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Jan 2012 · 6.2k
Gabriel Gadfly Jan 2012
We stood on the wood bridge
over old Shoal Creek when
you reached up and shook
a handful of snowflakes
out of the white winter stars.

Just a handful,
just a few cold crystals
that tumbled down into the lazy
loping water of old Shoal Creek.

As we watched them come down,
I grabbed your magic hand
and held it until those falling
flakes were swallowed up
and swept downstream,
thinking you were as rare
as an Alabama snowfall
and I needed to hold your hand
to keep you from disappearing
just as quick.
This poem and others can be read on the author's website,
Jan 2012 · 4.5k
Strange Geographies
Gabriel Gadfly Jan 2012
As a child, I used to cut
apart maps of America,
separate the states and
put them back together
in strange geographies:
Kansas against Maine,
fling the Dakotas as far
away from each other
as they could go, press
New Mexico against the
breast of South Carolina.
I tucked tiny Rhode Island
into the palm of Michigan,
gave Nebraska a seaside.

I realize now the folly
in these stately migrations:
I never thought I’d wish
I could drive across the
border of Alabama into
Oregon’s deep woods.
This poem and many more can be found on the author's website, This poem was published in Ventricle, Atrium, the author's second poetry collection.
Gabriel Gadfly Jan 2012
Fat people have no heads.
They end at the shoulders,
they are clipped off at the neck.
Never talk to fat people.
You may talk to an expert,
to a dietitian or a doctor
but never to a real live fat person
because fat people have no heads.

Use the word Epidemic
at least once, especially
if children are involved.
Children are always involved,
so use the word Epidemic
at least once. Fat children
still have heads, usually;
only fat adults must be
d e c a p i t a t e d.

Because he still has his head
you may talk to a fat child,
especially if you offer him
a box of chicken nuggets.
Entice him to say Alarming Things
with a box of chicken nuggets.

After the word Epidemic
segue from concerned anchorwoman
to stock footage of fat headless girl
browsing the racks at J.C. Penny’s.
Segue to fat headless mom
walking with her fat headless son
on a sidewalk populated by
fat headless pedestrians.
Voice-over Alarming Things
about fat headless people
not getting enough exercise
and segue to fat headless man
stuffing his fingers into a box
of McDonald’s french fries.
Fat people eat only McDonald’s
french fries and we will be right
back with more on this story
after a word from our sponsors.

Cue McDonald’s theme song.
Pretty people Golden Arches
laughing with their heads
as they eat McDonald’s french fries
with their heads
and never gain a pound.
This poem and many more can be found on the author's website,
Jan 2012 · 3.3k
Gabriel Gadfly Jan 2012
This is the first night
I am lying in the dark
without you.

The room does not breathe.
It does not stir, it does not
cough nor sniff, it does not
roll over and seek my hand
in the middle of the night.

It does not wander in the night.
It does not wander under the sheets
and over naked flesh that yearns
for your touch, it does not
wake to dawn knocking at the window
and say hello good morning
I can’t wait to start the day with you.
This poem and many others can be found at the author's website,
Gabriel Gadfly Dec 2011
December, 1870*

After the beef was gone,
after the pork and the lamb,
and the fowl and the fish
and the dogs, and the cats,
and the rats in the gutter,
the butchers turned to the zoo.

We ate the wolves.
We ate the wolves
broiled in sauce of deer,
the antelope truffled and terrined.
We ate the camels
with breadcrumbs and butter,
and when they were all gone,
we sharpened our knives
and primed our guns
and came back for the elephants.

The gunsmith Devisme did the deed,
hurled an explosive ball
through each of their docile heads.
They fell like mountains,
like the pillars of Dagon
pulled down by mighty Samson,
and then we hacked them up
and carted them away to the kitchens,
to feed the wealthy and the rich
in the clubs of bright Paris.
This poem and others can be found at the author's website,
Dec 2011 · 4.0k
Your Grandmother's Vase
Gabriel Gadfly Dec 2011
I broke your grandmother’s vase.
The blue one, patterned with lilacs,
liberated from a secondhand store
in Czechoslovakia in 1939.

Like your grandmother,
it came with stories:
she talked a German officer
into buying it for her
in exchange for a date
she never showed up for,
the year her brother
put her on a train with a trunk
full of dresses and a little sister,
a hundred korunas sewn
into her underwear, where she knew
no one would find them.

