Punk-Rock Poet Is Japan's Second Least Popular Robot

Science fiction poetry usually leaves me cold, but I would love it if it was more like the scarred, funny poetry of Bucky Sinister. One of his books totally earns its title, Whiskey And Robots.

Sinister takes on Japanese movie monsters and his own past as an alcoholic punk-rock misfit with the same fuck-it attitude. Everything is funny, but everything is also fodder for his observations about what it feels like to lose everything and then look for more things to lose. (When not writing poetry, Sinister is a stand-up comic, and he's also written a punk-rock stop-drinking book, Get Up.)


There are two volumes of Bucky Sinister's poetry, Whiskey And Robots and All Blacked Out & Nowhere To Go. Luckily for you, they're both collected in one cheap and still pocket sized volume.

So why do I say he's a science fictional poet? Let's see. He likes to write about comic-book characters as if they were his friends and exes. One of his poems is about the alternate history version of Bruce Wayne, who's not Batman, but instead is a drunk loser. Another poem is about going on a date with Wonder Woman, who's been on a lot of bad dates, and has pictures of her invisible plane everywhere. (They just look like pictures of empty airfields.) You can hear Sinister read the Wonder Woman poem here.

There's also the fantastic "Drowning On God's Urine," where he talks about being the world's crappiest organic robot:

If you are a bad child in Japan
on Christmas day all you get
is a twenty-four inch replica of me
during an alcoholic blackout.

The toy of me
does not run on batteries or solar power
but on lunar power
at night it turns itself on
and won't stop talking.
It knows a lot
but remembers nothing.

The toy of me is
the second least popular robot toy in Japan.
The least popular robot toy
has a name that translates to
"The Low Self Esteemed Robot Turkey
Who Needs Lots Of Hugs
and Whose Feathers Are Made from
Jagged Metal Bits."


And then there's his fantastic, more recent, poem, "elegy to hunt's," which talks about the donut shop whose sign said it was open 25 hours a day. Most of the poem is about how Sinister's heart got stolen, and he refused to buy it back from the guy selling all his stolen property because he knew for a fact it was broken, so he replaced it with a bearclaw from the donut shop instead. But there's a fantastic part where he explains that if you visit the donut shop on the 25th hour of the day, and you look through a donut hole, you can see backwards in time. You can see the G.I.s returning home in the 1940s and the Low-Riders bumping along in the 1970s. And you can see your past self walking down the street, and try to give yourself warnings — which you'll totally ignore of course.

There are others, too, like the one about dead angels and how to steal their halos. It's mostly not science fictional, but there's enough stuff there that I wish other people were writing poetry about speculative themes the way Sinister does.


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