width=61 height=87> Voracious Verses


Michaela A. Gabriel

             Exit light, enter night 
              (Metallica, "Enter Sandman") 

09 February, 1991

yes, my skirt was short. 
yes, i smiled. my eyes were
summers warmer than your hands.

my skin did not breathe invitations.
my lips were not crimson for you.
my legs did not want to part.

it wasn't your fingers that 
smothered me but the thought
of your mother stumbling carpet-

slippered into the room, dropping
curlers in her wake, suspecting
quite a different crime. 

you turned my face away.
how cold that floor was, how 
threadbare the rug. how heavy

your breathing. i counted no's,
left my body beneath you, 
forgot my own name

until afterwards when you
put on that other face again, 
creases around your mouth, wild

honey in your voice. dorothy shoes 
dangled from my hands, black 
and empty, suddenly old.

 2006 Michaela A. Gabriel

Dialogue with a Dehydrating Jellyfish

this sunrise: sky leaks carmine, the morning star goes skinny-dipping, 
then bows out. sand shifts, you must feel it, like time, the wheel turning.  

what's that you said? is this about the future? the future: six letters, 
two of which i never liked, one ludicrous, the other insolent and vain.

words carry meaning, scratch at the veneer, knock down the shell, coax
out true colours. you cannot be made entirely of water and contempt.

if i said mesoglea, it would mean as much to you as bones to me, alien
structures, inflexible enemies of elegance; you will never know dance.

so you floated, carried away by every whim of the ocean? and were 
you beautiful once, like medusa before the god took what he wanted?

i bloomed day and night. now, at the end, i'm dubbed freak of nature, 
a gelatinous mess. death tiptoes around me, as if he, too, were repulsed.

your sting is more than bitter, it could outlive you, burn till twilight. 
cries would echo across the afterworld, night blue abyss, poseidon's realm.  

what do you know of the sea, what of the trident-bearer? go gaze at your
little lights in the sky, puzzle over their patterns, their age-old chants.

i would listen to litanies of fish, stories of sponges, mermaids smitten 
with men, your god, but there is no time. will you not leave me your song? 

mouths mute, bells silenced by depth, we tentacled poetry beneath the 
waves; if i weren't so tired, i'd snake my obituary into this dreary sand.

an opaque language: particles meandering, bubbles blossoming, corals in 
swirls. but the sun's getting thirsty. quick, before she drinks your final words.

yours is a strange world, dry and bright and full of clunky noises. 
i long to be cradled by currents. tell the whales to sing my requiem.

 2006 Michaela A. Gabriel

	And how am I different?
 	       (Aimee Mann)

I Am Not Like My Friends

the worst thing they've done 
is falling in love with the wrong man -
that is where my list begins

i have burned candles in sunlight, 
cried out taboo names on holy days,
chased antelope from waterholes

held up my palms to stop the rain,
cursed the sun under a witch's sign,
raved and raved red china to pieces

i draw sweetness in shades of black,
will find the bitter drop in any cup, 
question its contents if i fail 

my eyes always scan the horizon, 
mind roams lonely plains stretching 
behind layers of paint, cracked veneer

i whisper to the sea, carry words to quiet 
places, leave some of them behind and 
run, run from concentric circles of sound

i smile at strangers, my lashes speak 
their language with pride, innuendoes 
clutter my purse, two for the prize of one

i will attempt the impossible  
braiding spider legs into tightropes
folding jellyfish into towers of strength

 2006 Michaela A. Gabriel

My Friends Are Not Like Me

they change their minds too, but not 
about accepting the weather for what it is, 
or faces lurking on rain-splashed windows.

they hide, but not from a mirror image 
that drips sweat onto cool tiles, never 
from the sandman, his little red pouch.

nothing scares them more than things
that snarl, bare their fangs - snakes, 
birds of prey, and death, yes death. 

they love, but they love in pale blue
or cream, never the stark, ugly white 
which is the flip side of black velveteen.

palms hold small flames, tongues curl
around everything they believe in  love,
aloof gods, but not the curse of nine lives.

and when they dream, their feet won't 
move, lungs will shrivel, cries starve on 
lips; red will ooze blood, turn moon-pale. 

they don't cry salt sea water with a hint
of scarab blue abysses, moans from a wet 
womb. and they laugh, oh how they laugh.

 2006 Michaela A. Gabriel

Mars Rules:   How to Handle an Aries

leave your children with him, but mark 
them. once you have turned your back, 
he will transform into one of them, eyes
sparkling, fingers exploring the world afresh.

he knows what he's looking for: quick wit, 
conversations spiced with polysyllabic words. 
so don't call him snob, use elitist instead. 

don't move in slow motion, banish whenever
from your vocabulary. he has better to do than 
to wait around for sleeping pills in human 
shape, patience has yet to be embraced. 

do not cook his goose. standing in the way of 
ambition means picking a fight with the god 
of war, whose will is stronger than diamond.

you have no alimentary desires, no appetite 
between the sheets? put down the phone, 
forget him before he's seasoning dishes with 
exotic herbs, planning elaborate desserts.

no need to reach for clay tablets, a pen tucked 
behind your ear. rules and restrictions are not
for leaders, throw away that leash, follow.

keep your book of easy solutions. as long as 
he doesn't stumble, face the storm head-on, 
he will remember nothing. it's the ugly uphill 
struggle, the sting that teaches lessons for life.

 2006 Michaela A. Gabriel

About the Poet:

Michaela A. Gabriel (*1971) lives in Vienna, Austria, where she assists adults in acquiring computer and English skills, and gets together with the muse as often as possible. She has been published in English, German, Italian, and Polish, both online and in print. Her first chapbook, "apples for adam", was published by FootHills Publishing in January 2005. When she is not writing, she is reading, listening to music, watching movies, blogging, communicating with friends, playing tennis or travelling usually several of these at the same time. Website: http://members.chello.at/michaela.a.gabriel Blog: http://moonie71.blogspot.com