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Robert L. Penick


The poetry and prose of Robert L. Penick have appeared in over 100 different literary journals, including The Hudson Review, Soundings East, and North American Review.  His latest book is Exit, Stage Left, from Slipstream Press, and more of his work can be found at


You Already Know

Pour one out for Sisyphus,
that eternally suffering dope.
He’s still pushing his stone,
you know, up that cruel hill and
blaming it on some blonde handful
of desire and indiscretion.
It never ends, you know,
eternity spools out so far
you never get a glimpse
of the end, or near the end
or even the Goddamned middle.
And it is his stone, you know,
bought and financed on behalf of
his misunderstood concepts of
power and consequence.
He’s paying for it right now
bolting on body panels
at the Ford plant, or
punching out license plates
in some penitentiary.
Desk or farm or shop floor,
if you cut him loose, he would
only ensnare himself again.
Dogs on leashes have better
judgment and self-preservation.
This son of a bitch
will never learn.


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