Robert Martens grew up in the ethnic Mennonite village of Yarrow, where he experienced love and power face-to-face. He moved on to the global awakening which was Simon Fraser University during its years of student revolt. Robert eventually settled in Abbotsford, where he has co-written and co-edited numerous local histories, periodicals, and a literary anthology, Half in the Sun. He writes poetry in a quixotic attempt to re-experience love and power. Robert’s latest book of poems is hush, Ekstasis Press.

the nightmare’s right behind you

the castle and the song

case number one: a landscape
painted by hitler, attached
to an email, and what
do you think of this, my friend?
atrocious art, is it not? well,

no. hitler’s dreamy
castle floating in
bavarian hills is just
bland. hardly
there. as with case number

two: a dance tune
blasting from the neighbours,
and after that a
dance tune
blasting from the neighbours.
unlistenable crap? no, just

bland. hardly there. so

lounge back, my honey-glazed
friends, put up your slippered feet, let
this sea of whipped
cream float us from
cradle to bed. and look,

there,
a dreamy castle drifting by.
the smell of mendacity

his intentions are clear
as a rotting sausage. the
bully at the podium, his
heels digging into your belly,
and a gun
wedged
between his thighs.

their intentions are not.
well-
suited, and a swish
of white wine. good party,
nice to meet you. he

extends a hand. he
smiles. omg,
what’s that
dangling
between his thighs?

tea with stalinhitlermao

the castle is a welcome home
tonight. the three great grandfathers
of crime are sipping black
tea together. the table is
modest: bread and butter, a shaker of
salt. they feel at
peace. their bureaucrats wait
patiently
in the back room.

over the lake
flies an angry raven.
it perches
on the windowsill. it
screeches birdly
babble.

not a ripple on the whipped cream lake.
not a cloud in the peppermint
sky. nothing,
no one, can
break this peace. a
bureaucrat steps in. jellied
raven for dessert.