Gibley Finds: Poetry

It takes a special kind of talent to write humour into poetry. There’s the obvious limerick method, which can still produce a chuckle (even if we have heard most of them!), but we all know when the punchline rolls in. The last line delivers, you see it coming and that’s about it. Humour, arguably, works best when it’s not expected and whilst it seems easy to throw something random into the mix to spice up the writing, it takes skill to make it relevant and clever.

Today’s feature, To Be Opened After My Passing, does humour right. It takes you by surprise: it delivers when you least expect it. Of course, it’s not all about whether you laugh or not but also whether you can relate to the poem. We’ve all doubted ourselves at some point, and most of us have felt insecure about something we’ve done, or something about ourselves. This piece details our everyday concerns we can all understand in a light manner we can all laugh with.

William Godbey kindly let us share his poem with our followers and it’s brilliant. It tells a story in a clear conversational style and tackles the theme of death in a fresh perspective. It’s not over the top nor too subtle in its tone and voice, and the progression, from the doctor declaring the death to being displayed in a glass cabinet for all to see, really cements how this person carried insecurity into the after life.


To Be Opened After My Passing

To the lead doctor
who will declare me deceased.
Please keep this in mind:
I keep mints in my pocket,
pop one in if my mouth smells.

To the mortician
who has to examine me.
I want you to know
I thought my Chinese tattoo
meant, “brave.” Turns out it meant, “toad.”

To the pallbearers
who must carry my coffin.
Don’t look inside it.
My tie might not match my suit.
I would never live that down.

when you dig up my body.
I’d just like to say,
if my bones seem heavy, it’s
not me. The grave adds ten pounds.

To the janitor
who will clean my display case.
Some words of advice:
Dying is a big mistake.
Everybody judges you!

For more brilliant poetry we’ve featured, please explore our Gibley Finds page.

Gibley Finds: Poetry

There’s only a few poets who can present five or six lines yet leave you with an epic after thought. While it seems easy, to place 30 particular words in a certain order to provoke thought and feeling, in reality, it’s not. Haiku’s may stir the romantic within, limericks may give you a laugh, but it’s without a doubt a difficult challenge as a writer to utilise every word to it’s fullest.

And The Night Is Enormous is quick to thrust you into a state of awe. Wonderful imagery, wonderful words and the perspective is clear and concise. It’s one of my favourite titles for a poem, too, implying the single stanza that follows is one that has echoed before.

Author, Reddit user bluejay43, very kindly let us share this poem with our followers. bluejay43 said in the /r/ocpoetry subreddit, ‘being economical is always one of my utmost goals with poetry.’ You’ve most definitely met that goal. As Charlie Croker once said, “It’s not the size, mate, it’s how you use it.”

This drew me in and rocked me to my core. I’ll sure to be coming back to in the future, for inspiration and more.



And The Night Is Enormous

I stood up under a placid star
brimming like a corpse, and I whispered
do something to me, steep universe:
put your hands in my mouth
and break my clenching jaw.

Gilbey Finds: Poetry

Good writing can give you a vision of the writer’s world, of their characters, of their homes and countries, their clothing, their emotions, moods and actions. But great writing can transport you. You can get to the point when you forget you’re sat in your living room chair, or lying in your holiday hammock, or stood in the supermarket queue, and you’re with the characters, in the pages, within the chapters, living the story.

It’s refreshing when this is done with use of dialect. Reddit user Recessive posted this to the poetry_critics subreddit and I think it’s brilliant. Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting is an example of how immediate the transportation process is and this poem does the same. It only takes one quick phrase or sentence. Of course, sometimes the dialect is quite hard to pick up but when it clicks, it gives you a true taste of character and setting all in one.

Recessive has kindly let us share Old Man Warning – it’s a real gem and we hope you enjoy it!

Old Man Warning

Best fear’a ’em candy cane
Petch tants ‘an ‘locks
Th’ fest’vals Juggl’as
Stripe col’r socks

Word ’round Suzie’s
th’ merry g’ round
Rode up’n down
wit’ th’ carn’val sound

‘Weet lit’l Suzie
B’an missin fa’ years
Kissd ‘tha m ‘gician
Done roped’ up’er tears

Him snuck und’them flo’boards
Tip-toe’ ne’er stop’d
Ma’am I done seen ‘lots
W’ere m ‘rocknchair rocks

Gibley Finds: Poetry

Heaven and Hell are perhaps two of the most featured locations in literature. Depictions can range from Biblical standards, which includes fiery pits and fluffy clouds, to vivid realities that resemble our day to day lives. In the latter, Lucifer and Beelzebub don’t have to be present to parallel a place to the torturous domain – especially in good writing.

On the subject, Josh (Reddit user /u/bubeez) has kindly let us feature his piece. This was an absolute pleasure to read. Brilliant imagery, powerful language and a gripping opening with alliteration that rings; Ginsberg would be proud. It’s gritty, it’s glum and it’s refreshing perspective will stick with you as it did us.

