Category Archives: poems

Salmon (Poem)

by Rob Roper 1st draft 7/26/16

Salmon swim upstream
just to lay their eggs
giving birth to a new generation
then die
their job done.

Like the salmon
the poet and the songwriter
swim upstream
against the current
dodging obstacles
and predators.

Like the salmon
some don’t make it.

But the rest of us
because we know
it is our duty
our historic obligation
for the survival of the species.

Carkeek Park (New Poem)

I’ve been out of practice with lyric writing for a long time. For 9 months I was taking music classes, and the amount of homework and practice was such that I had no time for songwriting. So I’m “out of shape.” One of the exercises I give myself to get back into shape is to write poems. Now, I’m a songwriter, not a poet. So this is not good poetry; it’s crap. But writing crap poetry gets me working with words in a rhythmic way, and an economical way, which is essential to writing good song lyrics.

So here’s a couple more that I wrote in the last week. See the two previous posts also.

Carkeek Park, Seattle
by Rob Roper 1st draft 7/26/16

I’m in the woods
ivy-covered trees
crows yakking
picking wild blackberries
walking across a wooden bridge
over a salmon stream

The trees open to reveal
a grassy park
and a view of the bay
Railroad tracks
run across a rocky beach
a man fishes in hip-deep water

15 minutes ago
I was in the city
cars and trucks
streets and red lights
oil change and transmission shops
houses with TVs
refrigerators and computers.

I prefer the woods.

What You Taught Me (New Poem)

What You Taught Me
by Rob Roper
1st Draft July 12, 2016

This is what you taught me
in the fall of 1968
at Redbird Park
in Dallas, Texas
when you hit me in the back
after the play was over.

You, the biggest boy on the team
137 pounds
and me, the smallest
at 95 pounds
right in front of the head coach
with your dad– his best friend–
squatting next to him
and grinning proudly
at his son’s achievement

and the other players
either laughing
or saying nothing
to defend me
as I Iay face down
on the prairie weeds
of the practice field.

You taught me that the weak
have no chance against the strong
that it’s who you know that counts
that those with connections
can break the rules
and get away with it
that might makes right
and that there is no such thing
as justice.

And those of who laughed
or turned away in silence
you taught me, too.
You taught me
that the masses will not rise in revolt
against the oppressor.
No, I am all alone
against the attacks of the powerful.

Yes, you taught me well
You taught me
to shut up
and give up
because, no matter how hard I try
the game is rigged
and I will never succeed
at anything I do.

I Didn’t Believe (new song)

by Rob Roper  2nd Draft  July 31, 2014

It was a beautiful day
not a cloud in sight
when a guy with a cellphone
ran a redlight

Everything went black
and then it went white
I saw the gates of heaven
coming into sight

The angels came to get me
and led me through the gate
I was scared to death
of what would be my fate

I walked the streets of gold
up in the cloud
and there He stood
tall and proud


As soon as I saw Him
I fell down on my knees
I said, “Lord, have mercy
I didn’t believe.”

He said, “Don’t worry, son
It’s the believers who are screwed
they way they behave
I’d be an atheist, too.”

“Killing in my name
waging bloody wars
and all their church services
are such a bloody bore”

“You’ll see your fellow atheists
up here as well
while all the true believers
are burning down in hell.”


I asked, “What about your son
that you sent down to earth?
The one called Jesus
he of virgin birth?”

He said, “that’s the worst thing about
the Christians’ game
They ignore his teachings
but worship his name.”

“They think that they’re saved
just ’cause they believe
and that gives them the right to do
anything they please”

“But all their worship
that’s just kissing ass
It ain’t what you say
It’s how you act.”


He said, “I’ll see you later
here comes another crew
I’ve got to damn ten Christians
Three Muslims and a Jew.”

“So grab a harp
and have a glass of wine
you can jam with the angels
until the end of time.”

I stood there in wonder
at this glorious scene
and thanked the good Lord
I didn’t believe