Robert the Robot Tells the Mechanical Pepsi Cola Bear of his Intended Pilgrimage to the Shinto Shrine at Ise*
(“I am Robert Robot, mechanical man.
Drive me and steer me where ever you can." (1954))
How sixty years passed on this attic kamidana**
will prepare me, I do not know, but today I leave
you knowing I seek sacred reflection for us. Soon I will
cross between the hallowed Geographics and
the board games anointed with dust, for I’m blessed of
autumn years, and the encrypted time has come. The
mountain of mildewed lawn chairs won’t deter me. I
alone have the kami nature to reach the stairway.
It is built into my Duracell heart, a chemical flame that
was given me at the factory, and no matter how
hard the journey, a rooster crows in my circuits
for me to carry this broken tin soldier, a token from
us that war will end, and humans live in harmony.
Even when tempted by Boardwalk hotels and houses,
when Hula Hoops broke, and Slinkies rusted,
we shared your hallowed libations, Bear, and as they
went to your lips, they also touched my heart:
Together, from the dark, we take our Sun-blessed love.
*the first words of this poem combine to form a poem by Princess Oku (661-701), vestal priestess at the Ise Sun Goddesss Shrine in Japan.
**kamidana means god shelf and refers to the family shrine
Sandra Lindow has published seven books of poetry: Rooted in the Earth, Heroic Housewife Papers, A Celebration of Bones, Revision Quest, Walking the Labyrinth, Touched by the Gods, and The Hedge Witch’s Upgrade. Since 1987, she has served as West Central Vice President of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. In 2015, she was elected Vice President of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. For twenty-five years she worked as a Reading Specialist at the Eau Claire Academy, a treatment center for emotionally disturbed children and adolescents. Throughout her career, she has taught reading, writing and study skills to students from preschool through college graduate. Since June of 2006 she has been semi-retired, teaching part-time at the University of Wisconsin–Stout as well as doing some free-lance writing and editing. Presently she lives on a hilltop in Menomonie, Wisconsin. Her husband is Michael Levy.