Poetry Blog by Robert C Gaulke

Flatiron District

Flatiron District



we run against ourselves 


against our natures 

we face the velocities of others


in our interrupting 

in our getting it wrong 


we learn too late about

the easy way to go


sober we run out

screaming of our homes


into the city where girls

once jumped out of flaming windows


one hundred years ago

or las...

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I Take Things Too Far




















Taken out

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the audience would like to thank the performer
for doing all the heavy-lifting in her corner

we offer these tokens as an acknowledgement
of the price the performer’s manic obsessions have cost her

As we return to our warm lives and cold children
the audience hopes these said tokens

will allow the performer to travel
deeper into her subjectivities

enabling the aud...

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I swallow your bullshit

because I love you


all your pathetic attempts

at money or art


all your petty recriminations

I second with enthusiasm


I’ve even skewered a few

of my friends for you


I dip your lies in chocolate

when we’re together


pressing into each other

with our own form of vigilantism 


we take all that badness

use i...

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The Exile


All at once the mask falls off

He's shaking everyone in the room


You can't be serious 

Your ideas are ridiculous


You have no idea 

What you do


Taking the wrong bus 

Getting off at the wrong stop


The technology 

Doesn't work


Then she comes home

And the meal is cooked


A sense of calm



They continue 

The dialo...

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The Quality of Our Solitude


after you scrape the ads

swipe off the phone

dial down the sugar,

fat, and tobacco 


stop worrying about bills

department manager

to-do list and

tiny revenge scenarios


how's it going in there

how's the quality of your solitude


forgetting the music

voice to exercise

pornographic Gifs

translations unrealized


what frequencies do you he...

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In difference


I could love you 

for what I’m not 

I don’t pretend to know 

what that is 


but I’ve rubbed my face

in its consequences 

and I’m crazy 

for its smell 


I’ve traced the 

cake trail back 

to a very

arrogant kid 



lost at a point 

where extra hands

could have tied up threads


It’s gotten a bit late

the ingenues have...

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Dividing The Bed


I think we should remain

One nation apart

If we get any closer

Our images dissolve


We can't remain behind 

Photos, poses, and stances 

That explode upon meanings

Revealed in romance 


You can have Germany

I'll take Russia

We can meet in Italy

Make lunch in Yugoslavia 


We shouldn't always remain 

One nation apart

Translation gets heavy


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Heart of the Empire

Heart of the Empire


Under concrete and glass

Trucks whizzing past

In a booth at the bar

She sits at the heart of the empire


Picking at her salad

Reading Perec 

Keeping phones vibrating 

She can't take your call


Tracing plans against the window

Forecast is for chaos, clearing later

Tv ads for the medication

Used by the dudes at the bar 



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Problems Curated


everything's been curated

everyone demands


that you enter the space 

on their terms 


I'm open to negotiation

before the dialogue begins


but don't feel I can be 

a character in your film


the salary is problematic

and there's 


a lot of work to do 

on the script


I'm problematic

I can admit to that


maybe we can

do som...

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scratched on the walls 

of this insomnia


are faithful transcriptions

of every failed romantic conversation I’ve had


its cumulative effects 

are breath-taking 


the stalactites attract 

emotional tourists from the world over


there will be always be 

another tragic accident


bookish type wonders

too close to the edge 



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in this city you're always meeting

people working in content 


serving deeply stupid morbidly 

obese racist viewers programs


these people are charming

go to their parties 


meeting their vacations, 

wives, children 


eating while talking

about side projects


and what they want 

to be doing, ideally


how their ideas are making


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Teeth like cities 

Teeth with buildings

Buildings with an apartment

You'll be renting


Teeth flossed

Brushed and sharpened 

Into my neck

Like a graveyard


Teeth with tongues

Slithering over them

Teeth with seductive words

Breathing through them


Vampires disguised as

Doctors and dentists

If we only knew

How we’d be examined 

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Your Hair

entry picture


Your Hair

is it long in front like a seventies teenager

tied in a bun like a crabby teacher's

done in waves gold in the sun

spread in the sand on the lap of someone                                            

between your fingers twirled mindlessly

brushed in anger when you think of me

cut short talking to your mother

sticking straight up, a barometer of pleasure



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automatic tellers 

opioid addiction


sushi proliferation 

species annihilation 


data-driven instruction 

driverless delivery


social media

invasions of privacy


organic hypermarkets

global starvation 


latest science

current president


I create 

space for myself


few microns 

round my head 


enough for 


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The Other Guy

The other guy

I always thought I was the other guy
It took some weight off when I tightened the tie

