Bob Foster
      Bob Foster is a Bostonian. He attended outreach programs at Harvard and Boston University before deciding to become an actor and studying at the Bishop Lee Theatre Institute in Boston. He toured with Katherine Hepburn in As You Like It for two years before turning to writing and directing plays for the stage and creating a long series of documentary films for the US Information Agency, films shown worldwide on television. Then he turned to poetry. Suzanne Lummis, Sarah Maclay and Cecilia Woloch have been important mentors to him, and for the past nine years he’s been leading the terrific Saturday poetry workshop at Beyond Baroque. His book will come out in February of next year.
    Bob’s rich background in theater and film has served him well in poetry:  theatrical and cinematic touches abound, whether he’s writing about a dysfunctional family’s drama, or a day of fishing off Fire Island, or a cartoon hunter and leopardess, or an older gentleman’s nostalgic walk through an automotive museum. Because of Bob’s background in show business, he is always conscious of the audience; he’s always engaged with the audience, whether on the page or on stage. He has a passion for poetry that is infectious, and he’s said that he finds poetry-writing more interesting and satisfying than any other career he’s had. And every Saturday at Beyond Baroque, at half-past one, you can find him leading his terrific writing workshop, where his close reading of poems and his insights are deeply appreciated. Bob believes in free verse and immediacy and humor. He’s a master at cutting out unnecessary words. He is generous and kind in his support for and enthusiasm about others. I can’t wait for his book to come out.

1920: At the Bottom of the Silent Screen*

Softly, the dark flutes of Autumn
Sound in the reeds.

The Columbine rises, takes off her clothes,
Looks at her body in the pond.

Two white roses strike the water.
She runs to the harboring trees.

Dark hair streaming, a man; his face
casts two shadows; his voice one thought.

 “You are perfumes in the silent night.
           Rise up and live with me
           an inch above that star.”

“My dancing  heart confuses which star.
  But I see in your eyes, an intention.
 “I will learn to live in you,
         and where you are empty,
    I will build  a roadway of lightning.”

“So many words to believe, that come
   only from the round of your lips.”

      “Where light invades the night
        of the heart, we will consumate
     love, then sleep like wine in goblets.”
  But I have lived in exile of those carnal
               “You must of course,
    lie on your back and let yourself drift.
                I will be your guide.”

   The Columbine sighs, sighs, smiles,
           and dreams on.
A cento poem

A Dictionary Alice*

               Bird. A phosphamidon bird, circles,
               stops midflight and dances a rustiform flurry.
                         Dives like a truckling arrow, at mistletoe
       eyes in a Kisumu desert.
                         Its calefactorious claws hook into the flesh
                         of a screeching, wriggling
       caught on its dangling fosdick.

       Six quick pecks and the mess is fallacious
       all lictorial fibers,
       finger food
       for the leucotome ants.

       Nothing frontinus about it
       this is a world of Talleyrand wings, 
       hairy harmattans and end-of-the-species
       millesimals, that leave no bones to dig up.
                         I’ll record them all  
       on quadri-syllabic multi-canopic videotape.
       Distribute them free
                         to pseudo-phrenologists, middlesex-ologists,
                         bandana banana parapsychologists.

       Plus a deluxe copy
                         to my undecillion, Alice.

all dictionary words

Shadow in Boston

Late, lying awake. A mist of booze
as my father staggers into our four room flat.

Bedsprings, the padding of feet, as Ma rises
and with razor-edge whispers, hustles him
into his separate bedroom, closes the door.
Tiptoes the hall to my room to confirm her
look-alike, favorite son has not been disturbed.

Dressed for Boston High, I walk to the morning
kitchen where she sits drinking tea, looking
sleepless. She rises with open arms. We hug,
too long. We kiss too long, before she backs
away, dabs at her eyes, stares out the window.
Glances back at me only once.

 At sixteen, I stand rooted; my mind revolving,
 my body sparked.

2012 Bob Foster
Bob Foster was a Featured Poet who read his poetry at the April 2012 Second Sunday Poetry Series