Poems by Gavin Poplawski

Art by Patrick Driscoll


You asked me to write about something beautiful, so I tried, but no words could come to mind. I could not find any beauty to describe that prior poets before I had not already identified. In fact, every time, I found that every rhyme had been utilized, and that every line had shared its time under readers’ light. When this I recognized, I could not help but to drown my thoughts with vodka sipped from coffee mugs. I was sick of love, and tired of searching for what you called ‘beauty,’ when all I could see was the skull behind your face. So, I got drunk, and that skull melted away, along with half of the damn room. Gone were the cracks in the wall, the mess in the corner, the piles of work that would never end. That was when I noticed how wide your smile was in that photo, barely contained by the picture frame. I fear that without the alcohol in my veins, your smile would have continued to have gone unnoticed, as the rest of the room had consumed my life. Only now, I could not shake my eyes, as maybe there was still beauty that has yet to be immortalized.

That morning, I tore up the photo and burned each strip. Sometimes, beauty is trivialized, but this time, there is beauty that is only mine.


Underneath a Great and Heavy Weight, I Found My Shell

On the empty shores of a quiet sea,

I found my shell underneath a dark rock

with a great, heavy weight, which surprised me,

as the rock went deeper than I had thought.

Forgotten by sands of time, passing by

as passerbies postured why beauty hides,

my shell survived, sacrificing insides

to dedicate life to holding up dark skies.

I laid aside the great, black rock gently

onto the white sand, where its weight was lost

along with its evil identity

to the hidden shell trapped by darkened plots.

A series of cracks the great weight had taxed,

discolored gaps, patches where time had lapsed,

and a lonely scrap of sadness lay trapped

inside my shell, all omens of collapse.


I fell to my knees, and cried to the world that passed us by,

‘You think that my shell hides?

My shell is just trying to survive!’


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