Robinsonism, poem by Robert Hill Long

      There’s a Robinson in Tulsa
      milking Toggenburg goats. And one
      in Sri Lanka, peeling cinnamon.
      A Filipino Robinson impales tourist

      hostages on stakes sharpened by
      reading Mao’s little red book.
      A coal-black Cote d’Ivoire Robinson
      heads a football composed of

      a thousand Baptist missionary socks
      through scavenged goalposts, once bumpers
      to a Lutheran missionary’s Rambler.
      Ivoirean Robinson dreams of being

      Didier Drogba, World Cup 2010.
      Oklahoma Robinson daydreams backwards: Carl
      Sandburg, goat-breeding poet, 1930-something. Filipino
      Robinson barfs (she hates killing),

      believing Maoist revolution will follow
      her news-bleeding headlines. They all
      are aspects of Robinsonism, that
      widely-known but little-discussed adolescent syndrome.

      Take a boy (a girl),
      stifle his/her creativity in school/home/culture
      but leave her/him daydream-time
      (maybe books), and voila! Robinson.

      Jazz guitar is just one
      of its symptoms: add tree-sitting
      in old-growth forests, teaching night-school
      to interstate-incest-runaways, becoming a Ronaldinho

      in a favela soccer camp, succoring
      AIDS orphans in Angola while
      sharing one’s own AIDS vaccine….
      Look, the problem is international:

      little Robinsons keep sprouting everywhere.
      Best political solution? Delta Forces.
      Seriously, hack UNICEF’s Christmas list
      via black ops, and provide

      each child named there with
      a land-mine plus a manual
      written in Shanghai about how
      to activate it by foot.

      Robinson read this parable once
      in a Pied Piper retelling—
      Walt Kelly’s Pogo’s Stepmother Goose—
      where the rat-charmer was black

      and played clarinet: “The Town
      on the Edge of the
      End,” its title. Its nigger-jazz
      messiah spirited children away from

      a Grimville where adults had
      mistaken kids for the plague.
      Where did he take them?
      To the comics Robinson reads

      religiously. Skip adult headlines, kids,
      daydream among your cartoon-animal cousins.
      We’re endangered species, we Robinsons
      wherever. Decapitate Mom and Dad,

      head their forbidding noggins into
      paradise: make our only world
      safe for talking goats, for
      teaching lovesick orphans the guitar.

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Susan Hawthorne