"To bring the poem into the world / is to bring the world into the poem."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012



I am not sure if I have had a great recession experience. I have always been limited in the area of finances. Due to my limitation I have learned how to live within my means and sometimes this is difficult because there are certain occasions when I would like to go a poetry reading and the reading has a minimum and then they ask for a donation. So now I am more selective in the readings I go to and I do the research. I want to go out and support other artists in the poetic community but sometimes it can become costly. So I just do not attend readings as much as I used to when I first started out as a performing poet.



I think the recession has affected my poetry immensely. I have always been sensitive to the conditions of others but the present economy has escalated that pain even further. I find myself being more careful in spending and being more considerate of the ones who are less fortunate. I went to a dinner party one night and the tab was so expensive I began to cry. I could pay my share but I just felt like me being a part of this was somehow not right. So I observe the pain of others more closely. I live within my limitations and I do overlook the less fortunate.


Mean Streets
(for Piri Thomas)

people are coming out of port authority
like water; see them in a place
that will spit them out like a cough; people
are walking into nowhere; into a place
as tall as steal; as the New York Times
building; people will crowd this corner;
stores of big watches and comedy clubs;
they come because they are attracted to
the lights; they are attracted to Frank O’Hara
idea of a walk; they are attracted to BBQ’s
and ten dollar shoes; just to say they bought
it; they are attracted to the idea of a marquis;
the little lights bulbs encircling the sign;
they find themselves stranded on the corner
with a suitcase and cell phone; they find
themselves with a pretzel and a hotdog;
with a newspaper and disappointment
they find themselves stranded like
a shish kabob and a bun; in the middle
of this endless parade; without float
or hope; an illusion as back door theater;
they will never be invited; they catch
a train bound for Brooklyn; in these
few streets that once held their dreams;
not long ago they can’t afford the subway
peanuts; a few streets of African men
carrying signs of tour buses; but even
they can’t understand; they only under
stand one thing; it is as urgent as their
red vest; they will never be accepted;
they will never be asked to diversify;
they may be a target; because of their
table full of off brand bags; they too
are rebels against the system; a system
that will never respect them; for now
they are traffic tickets; a summons
and violations; too these few streets
that held their dreams; they are another
collection for the IRS and they will run
you over if you get in their way; these
few streets will take your picture; plaster
it all over the blotter; so you might as well
hold yourself down; in hells’ kitchen;
walk away from fifteen minutes;
it is a waste of time; you can’t afford me;
anyway. I am expensive; if I were you
I would find a diner; with a special;
a spaghetti or eggplant; cause those
fifteen dollars at Manhattan Plaza
no. your money will not save you



Robert Gibbons is originally from Belle Glade (Palm Beach County), Florida. An honors graduate of Glades Central High School, Robert matriculated to Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, where he received the B.S. in History in 1989. Robert has taught in the Palm Beach County School District; the Prince George’s County School District; the Fairfax County School District; and now works as an English Specialist for the Renaissance Charter High School of Innovation of East Harlem (Manhattan), New York City.

He moved to New York City in the summer of 2007 in search of his muse-Langston Hughes. Robert has featured in many venues around New York City, as well as in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Florida. He most recently has offered his poetic performances in such places as: Cornelia Street Café; the Church of the Village; the Saturn Series; Perch Café; Barnes and Nobles Brooklyn; the Saturn Series; Stark Performances; Otto’s Shrunken Head; Poets on White; Nomad’s Choir; Taza de Café and many others. Moreover, Robert has been published in Uphook Press; Three Rooms Press; Stain Sheets; Brownstone Anthology; Dinner with the Muse; Cartier Street Review; Nomad’s Choir; Palm Beach Post; and recently was produced on a CD called Brain Ampin through Hydrogen Jukebox, a poetry series produced through the Cornelia Street Café. Additionally, Robert has taken classes with Cave Canem and the 92Y and has studied under master poets such as: Cornelius Eady, Marilyn Nelson, KImiko Hahn, Nathalie Handal, and Linda Susan Jackson.


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