Kathryn Gahl

Archive for March, 2012|Monthly archive page

Start Smash and End Green

In Post Card on March 30, 2012 at 12:40 pm

the margins to
the meaning

a room full of dots
from me to you

hear a faucet
& drip & drip

when you can
walk sidewalks
without a gun

Green Room
not a place
for the
timid to wait


Bed Bugs

In Healthcare, Kathryn on March 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm

One morning at a writer’s colony, I awaken to bed bug bites. I count the red wheals on my legs, scratch, and then dress. There are no phones here (great for writing) so I cannot call anyone to register my dismay. I head down to the colony office, noting blue sky and green grass and soft summer wind. I am happy to be here, but bed bugs? The secretary at the office feels terrible and explains that the sheets were put on at the end of last season. She apologizes and promises to send in a housekeeper to change the sheets. Then she shrugs, we’re in the mountains. Bed bugs are nothing. Watch out for the moose. I laugh. I relax. I thank her.

When the housekeeper changes the sheets, I thank her, too. Yet that night, I think of the bed bugs. Wistfully. This is odd, ridiculous, and I puzzle over feeling a vague longing. The next morning, after a fine night’s sleep between freshly starched and ironed sheets, I wonder: could this longing be because, at night, no one nibbles? Do I miss the small advances, love in the dark playing past midnight? I think about those bed bugs. By now, they must be through the washing machine and out the hose of soapy water, splashed unto river stones or dog-paddling across a stream. I can almost hear them calling. We meant no harm, they seem to say. We were just playing and got carried away.

I squint into the bright sunlight. I am awake yet I am dreaming. I am dreaming of you with me in the morning, how I tingle, how your aliveness can touch me.

Without them, I’d be lost

In Kathryn, Weighing In on March 16, 2012 at 11:34 am

Who are your friends? Are they smart or whiny? Do they like wine or beer? Or, are they teetotalers? Can they dance? Can they keep the beat? Writing is all about keeping the beat. Screenwriters know that. Mothers know that. Even the last kid in the class knows that. Who are your beat keepers? Hopefully, they are there for you this St. Paddy’s Day, no matter what your nationality. Because in the end, we should celebrate while we are here. That’s called a cakewalk. But then that’s another post.

By Definition: III

In Post Card on March 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm

hangs out
invisible force

washes up
on shore,

kicks fashion
in the
proverbial arse

knows both
of an issue

serves a Bud
make a slug


In Postcard Poem on March 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm


on this foggy morning
my heart is working
its way back to you

my mind along for the ride
fingers of fog all around
when I could use a clap of thunder

a driving rain to clear the air
let us start over
somewhere in this fog

I see holy
what I mean to say
is fearlessness, probably

Photo by Owen

Little Boy

In Postcard Poem on March 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm


will open his eyes
and see through
any guise

Photo by Owen

By Definition: Two

In Postcard Poem on March 8, 2012 at 12:58 am

ice cream cone
takes a licking
keeps on ticking

distills effort
a decimal point

right brain
goes fishing
imaginary pole

wishes to rise
and kiss ass

faces off
with the devil

Photo by Owen

By Definition: One

In Postcard Poem on March 6, 2012 at 5:50 pm

take a point-of-view
change it

makes a man
than he already is

sees the world
nit-picking ease

can do a
without cracking

can be found in aisle nine
at Walmart
unless they moved it

Photo by Owen

Crossing The Line, Chicago-Style

In Kathryn, Weighing In on March 5, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Leap Day of Leap Year. I am on the Hiawatha, headed to Chicago. I am beginning to anticipate an adventure. A conference. Over ten thousand writers coming to shake hands, shake heads, shake whatever needs shaking. I am ready for unexpected undertakings, scenes, ventures. Or, so I think.

Mr. Adventure meets me the moment I step out of Union Station. Let’s call him Mr. TallandDark because he is tall and dark. We could call him Mr. Springy too because he walks with a spring in his step. But TallandDark sounds more mysterious. Besides, the wind is brisk, his smile balmy, and I feel so lucky to meet this helpful man. He bows slightly and asks if I need a cab.

I am so in the spirit I say yes, yes, I need a cab for the cab will get me to the Palmer House that will get me to the AWP that will get me to dazzling panels and brainy readers and literary rock and roll. Mr. Tall&Dark whisks my luggage from me and I am thinking, wow, talk about curb service. We fairly float to the waiting cab and he lifts the trunk lid, puts my luggage in securely. Then, he turns, his lyrical voice changes.

Please, he says, extending his hand. Can you give me some money? I am neither jet-lagged nor sleepy but I cannot comprehend this. I have never paid a cab driver before getting into a cab. His gaze hypnotizes me. He stands firm, though his shoulders have dropped. I pull my wallet out of my purse, magnetized by the moment.Yes, he says, sounding apologetic. I am homeless. I need money to feed my family. I open my wallet and a collision of thoughts bombard me: how does a homeless person drive a cab? I am being scammed. Oh no, he’s going to grab my wallet and run. I am really really dumb.

At that point, the cab starts to drive off with my luggage in it! I am stunned. My head jerks between the moving cab and Tall&Dark&YesNowHomeless. Suddenly, Homeless slaps the trunk with gusto and yells, Hey! You! Wait! He rushes to open the car door and I jump in, the bills in my wallet still fan-folded open. I am about to give him perhaps a five, or a ten as my cognitive dissonance joins the cacaphony of the city.

Don’t you give him any money, the man behind the wheel says, breaking my trance. This is the first time I realize there was actually a man behind the wheel, for in the brisk wind my eyes are watering, the cab windows slightly tinted, and my neurons overloaded. I stare at the cab driver through the cage that separates us. They do this all the time, he says, irritated. Usually, the cops are here and they get them.

I tuck my bills back in my wallet and turn to Tall&Dark&Homeless. I hand him a dollar, my heart snapped out of one world, my head whacked into another. He smiles, but it is a close-lipped smile: a practiced snickering, sniggering sneer.

The cab accelerates. I look back and watch him join two other guys standing next to a yellow ribbon cautioning, Do Not Cross This Line. The three of them back-slap one another like seasoned street performers.

I grin. I got to see their show for a measly buck.