Poems, Uncategorized

Four Poems

These poems are excerpted from Gabriel Palacios’s collection A Ten Peso Burial for Which Truth I Sign, published on March 12, 2024 by Fonograf Editions.


I went over my whole entire life
My childhood
I busted out of jail
Through the hymn you dragged yourself across
Stop-motionlike as gathering
The keychains and prescriptions of your purse
From the movie theater rug at the ocean floor
Same despondent pattern on the t-shirt that gets tossed
From the wagon that heads up your parade

I wanna touch
The oldest silver in your grandma’s house
Hear the version you know best

THE SPANISH TRAIL MOTEL/the friar’s daughter’s mother

muriĂł en el Rio de parto. Indigena

Event of no agreed on name: child born bears friar’s child,
a spade clangs dirt, we transmit via kitchenvoice
of aunts

The father Alessandro Branchi, O.F.M.
gives the infant child Carolina name,
softening a torch trussed over
how I know him

My child’s eyeball strobic in the wide-brimmed hatted
death’s head given placard

In museums I am tampered with a little by a galleon’s
crude figurehead by
who was in her maker’s mind
I know the wooden woman’s petty listicle of doomsday fears

The timeline to the left of my etch is an approaching fire

In exterminating
thinking I feel eyeless toward the proof
I trust computer ghosts to translate

A stratagem for getting it together to buy groceries
for dinner as buying’s its own sorcery against
the deafening radioactivity of no stars

Ancestors we treat them bad I’d put the cable in their surnames
if I could

I bark at my own children like the friars
on these documents of death by childbirth

I pace a spinning infomercial kitchen
mic’d in blackness
before them:
these dead
my young

saying what you say

when stripped at customs
of whatever honorifics to your heirloom


Women carried water, sorted together through shells,
the Christmas catalogs held such tender captioning,
they nudged us where to feed

An earlier human presence than thought,
babe, dumb
crossbones of napping limbs

we make, Saturday night,
South Sixth an iced-down drift the synthesized
Art Laboe feeds back into a radio

peering up just born from its tarpit
Through the cracked chainlink privacy
slats across the street from where

our house stood, the distribution
of El Camino body parts
to men of an imagined coarse

pepper musk – the world that doesn’t stop when I die

And I miss them

insomuch as

we were seen by them
Insofar as I no longer
have to live there

I want to report my absence
doesn’t seep from its cask,
that dream islands aren’t chasm,

but it didn’t take anything remarkable—
night, roadside zoo, illumination of a cotton tract,
row by row: a drive

“You deserve,”
wrote Baudelaire to Flaubert,
“to be a member of the holy battalion,”

I thought I’d be comptroller by now
for you or spooning rations for the soldiers
of darkness


You set your silver
pistols on the historama,
on its painted figures
drinking liquor, catching fire
Stark live nerves whipped mindless toward hot breastmilk
on the wave:
aircraft carrier, holographic flag,
with no one on it,
morse staccato gushing from its radio,
you can have it all—
these were the greenlit ideas however clouded with a scabrous dumpster arm,
all the unlit curtains
in the cul-de-sacs to get inside

You know nothing of the road out, the one where you will never face your perils
alone, you can’t see beyond its concrete fortifications,
North Las Vegas isn’t
what it sounds like

You don’t feel like such a Jack of Diamonds
walked right through,
or sung beyond

Gabriel Palacios was born in Tucson, Arizona and earned an MFA from the University of Arizona, where he was the recipient of the Minnie Torrance Award for Poetry, selected by giovanni singleton. He works as a college writing instructor and serves as a contributing editor for Diagram. His work has appeared in The Volta, New Sinews, Annulet: A Journal of Poetics, Denver Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, The Brooklyn Rail, Typo Magazine, and elsewhere.