Michaela Gabriel


I had never actually written a prose poem until late last year, when friends of mine were posting some at a poetry forum. I like to try out new forms, so I wrote a fun response to a friend's wacky prose poem, and enjoyed it so much, I tried another one. I had begun work on my elements series (a poem per element of the periodic table), and had an idea for a "series within the series": these poems all begin "The day I fell in love with …", they are a bit like letters, or perhaps even confessions, and I found that the form lends itself to those poems perfectly. What appeals to me, is the challenge that I have to do without certain poetic devices, e.g. line/stanza breaks, and have to rely on other means to create rhythm; and the fact that this form straddles two genres, and is more than just the sum of poetry + prose.



Caesium (Cs)
          The day I fell in love with an atomic clock


seconds defined themselves as the gap between a heartbeat and its echo. Between the hairs on a finger and their shadows. The sudden taste of salt on my tongue shocked my lover. I knew by the bright blue lines behind his back. Straight as pendulums. Denying reds and greens their place on centre stage. A signal scintillated. Attacked a window. Shattered at my feet. I took a picture of its ghost. Silvery gold. Tendrils trying to cling to life. Half-life. Like a candle sputtering. A tongue of flame licking the spaces between raindrops. At 28.5 degrees, paint began to melt. Slipped down the walls like a badly fitted aura. Like smooth lies. Everything I did reacted with silence, according to the rules of chemistry. Raised eyebrows. A wink. The twitching corner of a mouth.



Silicon (Si)
         The day I fell in love with a semiconductor


half an orchestra played a melody so crystalline it broke violin strings. The brass section choked on its implications: witchcraft, pottery, brick. Two cellos lasted until one hand released shapeless sounds. Sand trickled from my glassblower's mouth, spelled out amorphous on fourteen windows to an alien world. Outside, everyone inhaled my dust, lungs grew iridescent. Like opals. Springtime. Reciprocated love. Metals contemplated no. Insulators quietly shifted towards yes. Everything turned a shade of perhaps: the sun, the beaten soil, the mouth that had refused me kisses.




Michaela_Gabriel.jpgMichaela A. Gabriel lives in Vienna, Austria, where she helps adults acquire computer and English skills, and gets together with the muse as often as possible. She has recently had work published in or accepted by Redactions, Envoi, eclectica, and Pebble Lake Review. Her second chapbook, "the secret meanings of greek letters", was published by dancing girl press in October 2007. A manuscript co-written with Alex Stolis, "small confessions & pebbles of regret", has been accepted for publication by Rubicon Press. When she is not writing, Michaela is reading, listening to music, taking photos, watching movies, blogging, communicating with friends, playing tennis or travelling – usually several of these at the same time.