Poetry: Selections from Gabriel Hart

When I Wished for Solitude, I Didn’t Mean Like This

in my kitchen
a table for two
yet one chair
long since been removed
leaving me to say
this insular grace
to the vast
black widow’s web
that’s taken its place
now, we sit
we wait
convinced our refusal
to move
will somehow tempt fate
relying on an accidental
wander into our gate
at the thought
of whom or what
we might get
while I’m not the greatest
I make their effort
since the day
I hopelessly
tangled myself
in my own net

The Other Men

Night fell on the date
I had to meet the other man
him and I, trapped, no escape
though strangers came, paid admission
him and I, happy to take
yet, it was he, who first offered
his hand
the first to admit
he knew my name
the only fist I’d make
would be my tight, sincere grip
our fingers clasped
two links in a chain
we sat and talked
easygoing like
real, actual men
trading war stories of mutual duress
everything, in fact, but the woman
in common
wide eye contact
we would not digress
But the thing about presence
it quickly becomes the past
as two other men we knew
flew in on cocaine
shattering the delicate window
made of our thin nerve glass
they pointed, like they saw a miracle in us
(it almost was until they came)
“you two are like war buddies now!
That crazy bitch – the Vietnam!”
and the thing about crazy
is that those who weaponize the word
like these guys
licking their lips
talking in riddles
are like slow-burning
the real crazy ones
are self-administered
but since to the other man
I’m also the other one
we looked at each other
smirking, our moment gone
though I wanted to jump
out of my skin
leave behind
my empty vessel hide
in honor of him
and all the other
perfectly crazy women
to come

Gabriel Hart lives in Morongo Valley in California’s High Desert. He's the author of the collection Fallout From Our Asphalt Hell (October '21 from Close to the Bone), the Palm Springs noir novelette A Return To Spring (2020, Mannison Press), the dispo-pocalyptic twin-novel Virgins In Reverse / The Intrusion (2019, Traveling Shoes Press), and his debut poetry collection Unsongs Vol. 1. Other works can be found at ExPat Press, Misery Tourism, Terrorhouse, Joyless House, Shotgun Honey, Bristol Noir, Crime Poetry Weekly, and Punk Noir. He's also a monthly columnist for Lit Reactor and a regular contributor to Los Angeles Review of Books.