Summer sunsets with their cruel debaucheries of orange and purple. Concentrated scents of saffron and roses in the hallways. Dates filled with marzipan. I crave sweetness like I crave you.
Nightmares. A sailor drowned a cat at sea. Someone paid him to do it.
I cannot breathe anymore.
Last night in one of the upstairs bedrooms the child’s toys changed places. A candle lit by itself.
I do not wish you were here. I am beyond that. My blood flows in the opposite direction. I am the plenitude of my febrilities. I am incandescent.
Remember that scene from Jane Eyre? We discussed. Bertha: beautiful, exotic, insane, locked in a room. Bertha whom Rochester married in Jamaica. Every time he tried to open the door she would rush to tear him apart. Why am I thinking Bertha?
I can see you walking in the streets of another continent. I can hear your murmurs by the sea.
I still cannot breathe.
My darling, “will you still be loving me when the summer is gone?”
Gabriela Marie Milton 2022 Pushcart Prize Nominee Publisher, Editor, Award Winning & #1 Amazon Bestselling Author Books:
My piece Who was he? published in Free Verse Revolution Issue II. You can download the entire issuehere.
Who was he? by Gabriela Marie Milton
I met him in the mist of that unusual summer when mama looked more beautiful than ever, and pears grew as big as squashes. Their golden and juicy fragrance hung on my lips even after the touches of the evening wind were gone.
He stood by the fence in his winged hat and his weird sandals, a tricky smile on his face, and a lyre on his hand. I knew whose symbols those were, so I laughed. I figured out he was trying to drag me into some weird play.
When he spoke, his voice pierced my entire body. I felt like a butterfly, pinned, and labeled, and then fixed with a nail on the bottom of an insect box.
“We are getting married tonight.”
Something in his voice denoted an unmistakable hunger to overcome mortality. Who was he? His pale fingers touched the chords of the lyre. The sky started to rain the fragrance of the pears and white petals on us. One of them fell on my left shoulder. When I tried to touch it, it vanished.
He moved toward me and pressed his lips on mine. My eyes closed. I shivered. I felt dragged into a deceptive rootlessness. I could not remember where I was. When I opened my eyes, he was gone.
Under the olive tree on the wooden table there was a basket filled with pears. I touched one of them. It was made of paper. By the basket someone inscribed the words: “That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above, working the miracles of one.”
I froze. Those were words attributed to Hermes Trismegistus.
Who was he and where did he go?
Please welcome our first guest from New Zeeland: a marvelous poetess Rachel. Read Rachel’s poem Invitation to inspiration here.
Free Verse Revolution Issue II (hermes) is out. Congratulations to the contributors, and thank you to Kristiana Reed, its wonderful editor, for featuring an interview with me and two pieces of my poetic prose.
Below please find the interview. I will feature my published pieces in future posts.
Free Verse Revolution Issue II Interview with Gabriela Marie Milton
KRISTIANA: We would love for you to introduce yourself and share when you began writing and why you decided to share your work with others?
GABRIELA: I may have scribbled some poetry in high school, but basically, I started writing in the period between my undergraduate studies and my graduate ones. Now, I write poetry and short prose under the name Gabriela Marie Milton. Three or four years ago, I published my first poems under Gabriela M. Today, my standard introduction is: Hello My Dear Readers, I am Gabriela Marie Milton, 2019 Author of the Year at Spillwords Press NYC, author of Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings, editor of MasticadoresUSA, and author of the forthcoming collection of poems and poetic prose entitled Woman: Splendor and Sorrow to be published by Vita Brevis Press this summer. My favorite poet is Arthur Rimbaud. My all-time favorite novelist is Lawrence Durrell. My heart trembles at Salvador Dali’s surrealism, and it is stolen by Chopin every other week. To enchant some readers who may find such an introduction boring, here is a little more about me: I love Italian food, narrow cobbled streets, cats, and oceans. My favorite color is mauve. I was born in Europe, and I live in the USA. Honestly, initially it was not my decision to share my work, as intriguing as it may sound. Yet, things happened. I will leave it at that.
KRISTIANA: How would you describe your collection, Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings, to those new to your work?
GABRIELA: To me the collective unconscious– as conceptualized by Jung – represents another level of existence that we, as humans, share. In Passions I tried to penetrate that level and bring out perhaps its most important element: memories. Passions is a book of vivid and lush images brought to light using symbolist, surrealist, and romantic techniques. It is a book for everyone. It is a call to immortality. It is a journey through the corridors of our collective unconscious. I wrote Passions – like all my other writings – almost in a trance. Passions is that which I feel, not necessarily that which I know. Some pieces included in Passions are influenced by Gnosticism with which I first became acquainted by reading Umberto Eco, Jorge Luis Borges, Lawrence Durrell, and others. To wrap it up, Passions is what Christina Schwarz, the author of the New York Times Bestseller “Drowning Ruth,” described as “a fantastic world ripe with emotion.” I am deeply grateful to her for that description.
