The First Sentence
It’s not often
a poet allows
him or herself
to do nothing, but
I just accomplished
this rare occurrence out
here in the newly renovated
shed, an effort of two weeks
scrubbing, sanding, painting,
repairing hole in ceiling, not to
mention chasing years’ worth of
insects back to nature.
It’s based on Scandinavian
disconnects I read about called
Hermit Huts, everything’s unplugged.
There was one photo in the article, an interior
so simple it made me think of van Gogh’s room,
& fondly recalled a similar space in Mexico, when
Manuel Avila Camacho compared our $40-month shack
to Vincent’s in Arles.
Although I’m the least handy of men
other than a certain propensity
toward bricolage in language,
I thought while looking at
the photo & its caption,
cozy 84-square-foot hut,
“I can do that!!”
The woods of Gotland Island, Sweden’s
got nothing on our backyard here in Portland.
I’m not losing sight of this accomplishment mentioned
earlier, what, poet doing nothing for a change? Lasted ten
minutes, after nailing latest curtain on windows facing West,
making shade against lowering August afternoon sun. Stan Getz
came on Jazz Radio out of San Francisco with Dreams from his album
Voyage, which I pulled in unplugged, battery only on indispensable computer,
doing nothing other than staring listening dreaming traveling readying to jot down
the first sentence come to mind.
Robert Gibbons, a former Gloucester resident, is the author of nine books of poetry. In 2013, in addition to completing a Trilogy of prose poems with Nine Point Publishing, he published Olson/Still: Crossroad, a brief study concerning the similarities in approach to art by Olson in words, and Clyfford Still in paint.