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Emma Gazley
January 2024

Emma Gazley performed her first poetry as a teen, but she was on mic singing as a child and wrote her first songs before she could spell her own last name. Featured in online magazines like “Voca Femina” since 2007, she debuted as a visual artist in 2015 with the art show “Abide”, has appeared in various film projects, and completed her first mural collaboration in 2021. Currently based in LA, she has recently published her first book, “For Those Who Cannot Live or Die” with GoldScriptCo, as well as releasing the poetry and performance film project “GOOD//EVIL”. You can normally find her meticulously examining the ingredients on every package in the health food section, writing and reading, at an art museum, or working out with her tattoo artist husband. 



Everyone defined the opposites but only their toes

dipped into the fog, a void laughing whole-heartedly,

dawning-- what it couldn’t afford to lose

was my gaze. Dig a hole and get married in it.

Dig a hole and give it to your parents. 

Dig a hole, conceive, dig a hole for buried children.


Sell your thoughts for anything but legal tender.

Sell your hopes for anything but the glorious mystery.


Dig a bed for the thoughts, a hole for the hopes.

It’s so close to something called ‘peace’ you haven’t remembered.

The ground is so hard to dig.


Pass the need on, genetically and in regards to nurture.

Communicate the needs, the opposites.

Every cell of you is hungry and has dulled its own ache.

Dig a hole for the stomach, for the aches,

for the muscles, the nerves.


It’s too shallow to bury, but dig anyway.

Dig until the rocks and stones and dirt curse.


To the Loved Ones of the Dead and Dying


You forget the familiarity if it,

the loose grip, the snow globe it keeps you in.

Sometimes you feel you have escaped,

but then a name is spoken,

a picture found,

a favorite dessert ordered...


You laugh loudly sometimes, holding your side

to keep everything from spilling open

you feel it is almost over

you glimpse hope and your eyes make contact.

Or you begin to feel that

the roundness of it is fading

it is not so gaping anymore,

not so depleted,

for a time you are filled.


But grief is like being riddled

with twenty rounds in the stomach

you're a sieve

  you filter everything through it

      you only capture the things too big to ignore.


And it's so easy and cheap to buy band-aids these days

so you plug up the bleeding holes

(the gasping arteries)

with a bandage the length of your little finger

and pray to the God of fast food and eBay

that things will get better.

(they must)


Then eventually it begins to sit down

at the end of the dinner table

  make itself welcome.

It demands attention

like a selfish child, a disobedient dog

and you allow it,

because it is yours.

It has nowhere else to go.

Sometimes it is all that is left.


It hides in tiny corners or

odd spaces at times

and jumps out to eat you alive

and like a light going out you're consumed.

Sometimes there is no other way.


Eventually you may learn to carry it,

cumbersomely, and with one hand

tied behind your back.

You may even let it walk around

or hold it by the hand

as you cross streets

and the weight lessens

as it makes friends with time.


But still when you think it is gone

it will enter the room

staring at you crookedly

behind an oozing face and countless eyes

10 foot tall, monstrous

and you'll realize you can't kill it or

cover it up.

It will make a home with you

and come to stay.

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