vanity never knows limits
the technology gave up in a pool of spit and sweat

he looks like me 

but with hairier lips

if I had a jeep instead of a bicycle
I too’d want a thing like that to go with it

never understood your cat now I know why 

he was being fed lot of crap 


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Let's Pass Over It Again



crumpled on the floor



she paces with the mug


dog logic 

watching over 



of another decade 



trumpet valves signal 



with moods to produce


many beautiful songs

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States matter

States matter


Reach out and I'll be there

Texting on my phone 

Head full of ambitions

Fears I barely share


We pass through one another

Always in phases

Although we look solid

We're dense with gas


If I could bond with you

Even for a short time 

Something greater 

Could happen


Something we can't 

Fully appreciate 

In our current 


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Drunk in the Museum

Drunk in the museum


the floor moves us

hors d'oeuvres; snails

18th century chandeliers 

hang from nails


all this jewelry on 

mummified bodies

a spirit drinks us in

where appetites fail


at a social function 

strutting like a lemon chicken 

lost in reverberations

drunk in the museum


history means nothing

without a kiss

missing hints ab...

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shots break the calm 

pierce your thoughts

what you think about 

don’t matter what 


you could pretend 

nothing’s connected

then again 

you could be dead


hear the kids

think about children 

what happens next

no one says 


listening to students 

rapping through phones 

safe in your classroom 

lockdowns as jokes


shots ar...

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When the logic breaks

When the logic breaks

put your logic away
it’ll break 
use their logic instead 
they feel comfortable like that

can’t get anything to work
head is starting to hurt
go back to what you meant
everything is burnt

put your logic away 
become fluent in theirs 
to the point where you can translate
exactly what they said

lot of extra work 
many migraines 
few minutes to yourself on...

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Buried Things

Buried Things

We forgot the plan
But still followed it

We didn’t recognize 
That particular stress

To a man we thought about
The opposite 

And how what we were told to do
Rarely made sense

Before we could give up
Before we could let go

It came back to us
Light through a broken window

And we found
The strength to continue

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Selective Compassion


Without selective compassion

We’d go mad in the streets

Outside of bubbles

Things get deadly


Well-designed products

Reassuring labelling

Consumed without drama

H&M, IKEA, Aldi’s


But the Guardian’s front page

The NPR story

The man on the corner

Doubts go on hiding


I see you tomorrow

I hold you closely

While that figure in the window


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Blue Sun

Blue Sun

We come in like the rain
Splashing over stones
On our holiday
Dreaming far from home

Wanting to taste something
We can’t have everyday
Wanting to feel something
To carry us away

Itinerant explorers
Homeless shoppers
Cheeses with holes
Heads full of images

Tiny dreams 
Flutter then escape
Under a blue sun
Between drops of rain

You remind me of so many people

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English teachers on vacation
imagine the furthest point from the classroom 

dream of inspiring indifferent students 
with exploits they won’t give many fucks about

ordering coffee with indistinct accents pretending they’re not American

yet insisting on knowing 
exactly where the cheese is from 

tipping generously 
to offset the perception 

that they’ve had too big a hand 

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All the news


Crowds of student protesters 
Were met with trucks of flowers

The president declared
A national sandwich discount

Your doctor recommends 
Several weekends a day

Side effects include
An exhibit at the Tate Gallery

The rebels announced
Their allegiance to open space

The stock market soared
When all shares were given away

The weatherman cried 
At the sight of spring


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you're very inappropriate
in these situations

causing me so much embarrassment 
think about the children

do you want them thinking
the world is a ridiculous place

overrun by pink monkeys 
destroying everything

do you want them feeling 
there's some escape

from a state curriculum 
we're completely dependent on

mr. gaulke, please
act like a professional

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what just happened to us

what did we come through

how deep did it cut us

do we still need hospitals


clean sheets 

and caring eyes

machines and tubes

to keep us alive


out here it’s different

why, I’m not exactly sure

so much is there to hurt us

most of it is beautiful


to get ours 

to take mine

to drag it home

for it to thri...