To contact Josh, if need be, please email We’ll be on the look out for more from him.


“I Found Hell In A Gas Station In California”–

I found hell in a gas station in the humdrum slums of farmland California;
In the eyes of the wretched gatekeepers living in the neon hope of the gas prices;
The town of twenty trapped by tilled trenches tasked with too much time;
They wash their cracked hands, their laboured faces, their souls for imperfections, but
The dirt never leaves their lungs, their muddy breath forced to cough and croak songs without music.

Under that neon lamplight, mothers bring their children to the flies, like a baptism for the dead;
The children shove their faces into the gas station windows, or else watch the backs of their fathers
Who look onto their land, its illimitable suffering, and roll it up into suicide cigars.

Gibley Finds: Poetry

People change. Some for the better, some for worse, but ultimately, most are in the direction of maturation. The person who changes, to them, perhaps doesn’t see a change; it’s a seamless line between their life chapters. From a third person perspective, however, it can be massive, as if they went through the door in Stars in Your Eyes; it could be to the point where you can’t identify the past and present persona as one.

This piece is outstanding. It’s a transformation written with powerful imagery and a sense of character you won’t forget. There’s some great contrasting descriptions, too, between the old and new.

Author /u/perfumed-ponce, who posted this to the /r/ocpoetry subreddit, kindly let me share it with my followers. Without a doubt it’s one to remember. Enjoy!

The way she is now

the way she is now:
twenty-three years and I know people
change, but she changed
from jalapeños and tequila
to homegrown jasmine
and touches of black pepper without
asking me to taste her.

the way she is now:
three months since I last touched land,
held rain, but she changed
from grainy black-and-white polaroids
to sharp neon edges
and evergreen flashes filled with
sparks of the light you can catch when it’s
filtered through leaves.

she used to smoke us like a cigarette
between yellowed fingers
and throaty gasps.

she is here, now, unbelievably:
hands newly wedded to clean-cut nails
and a duckling-yellow raincoat
rests at her shoulders.

Gibley Finds: Poetry

What I find particularly special in poetry, whether it’s in the form of a sonnet, ballad or free verse, is organic storytelling. Of course, most will tell a story, most will tell of a life experience that could be translated into novels or film. However, often these poems are centred with huge metaphors or grand descriptive pieces. Sometimes, keeping it simple, telling the facts, telling us simply what happened and leaving the reader to interpretation, works best. Israel is storytelling in poetry at a brilliant level; I felt completely transported from the start. I’d open with a further introduction to the piece but it’s completely unnecessary. It’s clear, concise, communicative and cooked, straight out the poetry oven.

John Yanez, the writer, kindly let me share it with my friendly followers. I very much look forward to more from him. Enjoy!



It wasn’t god
or an angel
that dislocated my hip.
It was a steer.
No one called me
The ranch didn’t become
god’s face.
Pa just loaded me onto the serape bench seat in his truck
and we bounced our way down
the old dirt roads,
rutted like a wagon trail,
while I prayed for pavement
and then doctors
and then sleep
and then for all the pitiful looks to go away.

Ma was liquid fire pouring on them.
Bruce and Jeff and Denny.
She grew up simple but she wasn’t dumb.
The scent of their goading
was heavier in the air
than the palpable union
of dirt and manure.
“Of course we all have done it.”
“I would say it’s still a calf.”
“Just a child of a bull.”
Just a child of man.

I thought the pain would shut me down
but I could still taste the earth
feel it in between my teeth
turning to concrete on my gums.
I remember noticing
The dead tree in the Johnson’s lot had been
cut down.
The sky was odd without the spider legged branches
crawling towards the clouds.
They were burning all that broken wood,
right then,
as we drove by.
I didn’t realize how much memory could fit
in just a few moments

It’s been seventeen years.
No one calls me Israel
they just stare at me when I limp.

Gibley Finds: Poetry

Often, we are all subject to desperately wanting to change something. Whether it be ourselves, our careers, our diets or the orange wallpaper surrounding us. We want to change so much that it burns us up inside, it torments us but, in human nature, sometimes we just don’t follow through. We put up with it, for the better or for the worse.

/u/dirtyLizard kindly allowed me to share his piece – I think it’s brilliant! It’s a poem that goes from 0 to 100 quickly, with a superb opening stanza that sends you right in. It’s got quite the kick to it, too, and provided fresh perspective as well as a chuckle. Very well written and I look forward to finding more from dirtyLizard! Enjoy!


Good thing I’m lazy right?

This wallpaper
makes me want to pop my head open with a vice and pry bar
and play with the green and red wires in my skull until I can’t see orange anymore
or until my eyes explode.

Or I’ll go outside.
And I swear, if it doesn’t stop snowing on me I’ll get the biggest ladder I can find and burn the clouds down!

Then I’ll float there.
Something has to right?

And you may think I’m crazy,
but I’m not the one beating Jesus with a keyboard and microphone until his own mom couldn’t recognize him anymore.

