Robert has a soft voice that gets lost somewhere in the air about half the time, trailing off and apologizing and always waiting to curl in on itself, except when he’s reading. He reads from the spine, from his muscles, a full-bodied coil of energy that burns in the air like summer lightning that charges the air the more it cracks down. His voice isn’t an instrument, not a weighty string bass nor a choir of trumpets; his voice is a dagger and a whip of scorpions. Like the Furies he comes for the kinslayers, for those stained with the blood of their own. Each line should draw blood.
Robert wears sweaters and slacks and holds himself gently as an old man, walking softly through the bar. His laughter is his poetry, huge and brave and room-filling, the other side of every jeremiad, not bacchus but some sweeter, wiser god, a beekeeper, a cheesemaker, milk and honey instead of wine and roses.
Robert balloons behind the mike, blows up huge and colorful, a giant checkered curve with a basket hanging underneath, airborne and delicate and graceful, a thin curve of humanity between falling up and falling down.