The Private Life of Robert Peters

March 6th, 2013

The Private Life of Robert Peters

He vaguely reads the news.
He knows Barrack is President,
otherwise the day is filled
with his quirky cheeriness.
His thin hairless legs elevate
in his cherished
dirty leather recliner.
He opens his wallet,
riffles his dollars,
doses, hands fold,
then gazes
at his bandaged baby toe.
What’s wrong with it?
Sweetie, it’s a “booboo pad”.
The private life without impiety
is now a bit public.

New CD/Mp3 Release

October 27th, 2009
low_res_cover_cd_robert_petersGoing Down The River In A Hayloft Coffin: the evocative years of Robert Peters (CD/MP3) is a music poetry album featuring the illustrious poet Robert Peters and music composer Harlan Steinberger. The record includes forty nine poems that are strung with a twinge of Gothic & glaciated enchantments sequentially evoking how a poet thaws and carves out his destiny distancing himself from his primordial Wisconsin roots. The poems start off with winning tales of model Ts, berry picking, sexuality among North wood folks and other vivid backwood encounters. There are variances of deer hunting and fishing expeditions fleshed out. The sequence forges to the present covering eulogies to his beloveds and poignant elegies to the folks who were such integral part of the poet’s life. In the midst of these violent, visceral, celebratory, and elegant tales there’s a silver cord that keeps these images astonishingly alive with high voltage and renderable music and lyrics.
Press Reviews
Mp3 Song Samples from the CD:
images-2.jpg Cousin Albert
images-2.jpg Father, Son, Cousin Country Western Band
images-2.jpg Son
images-2.jpg Howard Warner (Huntington Beach artist)
images-2.jpg I’m Now Eight Four
Purchase the CD/Mp3: CD Baby CD Baby badgeitunes61x15dark.gif


September 8th, 2014



I’m not a cave dweller
reading hieroglyphs deciphering
how to stuff woes back into
Pandora’s Box but I do share
a galvanizing vision so insanely
“armed to the teeth” to here I speak.

I cannot shake this Mormon fiber of
my being of gathering fellow travelers,
arrogantly anointing them to leap away
from the woes that vexes so many of us.
I cauterize this impasse to remind the public
of their free flowing Will packed with wisdom
to separate ‘”Tare from wheat” to their accord.

The “Ring a Ring o’ Roses” in this nano
second space capsule is a possible panacea
to stretch out where all knowing selves
rightly excel in no falling down friendship–
no bosses, no pains, no subjugation–
pervasive tenderness squelches forebodings,
So today will heal past woes and tomorrow’s too.


September 4th, 2014

looking glass

The Looking Glass


This is it, I flipped out


into wonderland, regaining


my thick tousled hair, not


a care of Putin, Ferguson City,


Mogadishu or Syria & Iraq.


Ordinary, I was attempting


to take Frost’s untrodden way


allowing me that afflatus-Leap


but fell into the mirror like Alice,


I shrank with a fervent prayer


into a peculiar realm-smoking


in the fume from the hookah


inhaled by Big Tomato worm.


The Clockwork Rabbit whisked


me to the tea table with amenities.


No one can call me to bring me back.


The Mercury Tea so sweet like Nectar,


having no clue madness so beguiling.



August 24th, 2014

Bring in the Clowns


One the most famous arias ever is Vesti La Giubba (Put on the Costume)

English translation is befitting of Robin Williams soul.   We have still have

a long winding road to get to a profound  understanding of Bipolarism and what to

do about it.


“Go on stage, while I’m nearly delirious?

I dont know what Im saying or what I’m doing!

And yet, chin up! Ill try harder. Bah, you think youre a man?

You are just a clown! on with the show, man,

And put on your white-face.

The people pay you and you must make them laugh.

And if harlequin should steal your columbine, laugh,

Youre pagliaccio, and the world will clap for you!

Turn into banter all your pain and sorrow,

And with your clowns face hide grief and distress…”


August 1st, 2014




The word is the heart,

the word is the mind,

the word is the gut,

The obstacle course is at play


Zephyr blows coolness in the pores,

taking all the stresses away, mind

is the word leading to the heart

which soothes the guts which

settles in a place of time where

nothing matters but a soft kiss solace.


I’m an easy touch when it comes,

explaining this place and time,

I leave no rivet of uncertainty

A frog hops from pod to pod, then

leaps into soothfast realm of verity.

The proper course is now at play.



August 1st, 2014




I’m tired than an old sheep dog


misguiding, then guiding, then patted


for getting the herd behind the rustic gates.


