Elisa Gabbert

photo by Matt Walker

from The Self Unstable

Wanting someone to go fuck themselves isn’t the same as wanting to tell them to. The ignominy of living near a major landmark. If this were neo-benshi, I’d say something wise and make everyone laugh. I’d be on the outside. From in here, the music’s incongruous, the food smells overwhelming.

Swatch is now a luxury brand. Why this final loss of innocence? Everything was big in the ‘80s. A watch you could hang on your wall. Visible beads at the end of each eyelash. The “so what” school of criticism.

When the novelty of the new wears off, it feels chintzy. The way I feel about strangers is unconditional. They never seem strange. “Strange” has lost its original meaning; it now means “vague.” Everyone I’ve ever loved has failed me, by letting me.

According to quantum theory, there’s a real possibility you could fall through the floor. In some worlds, you do. Statistically, most worlds are boring. Most worlds could be improved with radical editing. If you like karaoke, you’ll love neo-benshi.

Elisa Gabbert is the poetry editor of Absent and the author of The French Exit (Birdsc LLC) and Thanks for Sending the Engine (Kitchen Press). Recent poems can be found in Denver Quarterly, The Laurel Review, Puerto del Sol, The Rumpus, Salt Hill, Sink Review and Sentence. She currently lives in Boston, works at a software startup, and blogs at The French Exit.

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