KRISTIANA: Your prose pieces often have dominant themes of love and heartache, what draws you to romantic storytelling?
GABRIELA: Mama used to say that I am a romantic story. I, the subject, am the same with the object (i.e. my story). The object does not exist independent from me. Something similar to the concept of endopathy anticipated by Dante: “he who would paint a figure, if he cannot become that figure, cannot portray it.” Yet, when mama said what she said she was not thinking of Dante. She was thinking of Kant’s transcendental idealism. She made me read Kant when I was in high school. I did it with packs of ice on my head. On every page there were about 10 to15 words that I did not understand. It was an interesting experience to say the least.
KRISTIANA: What are your inspirations? Are they musical, literary, ekphrastic, or all three?
GABRIELA: Something more than all three together: the plan of the unconscious. From there my inspiration flows like a river. In there, I find light and darkness, the whole and its parts, sonorous images with their unmistakable language, memories of the future and of the past, the sound of germinating wheat, the entire world.
KRISTIANA: You recently announced your next collection is coming soon, can you give us a synopsis and explain the impact you hope this collection will have on your readers?
GABRIELA: Woman: Splendor and Sorrow, is a collection of love poems and poetic prose. I hope my readers will be interested in this collection. It will be published by Vita Brevis Press at the end of July. Here is part of what I wrote in the dedication in an attempt to describe my own book:
My Dear Readers, My favorite novelist, Lawrence Durrell, once asked:
“Who invented the human heart, I wonder? Tell me, and then show me the place where he was hanged.” If you read this book, you will find that place. Yet make no mistake. It is not a sad place. In the pages you are about to read, I resurrect the one who invented the human heart. The splendors of candlelight and roses and the taste of gingerbread dwell in this book. Partake in them. The core of this book is love. Yet you will also find in it philosophical thoughts on literature, on winning and losing, on hate, on feminism, and on life in general. My dear reader, from wherever you are in this world, walk with me on the beautiful path of the human heart. I promise you will not regret doing so. On this road you will find love and the symbols that define us as humans.
KRISTIANA: Issue II draws upon Hermes from the Olympic pantheon, why do you think we continue to reinvent and rejuvenate myths and stories of old? Do you have a particular myth/story you remember fondly?
GABRIELA: Oh, myths, none of our civilizations have ever survived without them. We all have a mythical part so to speak. Myths express ontological and moral ideas. Their splendid supernaturality reflects our desire to transcend the materiality of the world, to find our beginnings, and to anticipate the future. Codes, symbols. Their faces may change in time, but they never become old.
I have many stories I remember fondly. However, in myths, as well as in most major religions, there is one thing that fascinates me the most: the fall. Something goes wrong with our world because somebody errs. In most cases that somebody is a woman. Certain Gnostics believe that our material world is not the creation of the real God. The world is the creation of the demiurge (a lesser God) who came into being because of Sophia’s fall. I remember when I first visited Santorini. One early morning, caught between its breathtaking views and the blue of the Mediterranean, I realized that nobody could have ever lived in Greece without concocting myths. The beauty of that place refuses itself to rationality. One needs an entire mythology to absorb it.
KRISTIANA: Would you describe yourself as multifaceted like Hermes? Could you use three words to describe yourself?
GABRIELA: Hermes is a fascinating figure. He is the messenger of Gods. Some see him as the Logos itself. However, Hermes is also the god of thieves and liars. The Greeks did not leave one single human trait without a God. You must hand it to them. To answer your question, I do not think of myself as multifaceted. Three words to describe myself: I am mystery. Why? Because I am like anyone else. We all have a sight that we do not understand. Perhaps we are not supposed to.
KRISTIANA: You are a long time, and very appreciated, supporter of FVR and other online platforms, what do you feel the online community has brought to the traditional world of writing and publishing?
GABRIELA: The online community allows people to express their talents without having to go through more cumbersome conventional processes. It gives voice to the poor, and to the misunderstood. It gives voice to those who are unconventional. It allows us to dwell in a multiplicity of talents. It forces us to rediscover ourselves.
Thank you for reading. Please download the entire issue here.
There are two beautiful poems up at MasticadoresUSA.
The front cover of my upcoming poetry book Woman: Splendor and Sorrow
My second poetry book Woman: Splendor and Sorrow will be published by Vita Brevis Press at the end of July. I hope you enjoy the front cover.
