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How to Greet Death: A response


How to Greet Death: A Response

(inspired by How to Greet Death by Gabriel Gadfly)

I wish I could greet death

Like a svelte Russian KGB agent

With bright red lipstick and a menthol

Dangling from my mouth

Leaning against a brick wall

So casually

But in reality

I will greet death like a newborn infant

Alone in the world until it meets the eyes

Of its mother

I will greet death

Hiding under a desk

With the barrel of a gun pointed at my face

Wondering when was the last time I told my mother I loved her.

I will greet death like a naïve university student

Learning about entropy

Did you know,

There’s a law of thermodynamics which states entropy is

What the universe is constantly moving towards

Energy resolving itself into a more probable arrangement

Like the moment it all clicked together

My universe, my body, my system

All shifting to a more probable arrangement

An arrangement that is


When I am ash
and they pour me
into the greyfoam sea,
wrap yourself against
the salt wet wind
and turn an ear
to the lies frothing
out their mouths.

They will say
I loved this world
and all the people in it,
that I found beauty
and words to birth it
in the mind.

I tried
oh, I tried,

but the world is a carious tooth,
crag and rot-yellow,
the nerve exposed and raw.

Have mercy.
Have rage.
Have from your silent depths

the good sense

to rip it from the
throbbing mouth of space,
to grip the pliers tight and
crater the bloody gum

so the universe can heal,
and grow a voice that does not
make it cringe to speak.

smashconnell said: Does that mean you won’t be coming out with anymore books? Congratulations on your marriage!

The very honest answer to that is I don’t yet know. I may decide to pick poetry back up with the fervor that I pursued it before, and if I do, then it’s likely that I will publish something new. I still have a half-finished draft for Doomsdays, but I don’t know when or if it will ever be finished.

There is also the possibility that Bone Fragments and Ventricle, Atrium may be re-released in the future in second editions under a new publisher, but at the moment, I don’t have the time or the inclination to pursue that.

Some news about my books

Hi everyone. I received an email a few days ago from 1889 Labs, the publisher who handles my books Bone Fragments and Ventricle, Atrium.

1889 Labs is stepping out of the picture. The owner, MCM, has had some health issues of his own after caring for his wife, who had a traumatic brain injury last year. I don’t believe the company is closing entirely, but they’re reverting all rights back to their authors and will discontinue printing and distributing my ebooks and print books.

What this means is that my books will be going out of print soon. I’m not really certain how soon. At the moment, the books are still available on Amazon.

I want to thank you all again for your support over the years. Many of you are probably wondering what’s become of me in the last few months. Well, lots, actually. I moved to a new town. I got married. I’ve started a new blog on a vastly different topic from writing, which consumes most of my time, and I’m doing very well teaching social media to private clients — something I’m doing to pay the bills. I’m happy, which is something I can say I wasn’t for much of the last year.

I still write poetry, although less of it, and more of it written for my own enjoyment, rather than trying to speak to an audience. I’ve published a few pieces in journals, which I’m sure you can find if your Google-fu is strong enough.

Before my books go out of print, I’ll be working with 1889 Labs to try to acquire a final run of the books that I can sell directly, if any of you still want an autographed copy or want copies to give as gifts. If you’re interested in that, send me an ask or reply to this post and let me know how many copies you’d be interested in, so I can get a ballpark idea of how many copies I need to try to acquire.

Today, I found
a shoe box
under the bed,
full of post cards
sent to you
from people
who loved you.

Postcards from a gas station
in downtown Paris,
from a smoky Amsterdam pub,
from a little village an hour
from Sao Paolo
where the water is drying up
and the children
have eyes like coal.

Handdrawn artsy cards,
five dollar museum cards,
art deco cards, cubist cards,
dada cards you have to stare at
until you start to think of them
as something beyond paper.

Kitsch cards, sentiments,
and Hallmark rhymes,
and a dozen cards sent
from some marina tourist shop,
the same sparkling blue water
and the same white sailboats
and the names of so many
little coast towns.

All these cards,
and on each, scrawls,
"I wish you were here."

I never sent you a postcard
from anywhere. I never
wanted to be anywhere
you were not.

Oh, I wish you were here.

Do not fall in love with people like me
we will take you to
museums and parks
and monuments
and kiss you in every beautiful
place so that you can
never go back to them
without tasting us
like blood in your mouth.