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come go nowhere with me


you caught what you saw in me
gave it space to mate and eat 

now it’s running around 
with its own sense of entitlement 

maybe we can 
never be free of it

It’s going nowhere baby
taking us along

come go nowhere baby
something will happen

I buy everything I don’t need
surround myself with things

time spirals in carpets
surrounding us in cinder blocks

but I’m going n...

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The Codes

The Codes

While that bacon egg and cheese
Works on your stomach
And the empty savings account
Haunts your future

You start your day in earnest
By reciting the launch codes
Telling off your boss colleagues
And customers to their faces

Hopefully that day will never come
But it’s part of the vital defense
Of our nation to keep those words
At the ready on your tongue

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Bring the drugs

I’ll get the beer

Come over

I’ll be here 


I want to feel up my solitude with you 


We can go out

We can eat something

Talk about people 

Who don’t mean anything


I want to feel up my solitude with you 


There’s nothing tricky about it 

You don’t have to move around 

Be in the know or even 

Have something to t...

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Loss Department

Loss Department

She lost her passion
And the world’s upset

Her passion 
She can’t buy it back 

Imagine living like
A ghost on a set

The magic happens
All somewhere else

We remind her there’s 
Work to be done

Her anger burns
Holes in a wall 

There’s a danger
She might hurt someone

I work her double shift
At the sex museum

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Shut up

We're making money


Everyone's dead

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I just came back from

I just met myself
I wish I could say 

It was pleasant;
It wasn’t

I could admit
Some respect 

For his work, his persistence
But I wouldn’t call him brilliant

And I didn’t like
Being judged

By someone so

I couldn’t help think
How fucking pretentious

We went for a beer
Then I ran into him at another function

We exchanged pleasantries
Kept our distance

It goes without saying

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baby I need you so much

I’d do anything for you

I think of you night and day

spending all my love on you


because I can’t think of anything else

with lines from a pop song

we don’t talk about the world

just our own emotions


so let’s burn down banks with love

kill administrations with our touch

takeover workspaces with thoughts

torture ...

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Over my shoulder


They took hammers 

To clock towers

Stuffed wet towels 

Under doors


Kept TVs on 

24 hours

And all car 

Doors locked 


Used a lot 

of exclamation marks

Felt a strong feeling 

of purpose


Tracing the outlines 

of the struggle

In this they wouldn’t 

feel useless 


Against the future 

Against the future 


In disbelief 


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Your Hair

link to song



Your Hair


is it long in front like a seventies teenager

tied in a bun like a crabby teacher's

done in waves gold in the sun

spread in the sand on the lap of someone                                            

between your fingers twirled mindlessly

brushed in anger when you think of me

cut short talking to your mother

sticking straight up, a b...

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Cautionary Heads


when we lost our sight

we knew we’d be alright


when they cut off our arms

we were not without our charms


when they lined us up 

knew they had had enough


blood from our wounds

would make the sea bloom


how hard it is 

not to be human


how seductive the money 

and memory kicks


to erase the laughter

and what comes after



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That weird year


as we tried to put it behind us

It reached out to remind us


our grip on reality was tenuously held

just then its tentacles appeared


we washed it out with bourbon 

bleached stains of its semen 


framed it in our memory behind thick glass 

as it disappeared we couldn’t look back


that weird year what was it about

we can almost start breathing out


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Role Again

Role again


Hey you you gotta survive

Like a piece of gum

On a steamroller

Coming for our lives


Here comes your 

Role again 

As the world’s 

Nicest policeman


Here comes your

Role again

Did you get my order

Hold up those onions


Shot by both sides

Somehow crawling 

Through the insides

Of your own thing


Imitation is flattery


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Summer of Thinking Too Much

entry picture



Summer of Thinking Too Much


Summer didn't end                            

It just kept on melting 

We swam in pools of sweat

Licked off sugar coatings


We eventually went in

There was air conditioning

But didn't dry ourselves

We were just too thirsty                           


In the summer of thinking too much    

I just wanted to ...

