by stepping,
daily plodding,
secure, but not feeling.

I lay down, in my own path.
Numbness, body, mind and spirit.

Wisdom screams, but none can hear it.

Grapes eaten on the vine,
and I’ve known it from the start,
that the plants are pure and the smoke divine,
The sin lay in my heart.

I thrust my body, heavy, down,
shallow breathing,
the final curtain,
beautifully erotic,
in the climax, fallow, conceding.

For, no strength at a time such as this,
press meaning to my lips, and kiss.

I feel, electric in my skin, alive,
on this alone I live, and thrive.
Living in a web with flies,
waiting for the apt invention,
God’s silence to my bold contention,
that somehow, I could polish up my act.

Jump the hurdle, blood curdle, and more
when I knew who it was knocking at my door.

Grapes eaten on the vine,
and I’ve known it from the start,
that the promises were pure and the grace divine,
and the sin lay in my heart.

I lay the gun, heavy down,
shallow breathing,

The final drops,
beautifully collecting,
in the bottom corner, fallow, conceding.

No strength at a time such as this,
to press death to my lips, and kiss.

Grapes eaten on the vine,
and I’ve known it from the start,
that love was pure but my coffin pine,
and the sin lay in my heart.

The Second Opinion

The Second Opinion

© 2005 Rob Krabbe


If not now, then when?
I pour a magnificent cup,
the gallant brew measures up
I perch me down upon a
comfortable couch and settle in.

Does the shepherd truly
contend that mere understanding
is my heart? As if the dying
young woman on my favorite soap,
well . . . that there would not be
some want, deep enough, some need,
that boldly led to sin? 

Or simply a cause found
And a course taken, and
sleep at the end of the rope?

Well I sit and I sit, and
what’s, it, then? What indeed has
been accomplished, all the more
than the sitting, and reading of
old magazines and tattered tomes?

The diagnosis, the same,
and the drain, and the cost,
and the pain, and the little
lost, sheep although only one,
seems like the only one to me.

Yet the shepherd has smiled
in youthful wisdom and said,
go home. Your concerns have
been noted and, we have all voted,

The opinion is written,
nothing here exists, and
he danced a delightful step,
and played a delightful tune,
on a Kleenex, wrapped around
his pocket comb.

So I twisted his arm and
rattled, his cage and pointed out
our need, a new paradigm,
while I was at it, pointed out his age.

Pointed out that I weigh, a hundred
pounds more than he, and passion
would make up for his youthful speed,
and that although patient number 764,
to he, she is much more to me.

Needles and serum, and lay
back if you’re feeling ill,
Films and more films and
more lights on the walls
and more scratching of heads
till the spinal fluid calls.

Oh, but labs are fallible,
and this one run by a French man,
though valible, the films could be
read by cheetahs, and who’d know?

So the value, being the highest,
my heart’s cost great, not my mother,
my father, my sister, my brother,
The priority extreme, and
the tolerance zero, for the woman
of my life, my wife, and me, some hero?

For the only good opinion was
the need for another
and of course, off we go.

Because, all I ever wanted,
was consensus, to find the
weak spots in the fences.
The best of the best, would
sit in grey beard and long coat.
And without a doubt, from
his spinning stool, to say now
we know for certainly sure,
and clearly undeniably
that she will out live me,
and healthy like a mule.

And truly, for me,
I was very glad
to be labeled the fool.


The Jesus Moon

The Jesus Moon

© 2011 Rob Krabbe, NoonAtNight Publishing

I see you, you know.
You’re not so very
smart in your bright
cotton suit and your
white canvass shoes
with the coffee stains.

Don’t even try your
illusive, lost in the
fog-draped night tricks.

You hide behind this cloud
and that, that shroud, and
then, I see you watch me
from your scavenger’s
nest. Oh . . . hungry? . . .yes,
the meat but no stomach
for the death I see.

My mind, is a place
for fools, yes, but you?
You really don’t know,
do you? Well, sometimes I die
for you, Sometimes . . .
I lied for you.

This Jesus moon.
Reflecting someone else’s
glory from the bema seat,
reach the verdict well.
Remember, “justice first.”

Don’t miss the worship
of the faithful, as the clouds
make love to me. Fingers
lightly drawn across me,
touching me,
taunting me,
romancing me,
but . . . sadly, they relent.
So I go ahead,
and I set my clock, anyway.

