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Three Poems by Michael K. Gause


An ocean, cream calm and wide. Tides that breathe with a secret pulse. One by one we held you, Until the waters stirred and sounds found us depth and victim in something unfathomable. Watching now, I see the moonlight has you right, a scented vista fleshed by shadow , dreaming of pure annihilation.


Down Clean

Yes, I did see you last week. No. You die really well. Your timing is perfect. I like it when you describe that brand new boot to the side of your face. Eyes cast down like a Shakespeare sinner, looking for clouds in the lakes made by the rain.  I like the part where your nose suddenly bloodies itself in the isolate earth, the one too hard and fast for stillness or grace or leaves of grass. No, I’ve seen you lots of times. You go down clean. I love when it’s over, and we get up to leave. We walk outside and your real genius reveals itself, shows us how real everything off the stage is. I can’t wait for Part II where you buck the curse, switch the motif, actually throw the punch that knocks you out of the equation and into your own unwritten plot in the future.


Multiple Choice

The secret night opens just before your next step.
It is exactly 12 years from your past and half that from your future.
You must enter or be trapped forever.
To do this you must understand three things.

she feels slighted at the Oscars.
They don’t know shit, she says from the couch,
no makeup and writing her own lines to boot.
Weighted with sagging bags, she practices with
couples in the park. They just smile and stroll on.
She doesn’t hear cut, keeps talking until
the last bench, where she sits to smoke,
stretch her varicose legs until her bit part
in Scene Three.

some people
are completely themselves in public,
as if the open air act of being noticed
enables their own private perfection.
For you, he laughs, it’s a gauntlet.
Just make it through, you think, and shut the door.
Exhale. Allow the closed world
to refill what keeps getting taken against
your will.

perfect blue is cut cross by architecture,
sky close enough to caress.
Some worlds need pressure to form, you say,
something about oysters and pearls and
small incisions that hurt now but help in the end.
Blue oblivion edges the relief.
But then there’s the steady state view,
it seems to say. An old woman
outliving us all every night
practicing her lines
back and forth across the city.

Michael K. Gause trusts only that which can be proven by the quadratic formula. Thankfully, he has found this includes most good poetry. He is not a drug dealer.