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See Robert's chapbook and complete bio note in Summer 2002.

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More of Gibbons's poetry in our Winter 2001

Summer 2001

Fall 2000

Winter 2000

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More poetry

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Photo of Robert Gibbons by Joe Schuyler. All rights reserved.

Robert Gibbons Robert Gibbons


Considering Paris

Considering Paris, as I walk, nothing less than constant destination. Paris,
which is as secure in our hearts as this oasis Washington, DC has set aside for
Noguchi's, Great Rock of Inner Seeking. The sculptor left vast surface space,
preserving evidence of ancient scarring, then bore rapidly in, revealing the
black core of basalt. Echoes ring from jackhammers busy on 7th Street as I turn
away from the top-heavy strain of abstraction, & head toward its twin in the
Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden.

Rodin's Balzac, stands in bronze greatcoat equal to Noguchi's shield of outer
continental crust. The old sculptor's thumb-print tore open eyes reaching
depths as formidable as the massive drill holes Noguchi used to open the Soul
of Stone. Environs of Paris are constant desire.


When Time is no Solution

That's exactly what I'm doing today, walking around in my head, not surprised
to find that the letter "L" shaped like a leg rose up 3,000 years ago out of
Palestine. Head. Dark corridors. Cul-de-sac. Myriad stones strewn over of the
open road. It's frightening when time is no solution. Last night she dreamt we
bought a huge console clock at an estate sale. When carrying it out, jewels
suddenly appeared on the wooden case. But today the quality of personal time
is no consolation. There are men who love war. She told me last week she
stumbled upon “labyrinth” in the dictionary, close to the word “labia”. Absence of
woman is a cause of war. The current political landscape of Palestine is a time
without presence, covered with men without legs to stand on, a territory like
the labyrinth, ancient enigma named after the double ax.


The Black Paintings

(Oh! palms and diamonds!) -Rimbaud


Rimbaud claimed his own hunger equal to black air.

Thirst for a drop from the fractured glass of the invisible. Litter crossing
parched ground. Flowers sprouting from unexpected fissures in the ancient
calendar wheel, slowing down in ratio to the world's pain. Bad blood of the
weakest sacrificed without reason, or to reason, dried, or flowing. Under the
sun of Harar burlap sacks of coffee worth more than that of the body.
BLACKWORK: toil paid for in cash, the transaction going unrecorded, not
taxed. Death disguised as fate only the book or work can outrun.

Aching scrotum hauling gravel.

Tequila, whiskey, black wine break open internal vessels of truth. Cornucopian
promise, empty or filled. Florida of The Drunken Boat. Vomit in the limo.
Nietzsche's preference for satyr over saint, clown over saint. Terror & laughter.
Peace found: only at the uterine wall. The sea of the vigil like... breasts.
Woman's labor & man's. Desire on the lips. The utter teeming fermentation,
gestation of Hell. Lake bed of cracked mud we all rose up from. Obsidian scar.
Come into existence, take birth; burst forth, spring up; crop up. begin. again.
Make fresh start bud germ (perils lust pearls last) egg embryo rudiment.

Rimbaud creating alchemical gold & god.

Turn work to flesh. Up from the soot & rot, if need be, outrun fate, a breath
disperses the boundaries. Make coal shine. Ink up the palimpsest. Gash no
branches to mark return. Every word, he said, derange sense, set touch free.
Strike invent steal fire, map as you go, continue in that frenzied state knowing
the final destination is still in question.