High above, they swirl
around your body, and
I see. as if you would dance the
skies, revealing your truths
and lightly draping your lies,
over the soul.

Little white lies that cover
and uncover you, you sausage
and beer flasher, in the park.
Some cosmic tease, you.
Just a haunting memory,
and all the while, you moan,
and you sigh
though alone.

Watch me:
my body trembles
Muscles seize
Arch, tense up,
and scream,
then spent,
lays back, into
the cold forever sky.

Now in the silent,
wispy lie,
floating, lazy,
and fade into
the ghost of
my longest

The Day My 14 Year Old Boy Made An Announcement That Changed Our Lives

The Day My 14 Year Old
Boy Made An Announcement
That Changed Our Lives.

© 2010 Rob Krabbe

Dark days even so, this day I have such joy
within my breast. Swelling as if . . .

My heart: massive doses of
steroids, anti-rejection drugs, fifty
years of smoking, during a kidney
transplant, inflame it to the point
of bursting.

My belly: it were a half hour past
Sunday family dinner, having
forgotten to wear the stretchy
paints; holding my painful swollen
gullet just when Big Momma says,
“there’s more five flavor sour
cream cake, with butter frosting.”

My nightmares: a humongous and
blackened swollen seal carcass
on the beach, North of Zuma, right
across from the Trancass Market,
was laying on its side in the bright sun
for four days before that poor young
stoned surfer made the unfortunate
choice of poking it with a stick causing
a huge and foul shower of maggots
and rotting fishy-flesh pudding when it
exploded onto an unsuspecting crowd.

Ah, my sweet lean and bony boy, the kinder
and gentler tweener, rebel without a clue,
in body, spirit, and soul, yet surprisingly
good in temperament, replete with old
soul and soft heart.

Even from the reeking pungent cloud of
smelly feet, waves of visible cartoon-like
fumes rising off of his seven day underwear
like heat waves off of the hood of Great
Grandma’s black 1957 Chevy, the hottest
summer day of 1969, in Chicago, Illinois.

Not one usually given to superlatives, I feel
like a life-long avowed atheist, moved
suddenly and without warning to praise
some Random God on High and join the
appropriate Kingdom Choir as the heavens
open up and the angels blow trumpets in
a hymn of bold antecedence to a complete
lack of religious ambiguity!

My boy: came up to us and announced,
without being told, as if it were the most
normal thing in the world . . .
“I’m going to get a shower, I stink.”

A virgin hallelujah is all I have.

Fall's Ashes

Fall’s Ashes

© 2010 Rob Krabbe

When I sit on my porch, in my fall
rocking chair and look to the bright
heavens. Pages of summer poems
flitting down from the sky.

Flames of orange and red, consumed
by the season, dancing beautifully on
the wind. They float to the earth that
welcomes them to herself much as a
mother opens her arms for her children.

I watch this parade, until the last
parchment slowly lays down upon
the ground. Life’s own poems, telling
the story of a spring heart filled to the
brim and a huge summer feast.

When the dance is done, I see the
framework of life, crisp and cold,
picked clean like a well eaten bone.
I lay back and think of going home.

Ashes to the earth, where spring’s
phoenix will rise, and make new,
this parade of spring rains, and
fresh warm ponds filling, unfolding
life, like a born babies new cry.

I hope the parade is long, for you, for
me, but when it’s time, I wish to float
down to lay upon the earth, under the
nearest tree.


Connect With Us

Rob Krabbe

Rev. Melissa Krabbe

Keep in contact with Rob and Melissa Krabbe. Both post regularly to FaceBook, and twitter.

Rob Krabbe short bio

Rob Krabbe is an author and composer living on Galveston Island, Texas, with his mostly grown children and his wife of thirty years. He has spent a great deal of his life as a musician and song writer, and has recently focused more of his time on his story writing. He now spends most of his days in his office, and has several novels and projects in process. He has written and published several short stories and poems, and has previously published two books including a collection of his short stories, Chaos to Order and Back Again, and a daily poetry journal, Forty Days in the Dessert - forty days of prayer and fasting. The Jake Collins Band - The Fading Silence is the first of a three-part trilogy of adventure novels.

Rob is incredibly creative and a little quirky. His love of a good cup of coffee is legendary, and anyone who stops by can count on being offered a fresh cup.