This bucolic melody drifting like autumnal


sycamore leaves,  but the haggard dog


follows them endlessly not caring where.


My fur gets snarled, encrusted from


the meandering journey nowhere,


perhaps this nowhere is a place to be.


There’s restfulness infused with restlessness.


A breeze finally moisturises my fur so


penetratingly, bringing clarity in all my pores.


So what does clarity bring to a feckless canine?


Well it delivers a benevolent twisted prayer


which spreads laughing daffodils all over the hills.


This critter still believes that a curve ball of fate


will still horrific conflict down to its knees or what


good is it to imagine blimey otherwise? Amen





July 7th, 2014

hiding behind death



I take a peek back onto the global stage;

Syrian still killing their children

Iraq still killing their children.

Afghanistan still killing their children–

internecine, internecine, internecine!

Such bloody theatre makes one to retreat.


I rather hide behind my beloved bard’s

death mask reveling in mournful doldrums

than witness horrifying bloodbaths which

make Shakespearean plays read like

a glimmer-of- hope-fun-of-the-art fairy tales.

My own little corner of prayers is not going

to intercept ceasing the senseless acts.


I snap my finger like a match, hoping

for a second coming to say, “Halt!”

I now open my eyes hearing the Times thump

on my pavement while glancing at my bard’s

empty chair. Will I open the paper, read

that world wars are over forever more?


July 5th, 2014

Tribute to Robert

Last Friday, before heading up here, Linda and I attended a record release party for Michael C. Ford’sLook into each other’s ears. Harlan Steinberger, the producer and impresario behind Hen House Studios in Venice, made use of his new facilities in Venice to host one of the most impressive gatherings of poets on a single evening outside of any formal literary event in recent years. Everyone was delighted to see Michael’s remarkable blend of cultural skepticism and wistful irony still finding wide-spread support.

Perhaps the evening’s most delightful surprise was the presence of Paul Trachtenberg, the surviving spouse of the late Bob Peters. I had exchanged a few notes with Paul since learning of Bob’s death, and while Paul sounded in his messages, both to me and others on Facebook as if a kind of rare solace had taken possession and drenched his inner self with equanimity, I hardly expected him to be at Harlan and Michael’s party. Seeing Paul reminded me of his request that we remember and celebrate Bob’s life not in a public gathering, but in the privacy of our own reading. Get one of his books from your shelf, he urged us, and read a favorite poem.

For the past several days, I have been intermittently dipping into Gauguin’s Chair, a volume of selected poems from his first years as a poet. The title page reads “1967-1974,” but this refers more to the publication dates of the books from which the poems are drawn. (For reasons of sentiment, perhaps, the original sales slip is still in the book: 5-18-80. 4.95 plus 30 cents tax, purchased from A Different Light Bookstore: Gay Literature/Periodicals/Aesthetera. 4014 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Sunset), Hollywood, CA 90029 (213) 668-0629).

In an interview conducted by Billy Collins in April, 1974 (when Collins was a grad student at UC Riverside), Peters talked about how the sound of words is the primal attraction of poetry. “I keep sayingear when I talk about poets. I may perhaps be too attuned to sound. I luxuriate in splendid sounds in poems, my own as well as other people’s.” Peters had the rare ability to intermingle “splendid sounds” with a wide range of subject matter, including historical subjects such as Ann Lee of the Shakers or King Ludwig of Bavaria.

Peters began his creative career at a relatively late point in his life. The sudden death of his son, Richard, on February 10, 1960, at the age of four and a half, left Peters unable to derive sufficient meaning from his life as a professor of literature, and he began writing poems, many of which addressed the cauterizing loss of his child due to a one-day illness. These poems eventually were collected in Songs for a Son. As an example of the pleasure he took in “splendid sounds,” let us savor nine lines from a poem in that first book“Transformation”:

Between death’s

hot coppery sides

the slime of birth

becomes a chalky

track of bone

compressed in time

to slate, or gneiss,

or marble – pressed

lifeless into stone.

The overall pattern of iambic dimeter is remarked upon in a fine instance of metapoetry: “compressed in time” refers not just to the brevity of the son’s journey in life, but to the constricted metamorphosis enacted as “compressed” becomes “pressed” in the stanza’s penultimate line. The layered internal rhyme of gneiss and lifeless provides the solemn intonation that completes the move from slime to stone. Splendid concatenation, indeed!

As the kind of memorial requested by Paul, though, and since I am in mountains now, at 5,000 feet, I have decided to share with you a poem by Bob that is rarely (if ever) reprinted in anthologies. Here is part eight of “Mt. San Gorgonio Ascent”:

At a drop below

hangs a cloud, mercurial.