But I digress.
Or I will.
When I’m done floating.
Which may take a while seeing as it’s comfy up here in the empty sky.
Feels a lot like my bed
and looks like my room.

The wallpaper’s coming back.
Maybe I should just paint over it this time… fucking orange.

But I’m tired from burning clouds and diffusing my eyes and what not.
I’ll do it tomorrow.

Gibley Finds: Poetry

/u/SongOfAstrus posted this in the /r/ocpoetry subreddit and with it mentioned that it was an attempt to refine a writing style. It’s only the second poem to be submitted to the workshop yet I think that goal has been met; in its hugely distinctive voice, it’s funny and it’s full of character

While there’s elements of randomness and absurdity, there’s something more to it. It’s that wacky thought most people have but can’t converse. In Conjugated Randomness, it’s exactly that crazy thought communicated into an enjoyable and poetic piece, which I think is a very hard thing to do.

/u/SongOfAstrus was kind enough to allow me to share it. I look forward to more! Enjoy!


Conjugated Randomness

A ballerina leaps across the stage,
Oblivious to the absence of audience.
She cartwheels into a wall
Striking a steel bar for E Flat

Somewhere in China
A little girl taps on the piano,
Hitting the same note

Lights around the world flicker
Humanity knows.
The evolution of man begins to unfold
Language barriers dissolve into salt

The maw of reality hangs agape,
As Earth peeks over its edge
A twenty dimensional entity sings
E Flat

Matter ceases to be of any importance,
The universe experiences a convulsion
And is reborn as a chinchilla
Somewhere in remote Oregon

A single leaf falls from a lamp post.
It is immediately elected president
It cries softly,
Knowing the end is near

The chinchilla runs in front of a car
Intentionally initiating cosmic kamikaze.
You mourn deeply
As I hand you the bill

Gibley Finds: Poetry

Another find and it comes from the /r/ocpoetry subreddit workshop again. I read it once then I read it again and for a third time, I said it out loud; I love it. I find it brilliant and refreshing. It’s deep, layered and features some great lexical choice, very clearly written from the heart.

/u/xgnargnarx, the author, posted this in the /r/ocpoetry subreddit and kindly allowed me to feature and share it. You can find more of her poetry here (where she is known as Kiddo) – her work is consistently great and I’d highly suggest having a gander!


It hurts

looks like someone got tired of dredging the 10,000 lakes alone
hoping to churn up the lost bits of a broken home
you say you’ve got ideas knocking at your logic gates
but you’re too busy sifting through regolith to recount the date
teeth made of amalgamate are sore from the grind
force our panchromatic eyes to dilate but neither of us mind
we burn hydrazine and kerosene but we don’t blast off
tell me I am noisy and abrasive like a chronic cough
and cosmically I’m not so sure what it means
something tells me it’s related to our telomeres and genes
so we keep searching for an algorithm to emulate
keep ashing on the pages and carrying atomic weight


Gibley Finds: Poetry

I came across this poem a while ago and, to get to the point, I think it’s brilliant. It really stuck with me and I think it’s very well written. I would go into a description or introduction about the piece before you indulge but it speaks so clearly, it’ll grip you quickly, so I find it unnecessary.

/u/mhwillingham, the author, posted this in the /r/ocpoetry subreddit and allowed me to feature it. Enjoy!


On Hell

The draft never came for us,
not in my lifetime.
But, I knew a lot of boys who wished it had.

In grade school, a fire-faced boy
with freckles like gunpowder,
cheeks like red balloons
so hard that the atmosphere left
my lungs limp and lonely.
Darkness crept into my eyeballs, from
the edges.
My whole body gasped.
I kissed the ground as I fell,
only the footprint of his soles remained
by the time I opened my eyes again.

By high school a reptilian shit eater
with slick, black hair like a locomotive beat me
like I was worth something. He beat me
like I owed him something. He beat me
like I could make things better.
But things never got better,
everyday the beatings came,
but nothing ever changed.
I tried stopping him,
but my fist cracked against his concrete rib cage.
So, I wised up and told the world that the fucker
had locked me in a locker during football practice.
It wasn’t true.
He was expelled and ended
up having to repeat the ninth grade.
I’ve always wondered who he took it out on after I left.

After his divorce,
my father took my brother and sister and I
to church. The preacher waxed lightning
with his tongue
the way silver shines.
He spoke of sin
And Hell
And forgiveness
And money.
And I learned how to pray for forgiveness
because I was a sinner.
Everyone there was a sinner
and we mostly lived up to it.
In that holy hall,
loneliness draped over me like a fireman’s blanket;
smothering my weak, electric rays- reaching out.
Its hard to make friends
in a place like that
when you never
understood the meaning of

I spent endless nights,
looking into the darkness,
talking to God.
If only I had known that
the darkness was the answer,
then maybe I would have

The draft never came for us.
Who needs a war when you can live like this.