by Robert Peake
It is hard to know how I got here,
now that we cut the sled dogs loose,
and went our separate ways for help,
hard as pack ice in the footsteps
I crunch into, wondering whose they are,
following a herd of anxious commuters
doubtless on their way to warmth,
raising what look like pitch forks
against the white buildings ahead,
their black tongues crying, “Murder”
as I laugh into the snow-licked wind,
glad not to be the foreman on that rig,
glad to see the thousand-pair kind eyes
blinking out in front of me, soft-nosed
welcome party, parting ways as I approach
the city centre, flushed and sweating,
under this maniacal sun, I skip forward,
breathing heavily, pulling off my clothes.
Notes from Robert
I found a film of reindeer in the archive.org 35mm Stock Footage collection and, after watching it several times, I began to develop a narrative about a man lost in the Arctic Circle. The poem came from there, followed by the video and effects editing and finally the music and sound effects.
Robert is an American-born poet living near London. He created the Transatlantic Poetry series, bringing poets together for live online readings and conversations. His film-poems have been widely screened in the US and Europe. His collection, The Knowledge, is available from Nine Arches Press.
His previous short collections include The Silence Teacher (Poetry Salzburg, 2013) and Human Shade (Lost Horse Press, 2011). His poems have appeared in a wide range of journals and anthologies including North American Review, Poetry International, Iota, and Magma Poetry and have received commendations in the Rattle Poetry Prize, the Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Contest, the 2007 James Hearst Poetry Prize, the 2009 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, the 2013 Troubadour International Poetry Prize, and three Pushcart Prize nominations.
Robert grew up on the U.S.-Mexico border, in the small desert farming town of El Centro, California. He studied poetry at the University of California, Berkeley, where he first met Seamus Heaney, and in the Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program at Pacific University, Oregon.
He is a tutor for UK Poetry Society Poetry Surgeries in the Hertfordshire area and writes reviews for Huffington Post. A computer programmer by training and trade, his current pet project is Poet Tips–a crowd-sourced poetry recommendations website designed to help you find your next favourite poet.