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Geoffrey Gatza is an award-winning editor, publisher and poet. He is the driving force behind BlazeVOX, a small press located in Buffalo, NY, and was named by the Huffington Post as one of the Top 200 Advocates for American Poetry. Most recently his work has appeared in FENCE and Tarpaulin Sky. His play on Marcel Duchamp was staged in an art installation in Philadelphia and performed in NYC. He lives in Kenmore, NY with his girlfriend and two beloved cats.

2 poems by Geoffrey Gatza

Memento Mori


Even though it is only just past 5, the afternoon
Has taken over what I sense as the whole day. 

She whispers softly, ‘it is the last great adventure.’
Despite my manner, I feel properly told. Punished. 
She says, ‘be brave.’ 

We sit out of doors swinging on the bench, 
Dangling our feet to the gray tiptoed tempo;
Peppering apprehensively over the sunset. 

The evening remains the best part of daylight. 

The color of water parts the tumult 
The headstrong skies blur. Tiffany blues 
Aching, sacrificing in fleeting calls of sparrows.

The appreciation of cherry blossoms 
And fall colors paper-over the pleasing 
Shades of cerise that trail vapor columns

As if all dreams were possible in the vastness, 
The oceanic skies that oracle the night’s arrow. 

To truly feel the cack-handed emptiness of life
Would be wrong, it is best to dote upon the sky. 
Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas




Flowing along the river Lethe
Coping and caring we neglect.

Flowing across the cave Hypnos 
We practice gentle forgetfulness. 

Living within the Underworld 
We mediate between mindful 

Countries; down the river Lethe.
The question he wanted to ask

He forgot as a kettle on the boil.
He surrendered a golden puzzle.

And impossible statement of self
Rested upon the forgetful water.

We were at war. I woke up to see 
What was happening. I didn’t care.

She came out with a gas mask, muffled screams.
Until further notice, we are told to stay indoors.

As the bombs fell, we sat under the stairs, cowering. 
Clutching the insurance policy in our knuckled fists.

The adrenaline was hovering, flowing. We were all idiosyncratic 
Pouring our meaningless stuttering words suitable to the occasion. 

My whole body was compressed in.
Crumpled and bent. Illuminated lightly

There is a space of relative darkness. 
The smoke is rising slowly, they incinerate 

Their emergency bombs singing, I have 
A marvelous war in the palm of my hand. 

The guns were located near the hospital. 
We were accustomed to the spitfires flying. 

Our training taught us what to expect. 
Our patients had extensive, terrible burns.



They were so brave, on the front lines
He was seventeen. His face was erased.

His burns were all over his body,
The afternoon raid lights up the skies. 

After this red glow the flames will subside. 
A strong breeze floats the white bird aloft. 

At the end of the platform, a train derails. 
The crowds seek shelter. Nowhere to sit. 

The theme of this morning’s service is the union of the church 
And the body of the pedestrian found lost in the street, scoring. 

Only when I forget can I be reincarnated.
Only when I forget can I be reincarnated.

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