I broke your grandmother’s vase.
I knocked it off the shelf,
dove to catch it, missed,
and watched it shatter into
thirty-nine pieces, patterned with lilacs.
Thirty-nine, because I counted
every piece as I hid them
in a drawer in the shed behind
the house, beside the hammer
and wrench, where I knew
you would not find them.
This poem and many more can be read on the author's website,
Dec 2011 · 3.3k
The Trembling Room
Gabriel Gadfly Dec 2011
The parents are sitting
behind a glass wall
on a brown leather couch.
Not black.
Not a black couch.
There is nothing black
in the room at all.

There is a glass coffee table
with shiny chrome legs.
There is a ceramic vase
holding red flowers.
There is a window
overlooking the hospital yard,
green grass, oak trees.

There is a mother, wringing her hands,
there is a father, grinding his teeth,
and there is silence.

There is so much
ready to break
in this trembling room.
This poem and more can be found on the author's website,
Oct 2011 · 3.2k
Brier Patch
Gabriel Gadfly Oct 2011
Press your ear close.

Sometimes you can hear the breath
rattling in my chest like a bone shrugged
its moorings and ought to be tied back down.

It’s the sound of a canyon
trying to expel a marsh:
hear the stones tumble down,
clatter and splash,
the stiff reeds scouring the walls.
Stuck bristles. Sticks.
The marsh is dauntless.
It can’t be pushed out through
the canyon’s narrow mouth.

It’s the sound of a cave-in.
Press your ear close and
listen to picks and shovels
plinking on the rock.
Soon the oxygen gives out
and all the miners go to sleep,
or they punch a hole through
to the sky and breathe,
mouths pressed to the breach,
gasping a little at a time.

It’s the sound of a brier patch
growing in your lungs.
It’s the sound of a brier patch
set on fire.
This poem and more can be found on the author's website,
Gabriel Gadfly Oct 2011
I wonder if you remember me.
You said, “Go out. Find me
that universe, and take these
with you.” Talismans.
Good luck charms like Mozart
and fifty-five ways to say hello.
Navajo night chant,
Peruvian wedding song,
diagrams of ribcages, gender,
bushmen and bones.
Gifts for a people you said
I may never meet.

It has been thirty-four years
and I wonder if you remember me.

Less and less,
we call across the distance:
sixteen-point-twelve hours
between transmissions
and I wonder if you remember me.
I nearly kissed Jupiter for you,
nearly skimmed Saturn’s bright rings,
but you said, “Go out.
Find me that universe,”
so I sail out into the dark for you.

I keep a photo of you,
twenty years ancient,
to keep away the quiet
between your calls:
pale pixel, distant dot,
my origin receding,
I wonder if you remember me.

I know now,
you never meant
to call me home.
Dutifully, I will go out,
but I wonder if you forget me.
I am still here, sailing.
This poem and more can be found at the author's website,
Oct 2011 · 4.5k
Dandelion Girl
Gabriel Gadfly Oct 2011
You grew up
on the side of the road,
between sidewalk cracks,
in backyards full of
tall bahia grass,
pushing aside their
stems so you could
find the sky.

You grew up
beneath the sun
and out in the rain
and under every
booming thunderstorm
an Alabama summer
could throw your way.

Dogs ran through you.
Men, too, trampled you
but you sprung back up,
rumpled, but still bright,
unbowing, even when
they said you were just
a gangly **** that no
one would find beautiful.

(I found you beautiful,
because your face was
the sun, and I find it

You grew up.
You had to grow up,
grew white and fragile
and one day the wind
came for you and
carried you away.

Fly far.
This poem and more can be found at the author's website,
Oct 2011 · 3.9k
Worry Eater
Gabriel Gadfly Oct 2011
I have put a Worry Eater
on your bookshelf, right
beside your favorite books.
It may look like a simple
wooden box, but don’t be
fooled: it is a Worry Eater
and the disguise is just
so random visitors will
not know what it is and
try to take it from you,
because Worry Eaters
are very rare and coveted

I would think the name
should be self-explanatory,
but you must feed it daily
in order to keep your
Worry Eater happy and full.
Feeding it is simple:
open the lid and whisper
your worries in, or write them
on little scraps of paper —
lined college-ruled will do,
but the margins of old poems
make a special treat if you
want to do something nice
for your Worry Eater.
(I’ve heard that diner napkins
and the backs of grocery-store
receipts add a nice flavor, too.)

Some people may tell you,
“Don’t worry, everything will
be alright,” but these people
do not have a hungry
Worry Eater waiting at home,
so you can just smile coyly
at them and say, “Yes,
you’re right,” and then go home
and whisper your secret worries
to your secret Worry Eater.
This poem and more can be found on my website,

— The End —