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Black Moonstone Letters + A Kid with a Backpack

Poetry, Jack H. Gehlhoff

Black Moonstone Letters

they dont make dead ends like they do back east. our song was a song of dead ends. Our song

was no more than a note. afloat in the breeze. that note was no louder than a pin, no denser than

air. the air itself was nothing to note. though, i know a beautiful place where I pull songs from

running streams as if fish i wish you could see it again though I dont go often enough. spending

your life chasing placement in that place will lead you nowhere fast. nowhere good. there’s an

intruder at the pyramids. and there are voices. singing in three indistinct parts. I can either finish

this poem or go to bed. i feel like I’ve gone crazy. i haven’t forgotten a thing.

Can you hear? Can you hear me? Could you hear? Could you here? Did you hear? Are you near?

Were you near? Who’s to say such things are unclear? Who gets to define who’s here? Who

hears? Are all my questions just lists? Are all my lists just questions? Did you ever consider me a

friend? Can you say something? Did I ever say any word s










A Kid with a Backpack

There are rules to my format, little brother. I still want to speak to you. Neither of us are different, though I’ve worn more faces than you can conceive of. You’re too wired, go to bed. I cannot let this poem run as long as it has already. These days are too busy, little brother. I’m in the profound psychic company of your mother who is equally Venus & Adonis, but is a prophetic biblical woman (Old Testament, apocryphal), whose poetry I’ve admired since I was you and this great city was nothing but an animal. The great below drains to waterways, though you knew that sooner than I did. You’re lost somewhere near Hertel, after leaving West Delavan. Let yourself be. You, yourself, void self, let me be.

Ah forgive me, little brother! This is my final attempt at a rap song. To indulge the ego is to reacquaint with you. It’s 12:12, and we’re 23 miles from Batavia. We should go back. You don’t want to stop, you want to drive straight west to Mississauga, Ontario. By daybreak we’ll make it. By we make it it’ll be daylight. Gas only seems to run out at night. Forgive me little brother, I’ll be turning around now. There are so many roads left to show you.

The lights are good tonight; the sights better. I drive and aloud ask: aren’t you proud tonight, little bother? I succeeded in publishing your last poem today. It was written in a language that you knew but never faced. We’ll meet again, I’m sure, for no-one ever dies. We’ll meet again, I with my incense and myrrh, bad habits, ambition, tall boots and your favorite pocket knife, you in the manger of our arms; the hope of my whole world in you. Three of us. We will continue, continue further than you imagined. By then you’ll speak with this grand arrogance; the arrogance to see the graffitied form of a kid with a backpack on an overpass near Black Rock at 11:30 PM and claim that he is yourself in a past life.


Jack H. Gehlhoff is a writer, visual artist, and musician from Millbrook, New York. He is currently

pursuing a combined degree in English and secondary education at the University at Buffalo, while working on his debut poetry collection and several other projects. He has also released two albums of original music. Jack previously spent a number of years as a bass player in numerous bands, including local metalcore favorites St. Maria. His work has previously been published by Same Faces Collective and the University at Buffalo’s NAME Magazine. He lives in Buffalo, New York, and can be reached and observed on Instagram using @jhgehlhoff.


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