THE BIOMYTHOGRAPHY OF AN ANTI-HERO
by Robyn Brooks
I cast myself as the hero in this story. My story. I am the hero.
The flawed hero. The fatal hero. The anti-hero. I bear the mark of the
hero. I carved that mark into my own body. I used a Swiss-army knife.
It was an accident. My friend said to me, “What - are you carving
yourself up like a God, now?” It was an accident.
I pondered one day/what it means/to be a god/all
flawless/thunderbolts/moonbeams and/unrequited love/in my reckless
It was an accident.
To be a god means responsibility/and vengeance/a sacrifice/or an
It was an accident.
To twist the knife/and lick the wound/and the gods expose/their
I always secretly believed that I was the anti-hero. I am an orphan
and a bastard. Questionable maternity and paternity. Sent away and
can gods cry?
And, now - the marks. I was born without birthmarks. I belonged to
no one but to everybody. I was claimed and unclaimed.
I feel exposed/in the dark/when your song/comes to me/like a lost dove
I found my Mother on the floor.
and the/ sound of flapping/birds’ wings/in the distance/behind the
She had been gone for hours.
Discord’s clay cannot hold/the mortal gasp/she mourns for
vengeance/and prays for poison/her will/sheer/naked/designs the face
I tried to save her. It was too late.
against/a back lit moon/i silent scream/i love you/save myself/like
I tried my best to save her.
reminding me now/how things can just go/how calculated
melancholy/looks when left unattended/and precise sadness
masquerades/as scattered madness/or bright folded towels all in a row
I am the orphan and the bastard.
caught between/a rock/and a ragged rickshaw
I am the anti-hero. I bear the mark. I have a tragic tale.
a red wagon/half filled with/snow/missing/one wheel
I dress in black. I am mourning. O’ Fortuna. The wheel of Fate has
turned. No longer in my favor.
i cross/myself/and kneel/your altar/holds my/prayers
I am an orphan and a bastard. I belong nowhere.
as smooth as a screw/that has lost its grip/and spins and spins and
Nowhere belongs to me.
i am thick/and stunted/a tree planted/in your neighbor’s yard
It has all come down to this. Everything that I own is in this
suitcase. Everything of value to me is in this suitcase. My mother
and my Godmother are in this suitcase. Not the photos and memories.
Them. Their urns. Their bones and ashes. I take them with me
disembodied angels/daemons dangling/angling for/recognition
Their bones. Their ashes.
phantom/a specter hovering/over my daydreams
still i feel you/here pulling you in/impossible
your absence/a siren
screams/screeches/into the void
sing up the sum/of my birth
sing up the sum/of my birth
I am the anti-hero. An orphan. A bastard. I am a rape baby.
Questionable paternity. Questionable maternity. I bear the marks. I am
the rightful heir. Rape baby. Bastard. Orphan. Anti-hero. Blood
there are some things/done only at night
behind curtains/beneath the eyes/beyond the screeching/and wailing/of
the last train
patriarchs slip in/between incestuous sheets/swimming in twelve-year-
old/scotch and virgin blood
Blood cursed. I come from a long line of blood cursed women. All
beautiful. All blood cursed. Passed down generationally. The beauty
was the curse. The beauty was their burden.
a honey-tongued/femme fatale/with her eye on the clock/and a
stethoscope/in her hand
lost continents/or prom night promises
crashing chariots/or wedding waltzes
deep dark/thick nights/diluted with/stars and foam
broken flowers/plastic wings and/words
the sum/of one fading/photograph
this moment/just like the ones/spun in legends
tucked away/like a talisman
she/languishes/in a/sea of lament/against a tawny shore
in twilight hours/with hints of/lavender and forever
wrapped around/brown backs/and empty spaces
vases half-filled/with rose water/and regrets
rose petal lips/and thorns
a peccadillo/in her garden
a penance/for small sins
had just one thing/been different
cuts closer/to the bone/than marrow
a penance/for her sins
a star fallen/exposed
across the miles/across my dusty breast
one last kiss/before the dying fall
About Robyn Brooks
Robyn Brooks, M.F.A., author of the poetry chapbook, "venus in retrograde" (Finishing Line Press, 2015), is a poet, playwright, and director. Her poetry has been published in several journals including Berkeley Poetry Review and Beltway Poetry Quarterly. An Emily Chamberlain Cook Prize in Poetry recipient, Brooks was a Student-Teacher Poet for June Jordan’s Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley. Brooks participated in a playwriting residency from 2007-2013, for Playground, in residence at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Her plays have been staged at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; Tennessee Women's Theater Project; Theatre of Yugen; Theatre Rhinoceros; and Los Angeles Women's Theater Project. She has directed three of her plays, “I, Hippolyta,” “unscathed,” and “Re-member-ing Sara Baartman.” Brooks is a model in the internationally renowned photo book, Women En Large: Images of Fat Nudes, which is included in the Martin Parr photo book collection, in the permanent collection at Tate Modern, London, UK.