Poetry: Selections from Gabriel Bates

Short and Sweet

When I write a poem,
I like to get
straight to the point.

There's just no time
to fuck around.

Because if I don't
get it down right away,
then I might end up
taking it to the grave.

It Was Over Before It Even Started

The first ape
to learn how to
use a rock
as a weapon
must've felt like
the biggest thing
in the universe.

But God,
looking down
at that moment,
probably flipped out
when he realized that
his own grand plan
just went to shit.

I'm Just Not Like Other People

I don't make small talk
about the weather
or anything like that.

I have no interest
in football teams
or celebrity scandals.

I'm not on
the latest social media apps,
and I sure as hell
don't concern myself
with whatever nonsense
is trending right now.

But I have something
that they don't.

It's a fire
burning in my gut,
something that needs
to be said,
something that'll stick around
when I'm gone for good.

Because I don't
want to die
without leaving
something behind.

I want to smolder
for a little while
after my flame
has gone out.

A Modern-Day Romance

We met online
and fell for each other
almost instantly.

Everyone said
we were crazy,
but we both knew that
what we felt was real.

So I headed to Ohio
to be with you in real life,
not just digitally.

After a few days
of driving,
I was right down the road
from your house.

And I only had one question
on my mind—
will you still love me
when my phone turns off,
and I'm standing
on your doorstep?

The Art of Dissection

My poems are bodies,
and I'm the surgeon
trying to cut around
the fat and gristle
so I can get down
to the fucking bone.

The Commute

I used to walk to work
every morning,
and I'd pass by
this old apartment building
on the way.

Some tomcat lived there,
and he'd watch me
from his perch
on one of the windowsills.

He was gray and white,
obviously well-fed,
and still pretty young.

But he had
the saddest look in his eyes,
almost like he knew
where I was going
and that there was nothing
he could do to save me.

So all he'd offer
was that gaze of pity
through a dirty window
while I made my way
to the factory.

Gabriel Bates is a poet living in Tiffin, Ohio. His work has appeared in several publications, online and in print.