The mountain it claims

gloats green, lung-red, and blue.

Pines flare. Boulders

glow. Light falls

Total mountain,

total drift of mist,

of flesh. The trance

is my own.

My hand is a peach

attached to a limb

swung over a gorge.

It hangs beyond all reach

gathers ripeness in.

Ichor swells the vein,

proceeds to the nipple end.

A bee strikes, hovers over.

New Horizon

July 4th, 2014




My Robert loved reciting his proud

Eskimo Haiku: “Drip, drip, drip! Spring

has come into my livingroom.”  Now

I have a poem called grip, grip, grip.

I have a grip on grief,  i have a grip

on not telling lies,  I have a grip on moving,

plowing away avalanches of cobwebs

obscuring my thinking clearly, oh indeed.


You see, I am sissified cowboy who has been

on range of broken fences way way too long.

I’ve been lately avenging my cravenness.

This point, I’m going say I love you to everybody,

even ones I’ve felt slighted by, granted they may

have all reasons because of my shortsightedness.

I ponder now Robert Frost’s mended fences,

I have a front hedge that makes me neighborly.


So all and all weary worn but mending I’m proverbially

putting my newly refurbished saddle on my horsey.

Let me spelled out so plainly, I’m truly glad about all

this invigoration pulsating in my sheer existence.

By Cracky!  I’m Gordon MacRrae, “Oh, what a beautiful

morning” as I rise for another cup of Yuban, shutters open.


The New Studio in Venice

June 29th, 2014

Ford & The Doorshen house Studio









(Hen House Studios–June 27, 2014)

A premiere starring Michael C Ford
the seasoned baritonal bard got us all
looking in each other’s ear fait accompli.
His lyrics invoked invisible smoke permeated
the barely built studio’s sound booths
but soon be bards and new sound rockers
will be carrying uniquely this old bard’s cords.

I witnessed the unfolding of the gala

viewing Harlan the maestro of the studio

jam rehearsing on an one and only drum wishing
now I had asked the name of his beat. Ah yes!
I had the honor to assist the maestro’s mistress
unfolding the patio table cloths for the dignified

I had the honor to assist the maestro’s mistress
unfolding the patio table cloths topped with sturdy
candle lights & goblets of munchies for the dignified
motley guests to arrive with valets adorning the alley.


motley guests to arrive with valets adorning the alley.

The Mexican mobile caterer coasted  in feeding us
shrimp tacos all before and during the cast
of sound mixers unfolding their equipment for
infusing sounds of the deceased Ray Manzarek
of The Doors and ones still with us,  plus a choral
annexed musicians all enhancing Ford’s voice for being
the spoken instrument of innovative protest how sweet.

Lil Marlene

June 27th, 2014


Publisher’s Weekly Review

In this touching sequel to Crunching Gravel: A Wisconsin Boyhood, the poet recalls his search for self-knowledge and sexual identity as a young draftee in WWII. A gentle lad who grew up in a sheltered farm environment, he had to learn how to cope with emerging homosexual feelings while dealing with the supermacho culture of the barracks. He was assigned to the European theater of operations as a clerk, and his only combat experience was his own inner wrestling with sexual fantasies involving both genders. Wondering if God were somehow testing him, he refrained from homosexual relations despite the pressure from fellow GIs who flirted with him. On leave in Paris, he shared a female prostitute with a sergeant he secretly desired and later drifted into an awkward affair with a German woman while on occupation duty near Heidelberg. The highlight of his European hitch was his attendance at one of Marlene Dietrich’s more memorable concerts: “I loved this androgyne.” This elegantly written memoir has much to say about the relationship between sex and the military life. Photos. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

With the anniversary of the end of World War II looming large on the cultural calendar, poet and critic Peters has written tenderly of his naïve entry into adulthood courtesy of the U.S. Army. He is neither sentimental nor mawkish in his coming-of-age story, which is made complicated by his ambivalence over his strong homosexual feelings. From his account of his boyhood home in rural, impoverished Wisconsin to basic training in South Carolina and finally to Europe, his lucid prose gives access to both the man and the child. It is a rare adult who can convey the anxieties of youth as vividly as Peters does. Readers encountering this chapter of his life will want to seek out his other memoirs, Crunching Gravel (Univ. of Wisconsin Pr., 1993) and Nell’s Story (Univ. of Wisconsin Pr., 1995) and will eagerly await the next installment. Recommended for public and academic libraries.‘David Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Libs. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.