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Exquisite Corpse
Issue 8A Journal of Letters and Life

Prose Poems
by Robert Gibbons
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Boots & Divination

"In the most elementary hierophany everything is declared."
      -Mercea Eliade

Under asphalt on Batterymarch the clang of cobblestones rose up as if under iron shoes of horses instead of my boots & divination. A few days later I looked around for the hard evidence. Real joy in discovering the alley separating the Royal Arcanum building erected in 1877, & the present Charrette. Nothing but a great grid of cobbles undisturbed, in place, like a set of molars when the street was the mouth of

Communicating Vessels

It was as if things & utterance merged. Red delphinium vibrated behind our talk influenced by French burgundy. The friend called soul & fertility of soil equal. It happened in a flash. On a street given over almost entirely to fashion. For a second poetry clasped presence & memory together with the strength of sinew. Language, direct descendant of the senses. Love rose, a sea in the bloodstream.

Write Naked

Initially, the need for transition suddenly fragments flow collage, listen to Schoenberg.

White Dog (of Death)

Believe it, I was in the same room with Brassai. OK, an auditorium. I was also a month old when he & Picasso discussed differing styles of graffiti in Paris, Rome, Barcelona. The etched holes, lines, dug marks Brassai photographed & shared with the master who studied them, zeroing in on the naive, the primitive. Picasso compared them to his paper napkin animals. The day after he showed Brassai the white dog (of death) with cigarette-bum holes for eyes, word arrived of Nusch Eluard's passing.

Nineteen Days Later

November's last day cast black across the entire sea. An absence of light? No, a hundred layers grey, & a threat of snow. Under voluptuous stone-cold clouds one remnant of sun remained.

Morning of December 19th Jung's negredo appears, again, the second time in twenty-five years - first warning in a written message after knocking on the door of the dream, "Get out of the white room!" This time, disguised as an old, goateed, Blues man, he says, "I'm old enough, now, at 53, to change the past.

Tunnel Vision: One Untender Button

Conquering my own fracture, walking till it fixes, I jump on the orange Line in Boston across from the guy in black leather jacket, heavy steel zippers running up sleeves, black jeans, black boots half-a- shin high, handcuffs attached to a loop, black headphones blasting over cropped blond hair, left hand holding small spiral notebook over which he labors with pen in hand blocked in thought: danger as intense as I've seen a body distill, he looks up glowering below brow right at the woman next to me, old enough to be his mother, trying hard to keep from laughing at the kid toiling over the manifesto hidden under mammoth thumb. A tract of decimation equal, I imagine, to the dogma printed in bold white on black letters pinned to his chest EAT FUCK KILL I get to Haymarket, turn on the platform to watch in awe the train disappear into the oblivion of daytime darkness.

Communicating Vessels II

It's August's eve. More green & shades of green, & more rain expected in days ahead. In last night's dream the enemy just drove away. I carried that optimism like a parasol across a slaughterhouse floor, when walking the pure, wet, black asphalt of Batterymarch, rain sent steam spectres fuming out of man-hole covers, foreshadowing the enemy's impending return.

Confessional Poem

Something ended up taking your place in bed, almost hap-hazardly, while you were in California. My notebooks.
Difficult to Imagine

"Joy followed always after pain."

Whether it was Apollinaire's voice recorded in 1912, reading Le Pont Mirabeau, made me understand, or scenes from Betty Blue, or the tragic sound track from Last Tango, I'm not sure, but recently, apart from finding you in our Paris hotel room, kept up all night by Bastille Day revelers, only to ball all night long like Betty & Zorg, where by their voices alone you'd think they were, not like Brando in clochard's overcoat sifting through the trash; or alone together, the only couple in the after-hours dining room of the Hotel Negresco in Nice, mornings spent in the Mediterranean, then at noon, the escape to our room five blocks away from the beach, to drink off tributary bodies, eat cheap grocery lunch, then back in the afternoon to watch Sadui Kamel lug huge rectangles of ice over his head under the sun, & cover the translucent blocks with stones to keep beer & soda he sold for meager living cold, "7 Up-Up-Up;" or the bar in Cahors named after the movie 37.2 le Matin, where on the outskirts of town you walked naked, ankle-deep in the Cele River; I don't know, but what I do know is that when I returned from this extended reverie, & saw you standing before sun veering mercifully off the frozen lake... I recognized that the most difficult thing in the world to imagine is Beauty ever being unhappy.

The Good Dog

The city paid little attention to the lightning. Lightning hotter than the surface of the sun. Lightning, talk that changes things. Women, nonplussed. Men, indifferent. Suddenly sauntering between two lines of cars a dog emerged from the Storrow Drive tunnel, immune from time, against the clogged artery. Haughty smile under his tongue. Baudelaire in his last prose poem praised the good dogs of Paris, the poor dogs, the muddy dogs, exiled by all but the homeless, & women past their prime ignored by the imbecility of men. This outlaw mutt, shaggy, wet, yet getting somewhere faster than the rest of the rush-hour commuters. Unleashed grin of freedom, progress in its own way.

Monument à D. A. F. de Sade

Those mid-thigh-high-black-velvet boots the Asian woman appeared in, striking everyone dumb along the way! I'd drive her further down into them, turning her upside-down to make the most of the force of gravity.

OK! So what if I am, in this case, the heel on top?

It's an image that lasts!

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