Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dear Editors:
I read your advertisement on craigslist. I decided to send some of my work to see if you are interested. My name is Robert Gibbons. I recently moved to New York City from Florida. I am a published poet. I have been published in the Nomad's Choir, Rogue Scholar, Riverdale Press, Side of Paradise, Line and Stars, and many on line journals. Thank you for your time and patience in reviewing my work.

Thanks again,
Robert Gibbons

Write up a storm
(for Hurricane Gustav)

the unseen eye
attracted to the mélange
of jazz and jambalaya, the
rhythm has entered a
blues period.

the unseen eye holds
the handle of a jumbo
gumbo pot lazily stirring
the air as wind and rain marinates,
Lake Pontchartrain becomes
a big wok.

the unseen eye
cries alligator tears of rain,
looting the shore
like sand crabs and
slave raiders exploiting
the bounty. Oil slick riggers
travel the length of the Mississippi
from the Gulf Coast to Minnesota.

For the Senator seeking the office of President
(For: Maria Ranier Rilke).

For the senator who seeks the office of President
if you want to go the mountaintop,
you must see Jesus walking the street with one-hundred recyclable cans,
bound by a crucifix
If you seek more than the Oval office and the Lincoln bedroom
you must go past Lafayette Square, past Andrew Jackson on an upright horse, where blonde-haired woman wearing tailored suits, carrying upscale lunch bags, past chiseled –faced men with buzz cut and power ties, talking on an unreachable cell phone.
For those who dare to administer the Executive Branch of Government,
don’t drive through the tenement with executive tint rolled up separating you like a river. If you go to West Virginia Avenue and Clay Terrace there are no Camelot horses and Hawaiian shirts.
If you seek highest ascendancy in the world,
then you will find out the stone will not be rolled away.
In fact, you may be stoned.
You may be the allegorical suffering Christ figure, Bigger Thomas
standing on a Chicago roof.
Don’t forget about Malcolm, Medgar, Mandela, and JFK. Martin had bombs beneath his steps. Even he understood that the king must sometimes be crucified for the sake of the kingdom. Crucify him!

(tribute to historic Florida)

At the end of the archipelago there is an expressway
where the heat is so hot you better find yourself a
shade tree, plant yourself, then maybe a cool breeze
will pass by. Where saw grass still grows and you better
stop if a family of ducks are crossing the street. The
whole state is fish bowl and we recount those days.

We recount those days while yet in the third grade, the
first time we saw snow, it was historic, wet, bleached,
sand-stoned colored snowflakes fell from the sky.

We recount those days when yachts would dock near Old Port
Cove, when mobile homes crowded Singer Island, eroded
beaches allowed an invasion of lemon sharks, propeller-
marked manatees, and an explosion of mangoes. Wallace’s
ideas are stranded in the Bahamas, lot in the triangle and
Hemmingway’s cats are on a hot tin roof.

We recount those days when discovery was a real as Ponce De Leon.
He discovered me as I discovered myself and conquered my coming of age.
Spanish grandmother would hold her children close, wouldn’t let go.
She named her Florida. Only exotic Cuban plants and red peppers grew.
The smoke is still rising from the Wacissa swamp. No one knew its origin.

We recount those days when bean pickers and corn packers shucked,
shelled, and jived way into the night. Even, Zora went walking up
dust tracked roads. Sugar would drip from the cob of corn. We
settled black muck. It grew everything. Hurricanes and tornadoes would
make their annuals visits blowing Tallahassee roofs and drowning cypress

We recount those days when Northern birds migrated, bubble gum pink flamingoes
sat proud atop lime green art deco buildings. Blue herons would wade up Palm Beach
Lakes. Now snow birds just leave their droppings-their snow.

We want to recount all the dead, and the past, all the graveyards and plots built above ground. The ones lost at sea when the hurricane and Great Flood came.

We want a recount for Belle Glade, Palm Glade, Palm City, and every palm tree with a coconut and every nut that fell from grace and made an impact on the ground’s floor.

We want a recount fro FEMA city, Little Havana, Little Haiti, Turtle Key, and very topless woman, muscle boy, Lancôme babe that struts, strolls, and cruises Ocean Drive.
For Ocala, Tallahassee, Wakulla, Sarasota, Pahokee, and every Native that ran into the swamp and hid from Andrew Jackson during the Battle of Orleans.

Finally, a recount for the disheveled, dismembered, disbarred, disenfranchised, and dissed who wash car window for a living carrying big red paint buckets beneath a Miami bridge, only eating a grapefruit and an avocado, drying their sweat-drenched bodies in the coolness of the night. For the drifter, the drifted, the beach bum, the hum drum, the ones who fell overboard, drunk from pain, lost at sea, the sea anemone, the sea spray is only temporary. The sun is the light. The dolphins will sing and the sea will be green again.

Survivor’s Staircase
(September 11th)

Take me up those stairs,
out of this pain, each step is
worry, each step bury the past.
Take me up those stairs,
each step is creaky, each step
is weak, the noise give sound
to what was, but what will be.
Take me up those steps,
this rain, is falling constantly,
each step to finish, each step
Take me up those stairs,
fix this staircase as it winds,
it wails, it pains me to
imagine, fathom a
Take me up those stairs,
as I find a way to climb,
not look behind, to
travel, to unravel
this mystery,
this is a painful history.

The Long Road to Justice
(Thurgood Marshall)

there are so many roads to travel these days,
filled with attraction, but one particular road,
the long road never ends, it winds, it curves,
even spirals, sometimes unfinished pavement
makes travel stagnant, idle; road blocks
often create traffic jams, because of this road,
the long road should open game for on-
coming traffic, like any road-it’s controlled,
lanes are blocked for construction, some traffic
has to merge into one line, to unify,
there are no expressways here, no easy access,
some want to ride the speed lane, to cut the line,
not to wait their time, even road markers are unclear,
fluorescent yellow, kelly green haz-mat signs
are plastered everywhere, they are disregarded,
even ignored, though the speed limit is set,
lead feet accelerates, road rage overtakes,
suddenly collision, causing lanes to be blocked
until help arrives.

No windows

No windows
No windows
On my end of town
There are no windows
On my end of town
Jus gulags of cells
Salvation Army bells
No ticker tape parade
Just a statue of Lincoln
The patina has fade
There are no windows
No windows
On my end of town
No Wall Street Bull
No subway canopy
No freshly painted park bench
No manicured trees
No window on my end of town.

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