Distanced: Robyn Bateman & Rob Gray

Editor Sam Preminger, Poetry, April 27th, 2020




“Distanced” is designed to connect artists impacted by COVID-19 with potential patrons.
To support Robyn and Rob, we ask that our readership contribute using the following information:


Venmo: @robyn.bateman


You can also support Robyn and Rob by following their work at Lovely Book Club, by checking out Rob’s artist page, or by following Robyn’s long-running web comic, Failing Haus, right here on NAILED.



The Piano is Tipping the House

The piano is tipping the house;
remarkable weight
shifting floorboards over time.
If I knew another way
would I take it?
The alleyway that connects me
to the neighbors is bearing
apples as we speak.
They are filled with promises
like, tomorrow will come after today,
like, the ocean exists when I cannot see it,
like, my dreams are made by my body.
I take a bite from one
and it tastes better than the last,
but worse than the next.
My home is here, right now,
in this expertly designed breeze
nipping my kneecaps,
and I still remember you in it.
Don’t ask me
if we will touch again.
I slip behind the piano
to grab a new face,
then put it on for you:
champagne white
and flushed cheeks.
“Open a window,” shout the birds.
I yell back, “We are all windows!”
The house jilts inwards,
a minor chord struck.  My mother
bent in another kitchen, hand
on her back, asking for ice.
I take a break.
I take ten breaks.
Outside is loud
even though
I can’t hear anything.
People are falling over
all the time.  I am staying in my home
all the time, until it sprouts
its own apples.  I made them myself.
I can make things myself.
One more week like this
and I will tip it over,
both piano and house.
I don’t care.
You will still see me
whether there or not here
or at the tips of your fingers.
My hair, hardly holding on,
for what?



Robyn Bateman writes, draws, and cooks stuff in Portland, Oregon. A new episode of their autobiographical comic, Failing Haus, can be found every other week on Nailed Magazine. Robyn is also the author of “Oh,” a book of poetry exploring emotional trauma and recovery. They make books and other rare artifacts with Lovely Book Club, formerly Dimsummer, a small press dedicated to never meeting deadlines.


Rob Gray is an artist, musician, and writer in Portland, Oregon.  He is a founding member of Lovely Book Club, which is more like a yacht club really, but also more like a drinking club and also an amateur football club.  He spends most his time working at Full Life, a day program for adults with developmental disabilities.  Rob was born in London, England, grew up in Karlsruhe, Germany, lived in the Bay Area and Santa Barbara, CA before settling in the Pacific Northwest.  He has been living, working, making and sharing art, music, and poetry in Portland since 2009.  

Visit www.robertduncangray.com to see his work.

Sam Preminger

Sam Preminger is a Portland-based poet. Their work has appeared throughout various publications and they hold an MFA from Pacific University.