False Start in Art School
With George Segal’s white plaster figures
Serving as my model, I sopped a friend
In the clothes he was trapped in for hours
As I tried to pry them off, scissoring a seam
Through which I might husk him,
The plaster fastened to the hair on his legs.
“Do what you must” the mock-comic
Response after I’d stuck him, drawing blood,
And asked if he’d rather that I stopped.
Introduction to Sculpture’s major project,
Which I’d pretty much now botched.
If I had it to do over again, I’d torso him
In short sleeves and gym shorts and hand in
My update on the amputated relics
We’d studied in Art History class--
An archaic Apollo of free-standing cloth
To set before racks of dusty amphorae.
Either way, I’ll still have stopped painting,
A few years out of Art school,
To make my slow way instead among words.
Robert Gibb's books include After, which won the 2016 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize, and Among Ruins, which won Notre Dame’s Sandeen Prize in Poetry for 2017. Other awards include a 1997 National Poetry Series title (The Origins of Evening), two NEA Fellowships, a Best American Poetry and a Pushcart Prize. A new book, Sightlines, winner of the 2019 Prize Americana for Poetry, will be published in January 2021.
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