I’m 99% sure I never wrote this, but there are a lot of posts floating around claiming I did. 

The Shade Tree by Gabriel Gadfly

From you, I learned the world

does not allow both
in single trunk of flesh,

no matter how many
sun-charred children
you gather under your
wide-swept branches,
no matter how many
crinkled leaves of gold
you rain down into their
hungry open mouths.

This kind of healing
puts a dose of poison
in the roots, it comes
with sterile soil,
with a daily loosening,
and they will never know it,
not even when the trunk
begins to list and groan
in the wind issuing
from their wailing throats.

It would be such a simple lust,
to ache for aching
like they do,
to just give in to it
and ache like they do,
to swallow no one’s pain
but gallons of your own,
to feast on yourself.

Forget this strange nutrition.

Even if it lets your roots
knot their worried fingers
deeper into the hair
of your lover the earth,
even if it brings strength
beneath the earth,
it withers the limbs above.
It shades no one.

It would heal you with a cost:
a shrinking ring of shade,
and the sun rises ever higher,
it burns ever hotter
and here it never sets.

It lays hot on your back, yes,
but it sears these children
of sticks, and they are
already smoking.

Let them huddle closer.
Stretch your limbs
to encompass as many of them
until your bark cracks
with the strain of reaching.

Bathe their bodies, feed them,
and grow dizzy with it,
feel the earth kiss you
even as she loosens your fingers
from clutching so tightly,
teeter and hunch and splinter
but never stop shielding
the blistered beneath you.

How valuable is a shade tree
if it could not
come crashing down
one day?

This poem © Gabriel Gadfly. Published November 19th, 2013.

Teething by Gabriel Gadfly

Forget all else I have told you.

There is no calm inside me,
no serenity
no silence.

I have told you
I have nothing more to say
but I do
I do
and it comes out
only in wails at myself
when I get away from you.

I have hidden what I am:
a teething child

snapping at tombstones
and bricks.

I have chewed a box of knives
down to their handles,

gnawed curbs and sidewalks
for the taste of the moss in their cracks
and the feet that tread them.

I have ground my teeth down
to a mouthful of grit
and bloody nubs of gum.

I polish the back of my throat
in swallows.

Even that brings no quiet.

Call a dentist, please
please please.
Build me
a new grin with pieces
of chalk.

I was born with
a blackboard tongue
that needs scrawls
bitten into it.

This poem © Gabriel Gadfly. Published November 18th, 2013.

My life has changed a lot in the last few months, and with it, my priorities have changed. I haven’t written much poetry lately…and most of you know I haven’t been very active online.

I have been doing a lot of introspection lately, and a lot of reading. There’s a line in the Lord of the Rings where Bilbo tells Gandalf he feels like too little butter scraped over too much bread. I have often felt like that, for the better part of a year really, and it’s time to change that. I am going to put poetry aside for a time, and reacquaint myself with my other passions and interests.

I’m removing most of my social network presences, including Twitter, Facebook, and here on Tumblr.

My poetry will remain archived on the main site at, and from time to time I may add new poems when the whim strikes me, but the site will not be updated on any sort of schedule. If you’d like news of my doings, that would be the place to look.

I will be closing the site’s store, and no longer selling print and ebook editions of my books through They will, however, still be available from Amazon and most other major online booksellers.

Doomsdays, the work-in-progress manuscript for my third book, is indefinitely paused. I’m disappointed about that, but I’d rather not release the book than release a weak shadow of what it should be.

None of this, of course, is necessarily an irreversible change. I expect I’ll come back to poetry in a few years, but I don’t think the love of poetry is something you can force — you love it when you need it, and when the need has passed, poetry is content is lie untouched until you come back to it. Try to force your love for it, and poetry will come to resent you, and you it.

Well…to other matters. I will miss you all. I have learned much from you and loved you and you have shared with me so much of your lives. You have helped me through dark places and celebrated with me small victories, and I cannot express how grateful I am for your support and friendship over the years. You gave me my dream, and helped me accomplish what I set out to do when I decided to become a poet. I hope I have helped you too, whether through my poetry or just through our interactions.

Be good to yourselves. The world is beautiful, even when it is broken, and you are too.

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