The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 18-JAN 19

All Issues
DEC 18-JAN 19 Issue



This image is low res
my sister and I
are up a tree we climbed
in France near a river
and my sister pushes me
but I catch myself and
don’t fall and break
but resist and she falls
my parents still talk about
the time I pushed my
sister out of a tree.




The Buses

The buses, the buses: you are every bus
every bus is watching me. subconscious
my smile goes―was it you? did you
love? No you lusted un-thoughtfully and
never forgave. you didn’t remember—
only the wetness of my legs, the frenzy
of my appetite but the smile you
broke—there are many yous many
yous and I feel—what—I am not
ashamed. I feel will another you
ever be mine? Will an underarm
snuggle me safe again—will kind
words comfort. No I haven’t been
talking to the bus but one of the
yous is a bus. He is a bus, every
bus on the streets of Manhattan.
When do men turn to public transport?
their gaze on me, their inescapable
gaze on me as I walk the streets
of Manhattan. “Do not let perfect be
the enemy of good” I am sometimes the
enemy of everything, enemy of good
and bad, disgruntled in discomfort
leave me alone bus! leave me alone!
do not look at me. All you buses
trains, present and past, leave me
alone—let me skip and smile and
forget. Let me forget the kisses on hands,
the hugs, the lies, the push
away, the anxiety, the anger, the
I try to please, the I can’t please
myself so how could I please you.
no you are not a failure, my
perfectionism is my issue, not
yours but your issues are fear,
anger, jealousy, deception, mental
illness, inability to love. No, you
never loved me. Then bus why do
you follow me? It hurt, it hurts. It
actually hurts more with time as
the possibility of it getting
better, getting fixed, changing seems
less possible or hasn’t happened
yet. But Bus do not follow me
I do not want to see imaginary
you drifting around the city.
imaginary yous looking at me.
looking at me, bringing me down
with your gaze, all those gazes
all those gazes watching and
taking and not seeing, not seeing
I am a person, I have a heart, I hurt
I need, I care—like when in school
I was bullied in PE & stoic did
not snap, did not cry when the
teacher came so I was the one in
trouble. I was the victim but I was
strong so I got the blame. the instigator
the hurter weak cries cries cries
and gets sympathy. No this isn’t
the bus anymore, this is society
this is the madness of groups, this is
the jealousy one feels when they
see a shooting star, try to catch a butterfly in their nets. No
bus I will forget you bus. you
will become another man, hopefully
a man who gazes at me com-
passionately, a gaze that
instills self love. could I be the
bus, could I be the bus
gazing at myself. how could I
be the bus? the bus is a boy
a bad boy. how can I become
the bus, how can I pass
me on the street, how can I
see me? how can I be every
bus passing me on the street
how would I see me, how would
I frame the picture, the bus, the
boy, their framing, is only my
framing of their framing, how
can I take out all the nails
unhinge the frame, reframe
and look through and see me
the way I see me, without seeing
what I see everyone else sees
how to unsee, how to not see the bus



Gabriel Don

Gabriel Don is a multidisciplinary artist or renaissance woman who works in a variety of mediums: a filmmaker, artist, photographer, musician and writer. She received her MFA in creative writing at The New School, where she worked as the Reading Series and Chapbook Competition Coordinator. Don currently teaches writing at BMCC. Her short stories are forthcoming in publications such as Gargoyle 70 and her poetry collection, Living Without Skin, is forthcoming with A Gathering of The Tribes, Fly By Night Press.


The Brooklyn Rail

DEC 18-JAN 19

All Issues