Wild Goose Poetry Review

Contemporary Poetry, Reviews, and Commentary

Barbara Gabriel, Message to a Waitress’s Daughter

with 31 comments

Barbara Gabriel
MESSAGE TO A WAITRESS’S DAUGHTER

It’s the way your leather-belted, straight from the hip body
skitters down the row of counter stools, past
boys’ hands hovering and old men longing
separated from other girls by skin and perception

that urges my lips, puckered at the point
of your mouth, to slide breathless up that unruffled
cheek to find your ear and cry
Run.

Overthrow those boys by zipless coup.
Shed the girls who hang from your hunter’s belt
like trophies. Dodge the traplines
old ones set into this land and nail their songs to the wall.

You are the shape-shifter
a myth buster, the break-my-heart-in-a-million-ways
grifter. Bring a flamethrower to the last supper
you eat at this diner.

Then just when the sky blackens beyond stars
turn your pockets inside out and shake the dust free. Don’t pause
to pack even one stone. Drop that compass
in the deepest well along the way.

You are my moon landing
my code-breaker, the Universe-is-expanding
oh Mama, can I ride a Star-raker.

A put ‘em in a vise and squeeze
till they ache-er, so Go

write poetry instead of letters home.
Master the traveler’s arts
and feed your own fire. Make love
from strong opinion.

Cast your precise shadow in this gloom
and tell time to pass on by- you will not carry it.

Author’s Comment: “Message to a Waitress’s Daughter” came out of the continuing conversation I have with myself about women’s lives and the choices made that get them to where they are. I find that as I get older, many of my heroes are women younger than I. None of them have asked for my advice. “Message…” is about recognizing a sister-traveler along the women’s road and urging her to journey on in pursuit of herself.

Bio: Barbara Gabriel is a poet, writer and salvage artist who has been gathering writing material for fifty years while impersonating a chef, cruise director, ice cream scooper, sailor, child advocate, landscaper, package designer, dive master, log cabin builder, and a really bad waitress. She grew up in Minnesota along Highway 61 and then ran away to sea to travel, live and eat her way through the Americas, Turkey, North Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. She has been published in the online journal of topical poetry “Poetry24”, in the “American Society: What Poets See” anthology (FutureCycle Press) and in Wild Goose Poetry Review. She currently calls Portland, Oregon home.

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Written by wildgoosepoetryreview

August 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

31 Responses

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  1. Such fresh language in this strong poem. Congrats Barbara!

    Karen Holmes

    August 15, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    • Thanks, Karen! High praise for me considering that each time I hear or read one of your poems, I think “Damn, I wish I’d written that!”

      Barbara Gabriel

      August 15, 2013 at 6:29 pm

  2. Barbara, your poems keep getting better and better. Your own voice is emerging very nicely. Well done.

    Robert S. King

    August 15, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    • Just beautiful Barbara. Your words flow from the page and grace the heart. Congrats!

      stacilynnbell

      August 15, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      • Thank you, Staci. I am proud to see you here as well!

        Barbara Gabriel

        August 15, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    • I so appreciate that, coming from you, Robert. You make a great North star!

      Barbara Gabriel

      August 15, 2013 at 6:30 pm

  3. What a powerful poem for women. I understand so well that need to pass on to younger women what we have learned and hope to make a difference. I am so happy Scott published this poem here. I love it.

    Glenda Beall

    August 15, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    • Perfect, Glenda. And that’s what you do as well: pass on wisdom to younger women (and not-such-younger-women!) Thank you for your support!

      Barbara Gabriel

      August 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm

  4. Barbara, this poem, from the first to the end, moves with the head-long belief-in-self of a dangerous storm. You are using language as it should be used. Congratulations!

    Maren O. Mitchell

    August 16, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    • Thanks for reading, Maren. This one came out, at least originally, in a head-long rush of language.

      Barbara Gabriel

      August 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm

  5. This poem is chocked full of good advice. It could change the world if everyone followed it. I also really like the pictures these words paint.

    Larry Schug

    August 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    • Wow, thanks!

      Barbara Gabriel

      August 17, 2013 at 5:27 pm

  6. Rebellious, moving, optimistic – “write poetry instead of letters home” – a wonderful phrase. Thank you for sharing your poetry!

    Kelly DeMaegd

    August 17, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    • Thanks, Kelly. I’m really enjoying this group of poets and their poems as well.

      Barbara Gabriel

      August 17, 2013 at 5:27 pm

  7. Ziiiiiinnnggg–this really packs a punch, Barb! Scorched earth!

    Nancy Gabriel

    August 22, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    • I promise no one got burned, Nancy! Just lifted up and out… Thanks for reading!

      Barbara Gabriel

      August 24, 2013 at 4:11 pm

  8. Beautifully written, Barb. I like the message to get out there and live life, take the chances. You live your own philosophy.

    Kristin Kissell

    August 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    • Kristi, I feel this could have been dedicated to AAK.

      Barbara Gabriel

      August 24, 2013 at 4:12 pm

  9. So many great lines here. No wasted words at all. My favorite:
    “Master the traveler’s arts
    and feed your own fire.”

    I can really see this scene and the girl hovering on the knife edge of possibility.

    Daniel Gabriel

    August 23, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    • From a master traveler & writer–I so appreciate this, Dan.

      Barbara Gabriel

      August 24, 2013 at 4:13 pm

  10. I really like this poem, Barb! “Tell time to pass on by – you will not carry it.” I love that line. The images you evoke are really powerful.

    Dee Cole Vodicka

    August 23, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    • Thanks so much, Dee! I appreciate your thoughts.

      Barbara Gabriel

      August 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      • I’ve reread this several times over the past couple days. Now I hear it seamlessly and smoothly. You’ve created a great vision and a thunderbolt of a message, Kudos Barb!!

        Daniel Gabriel

        August 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm

  11. I too have re-read this poem over several days. Hard to improve on the comments above. Vivid, cutting language, like a concentrated dose of Joyce Carol Oates. Keep up the great work!

    Dana Cole

    August 29, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    • Wow! Thanks, Dana. For stopping by, for reading and re-reading and for your thoughtful comments. Very much appreciated.

      Barbara Gabriel

      August 29, 2013 at 11:29 pm

  12. Well Barb, I can certainly echo many of the comments above, but I am especially fond of the stanza that ends with:

    “Bring a flamethrower to the last supper
    you eat at this diner.”

    The speed which with the words shoot out – “the break-my-heart-in-a-million-ways
    grifter.” – just captures the heat and fury of this loving poem.

    Tim Cole

    August 30, 2013 at 6:42 am

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Tim! This poem’s language zipped from my pen as fast as it reads, so I felt fortunate at the time to have a pen and paper nearby. (Okay, I always have a pen & paper nearby.) And thank you for understanding that, through the fury, this is, in essence a loving poem.

      Barbara Gabriel

      August 30, 2013 at 5:50 pm

  13. Wonderful! My favorite line ” Don’t stop to pack even one stone.”

    Phebe Davidson

    August 30, 2013 at 10:50 am

    • Thank you, Phebe. That line came in the rewrite (or the re-re-rewrite) and it wasn’t until the word I’d initially chosen became ‘stone’ that I knew it was finished.

      Barbara Gabriel

      August 30, 2013 at 5:52 pm

  14. One-two punches, one after the other. What grit! Beautiful and fresh, as well. Your wanderlust surely is bearing fruit. Hard not to be jealous of this kind of talent!

    Joan L. Cannon

    September 2, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    • Joan, you are so kind. Thank you for reading and your thoughts.

      Barbara Gabriel

      September 15, 2013 at 2:06 am


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