Keith Gaboury - Poems
I graduated with a M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College in 2013. My poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such literary journals as Barely South Review, Eclectica Magazine, The Birds We Piled Loosely, New Millennium Writings, and Crab Fat Literary Magazine. In 2011, I co-founded a social justice-themed online literary magazine, Words Apart. While spending my days as an early childhood educator, I spend my nights writing poetry in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Tattooed Lady in the Bowery
In the hole of a home, color runs riot
across my needle point body
when Tommy Lee barrels on in
with whiskey on his breath
and a limp dick in his trousers:
an Old Testament man
stands in the splintered doorway,
demanding I unshackle my bra
in his unholy presence.
I claw and kick and squirm
against our bolted window, skin
alive in a heap of naked darkness
where a kitchen knife,
flush to the sky of my eye,
slices through the jelly
— oh god oh god --
to my native daughter sight.
His grip only tightens
across my spine
as I fall to the floor,
screaming for those Bowery blackberries
beneath Aunt Maddy’s stomping feet.
I must amend: the Living Bible
is an Old Testament man in variation.
On his back, Moses raises his staff,
but the Red Sea fails to part.
On his chest, Abraham slays Isaac,
shank in the heart.
The Tattooed Lady in Manhattan’s Belly
Down at Harry Hill’s, a hive of ink-laced bees stung my hand like Miss Saunder’s fist walloping her victim with a right cross. In purple-knee breeches, she moved in to take on the attack . . . oh what a lively mill they all decreed. Yet alas, I turned away, weaving my frame through the crowd’s spit and shouts. A man leaning against the exit sunk his eyes into my garden of lilacs, vines growing into my breasts. I slipped past his denim onto an East Houston shin-high in the muck lit by electric light. The bulbs burned onto the Goddess of Liberty stretched along my ‘Fuck You’ forearm. Locked in our newfangled glow, a strange woman sliced open a stare as I hooked my sight upon a carcass lying in the cobblestone mud. The horse’s flesh rotted through to the heart, a once beating pump now exposed to the flies circling their supper. Yes, believe me now: summer still battled along the Bowery’s incision where death clung to my white bodice on that hot September night.