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Pretty Man


women warned

cats scorned


knew when you 

were born


what they were 

in for


distractions felt

below the belt 


In the battle of sexes

you're a nightingale 


problems you’ll never know

outcomes taken on


punches felt

wrapped in a tablecloth


feelings can’t be reasoned on

when people stare back


whispering when 


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Institutional Memory


I run up against edges
of your tight reality


fluorescent lights
wall-to-wall carpet and concrete


I hold it, bend it
rewrite it try to forget it


I don't trust my
memories of it


yet here I am again
In front of it


I start talking back

to the elevator

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Thoughts in the uber


If I left the pan on the burner
People will stay at the emergency shelter

I’d call Ralph Nader
To testify about the burner’s lack of
Safety features

I might get off with SSD
Quit my job with the DOE
Start over as a guitar pick collector

If I left the pan on the burner
I’d have to accept my nature

How I’ve lived without learning
Earned nothing while burning

A hole through...

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Negotiating Curves


some of us are confident

start to accelerate


others slow down 

cautiously pumping brakes


one or two stop 

pull over for some head 


all feel anxiety 

mixed with excitement 


negotiating curves

everything works 


why does mature 

mean mean and serious


each of us take it 

some with a touch of grace


it comes with your name


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Childhood in the Woods


golden hours stretched 

over cottontails 


senses engaged 

without words to say 


feelings make marks

in dirt with rubber boots


play never leaves us 

we leave this place


you decide at once 

you’re an adult


you forget these 

pleasures and pains


sadness and longings

of childhood 


replaced with distaste

for children of...

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Am Wasser gebaut



It’s colder by the water

Everything we are

Implores us to move closer

Despite fears and loss


I try collecting moisture

Had half a jar

Spilt on your carpet

I wake up thirsty now


I’m sixty-five percent water 

Thirty-percent tears

Twenty-percent piss

The rest, blood and beer


Built close to the water

I have no fears

Of drowning in drea...

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Emanuelle Can’t


to escape this loneliness 

there’s only one means 


through the origin of the world 

said to be obscene 


still figuring it out 

shooting the dark 


every beat of the drum 

strum of the heart


Emmanuelle can’t 

How could I 


reconcile passion and reason

with your lifestyle 


Emmanuelle can’t

neither can I 


say goodbye 


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Pink Money


I'm an artist

You're an 



We're the same

You with your money

Me with my paint


We make things happen

You with your factories

Me with my openings


I like the dinners 

At your house

My kids like to eat


I'll give you validation 

You could

Buy something 


I'll put you 

In my work

You could imagine you're me


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I like it rare
not too done
uncommonly put on


would you dare
leave things out
make something
by your own hands, untouched


are the only things
that interest


in situations designed

to drive us mad
I'd play the eccentric
that's what you'd want


you'd play the skeptic
your heart
too close to my chest


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Recent Comments

racha chafik on Flatiron District (7 hours ago)

Don Matthews on I Take Things Too Far (1 day ago)

Martin Elder on Acknowledgements (1 day ago)

Pat Hughes on taurocacophagy (2 days ago)

racha chafik on taurocacophagy (2 days ago)

racha chafik on The Exile (3 days ago)

Hannah Collins on The Quality of Our Solitude (4 days ago)

Robert C Gaulke on Dividing The Bed (5 days ago)

Martin Elder on Dividing The Bed (6 days ago)

keith jeffries on Content (10 days ago)

Brian Maryon on Blue Sun (Tue, 3 Apr 2018 06:50 pm)

Hazel ettridge on All the news (Thu, 29 Mar 2018 09:14 am)

Anya on come go nowhere with me (Sun, 18 Mar 2018 08:29 am)

Cynthia Buell Thomas on The Codes (Fri, 16 Mar 2018 11:41 am)

Douglas MacGowan on Emanuelle Can’t (Thu, 11 Jan 2018 10:31 pm)


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