Here is a snippet from my dedication:
“The core of this book is love. Yet, you will find in it philosophical thoughts on literature, on winning and losing, on hate, on feminism, and on life in general. My dear reader, from wherever you are in this world, walk with me on the beautiful path of the human heart. I promise you will not regret doing so. On this road you will find love and the symbols that define us as humans.”
Image used in the cover: Odalisque in a modern style – original acrylic painting byarteliia (Shutterstock)
MasticadoresUSA – update
Two beautiful poems are now up at MasticadoresUSA.
Please welcome our first guest from outside the US who presently resides in Slovenia: Ingrid Wilson. Read Ingrid’s poem “Am I only?” here.
In case you missed Java Avendel’s poem “Gloaming” you can read it here.
I suspect I am subject to hallucinations. I see a woman wrapped in a Cashmere checkered shawl talking to a dead person. The metaphors she uses are stolen, and her heavy makeup reminds me vaguely of a harlequin. Perhaps the shawl projected its sick personality into her, or perhaps she regressed to an infantile state under my very eyes.
She looks like a lacerated doll attached to one of Cuixar’s canvases.
Did you talk? Are you here?
My love, yesterday I read your poems. Your spellbound words reclaimed my very existence. Letters fell into my cupped palms. From the mirror the contour of your body – textured like ripened mangoes under a third eclipse of the moon – entered my world. Your words adapted to my lips. They absorbed the piano’s euphoria with its marvelous rhythmicity. Our happiness became imperative like the birth of a child at 39 weeks.
Today I am back – albeit sedated – inside the ambivalence of my own introspections swinging from one site to another like the Kirby Cove swing above the Pacific Ocean.
I do not see the woman anymore, but I can still see the dead person. The throbbing pain of Cuixar’s paintings and your absence become unbearable.
When I do not cry myself to death, I pretend you are here.
@Gabriela Marie Milton
A new beautiful poem is now up at MasticadoresUSA.
Spoken Word – Reading of Gabriela Marie Milton’s Poetry
I am humbled by Swarn’s [@theedemaruh] decision to read two of my poems: Prayer published by Free Verse Revolution, and I Want My Body Burned included in my poetry collection Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings.
Swarn captured and deepened the meaning of my poems. The tone and the execution of the readings are superb. They are a testimony of his great talent. While listening to his recitation I asked myself: Can he see into my soul? It certainly felt that way.
A note to you my dear readers. It is not about how many followers you have. It is about their quality. It’s about how they can enrich your life, and how you can enrich theirs.
As the song goes: May you always do for others And let others do for you – Bob Dylan
Please listen to Swarn’s readings.
Two beautiful poems are now up at MasticadoresUSA.
My poem I am the one translated into Italian by Daniela Cerrato is up at Gioielli Rubati 146.
Those of you who can read Italian please visit Gioielli Rubati 146here.
My most sincere thanks to Daniela who translated my poem. Grazie di core, Daniela [visit site].
Deep thanks to Flavio Almerighi[visit side] too, the founder of Gioielli Rubati, who featured me in previous editions, and who translated into Italian several pieces included in my book Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings [available on Amazon here].
I am the one
I am the voice of your past loves resounding in your wildest fantasies dressed in roses at the altar of your dreams I am the one you’ve never had my soul flows from the tears of the Nile from the hands of children who still beg through ruins, darkness, and deep pain through wars which they will never understand I am the last who will be saved for I have sinned under the shadow of His cross when Spanish fountains cry in the sunset I am the Desdemona who you’ve never met today Granada’s just the place in which García Lorca once was killed I am the feather of a gold macaw bird and in the city where bells toll I am the one whose cries you’ve never heard.
Io sono l’unica
Sono la voce dei tuoi amori passati che si fa eco nelle tue fantasie più selvagge vestita di rose all’altare dei tuoi sogni Sono colei che non hai mai avuto, la mia anima scorre dalle lacrime del Nilo dalle mani dei bambini che ancora mendicano attraverso rovine, oscurità e dolore profondo attraverso guerre che non capiranno mai. Sono l’ultima che si salverà perché ho peccato all’ombra della Sua croce quando le fontane spagnole piangono al tramonto Sono la Desdemona che non hai mai incontrato, oggi Granada è il luogo in cui una volta fu ucciso García Lorca. Sono la piuma dell’uccello ara dorato e nella città dove suonano le campane sono la sola di cui non hai mai udito i pianti.
A beautiful poem by Joni Caggiano is up at MasticadoresUSA. Please read it here and subscribe to MasticadoresUSA.
Do you want to submit? Please read the guidelines here. Thank you Gabriela