‘Two More Poems’ Michael Gebelein

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Pat works at the hospital and tries to talk to me about politics

We all leave our grass clippings on the lawn
Except for my neighbor, Pat, who works at the hospital and tells me about the
various benefits of trickle-down economics
I was outside, sweating, with my grass clippings on the lawn
He told me that people who aren’t like us just don’t understand how this thing is
actually set up.
I’ve got news for you, buddy, the shit isn’t built for people like us
Three or four bedrooms and half an acre is all we can ask for.
I might keep the lights on but the rest of it is beyond me
Bleeding down onto the linoleum
Wiping up spilled drinks from the table
And praying for just the right amount of wisdom to keep me going
But not so much that I see this for what it is

Books on tape

My mom would drive in winter with the sunroof open
And a book on tape at a volume slightly higher than was necessary or
comfortable
Slipping away into that world, whatever that world was,
A character flaw she passed down to me
I have the same tattoo that she had
The word ‘now’ on the inside of my right wrist

It doesn’t remind me of anything
It doesn’t remind me to be present
It just reminds me of her
I’m not convinced that this is the best way
It’s better than a cursive-script memorial sticker on the back window of a dodge
neon
Memory is a funny, beautiful thing
That fades and contracts and expands on its own
Building and demolishing the stories I once knew so well
And replacing them with something more real
Stories that I can whisper in the dark
Stories that no one can understand
Stories that have no meaning, except for me.

Michael Gebelein is a writer and editor who lives in the foothills of the North Carolina mountains. His poetry and fiction have appeared in The Philosophical Idiot and his poetry has appeared in the Tulane Review, Deep South Magazine, Aries, Out of Our, and several other publications.

‘Three Poems’ by Michael Gebelein

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The ghost at 2325

Kelly says there’s a ghost hanging around me and that he feeds off of depression and bad
vibes.
I’ve got news for you, sister, I’ve been feeding that motherfucker a five-course meal,
complete with three bottles of wine and something sweet and dainty for dessert.
Maybe that’s the reason there’s a hole in this door
and the cat won’t stop pissing in the corner
the kids fight
we fight
the dog is getting nervous
maybe it’s my ghost who is making the joke, causing all this chaos
it must look pretty funny from his side of the divide
but here and now it’s pretty fucking dark.

Dialogue from a parking lot in downtown Asheville

She was moving her hands and saying ‘no, no, I’ve stopped talking to her’
and he was shaking his head like he didn’t believe her
I used to be one-half of that conversation, one side or the other, depending on
the day,
but no longer.
I threw down my cigarette, ground it out with the tip of my boot and walked back
into my office.
A blank screen was there waiting for me and I sang a slow, sad song for each of
them.

Wilson Creek blues

A fever dream he once had
That showed him the future and the past and the ubiquity of everything
Came back on a dusty gravel road that ran beside the river where two men
drowned the week before
Clutching and the rocks and the rushes but not finding anything worth holding
onto
The game warden was waiting and checked the papers
And everything was in order, for once, except for the joint he hid in his vest
Alone out there in the wilderness with old men and young men each seeking the
perfect spot
But he knew something they didn’t

Michael Gebelein is a writer and editor who lives in the foothills of the North Carolina mountains. His poetry and fiction have appeared in The Philosophical Idiot and his poetry has appeared in the Tulane Review, Deep South Magazine, Aries, Out of Our, and several other publications.