A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Tyler Gobble



Rugged Encounter

    after Kerry Howley


I long for a touch of reassurance from the universe
I have been chronicling. I have this preference
For questionable, terrifying things. I lack sense

I say here in this snow cave where I lay beating
My fist against the darkness. The first staging
Was my hand combing my hair back. How long

It has grown in this desert, my attempt to outgrow
This body altogether. That somehow the show
Transforms the space. I am tumbling how 

A child hugs a hill after kicking another in the head. 
The only plan—aiming the body towards instead
Competent violence. With regularity it forgets 

I am here at all. How skimpy is my little system
Of union, each an isolated machine, enough steam
For its next rugged encounter. Does not every being

Open mid-scene? One should not live to exceed
A breath. None of us speak clearly, but one need 
Not understand to learn to choke or succeed. 

Over and over again, something to summon cruelty 
Outside of this theater. A long moan translated melty 
Underwater two jellyfish singing, fractions of a seconds to try 

In snake-charming, drawing a body before it has to run 
Off to pee. Each dents like my thrownness—the fun
Of having been heaved without preparation or a fair warning. 

Of course the sounds changed. The sounds were complex. 
A moment ago bleeding from the brow and now fully fixed. 
I feel things. I am an entertainer, the horizon inspired to twitch.  


Cologne Every Day


I saw a weasel open its jaw and he was eating
Pop Rocks candy. And the toddler 
Went running right toward it, which is absurd and unreasonable, 
Both the running and the desire in general. 

And you know a weasel would never harm a toddler, 
Though also I doubt my vision, 
How absurd and unreasonable it is. 
The toddler threw the candy at the weasel in the first place. 


They were my kinfolk of lightning
Electric lightening gone beyond
The energy in my reserve.

Aunt Margaret’s birthday party
And I couldn’t even breathe
Or convince my rubber soles to squeak.


The collapsed beehive hopes to be unsquished again.
The whiskey shivers exorcised through the banjo.
My shoulders lug a heavy sack of berries for one single pie.

Before the pie, but after the carrying, the picking, the stomping
of the beehive, I realize some situations are inevitable.

I mean to write this down, but I’m awfully whooped 
And besides, I have not been to the bank in weeks.
Lord knows, that’s where I get all my pens.


The little one comes beeping off the school bus
And it is my best guess that Midwestern

Mothers evolved concrete knees for praying,
The combines a-creakin’, the wolves a-howlin’,

The babies’ granddaddies a-hollerin’


The one whose mind got read feels 
Intruded upon by the mind reader 

Though he asked for it
Though he paid the ten bucks with his hand

The mind that bulb he’s got wedged 
Protected by only his thick sky


Flat on that stomach of yours
You could not even begin
To guess the depth the water kids itself

Into, like a mirror, like a mirror
You get too close after an oversized night.
You wake up shivering. You

Could be on a highway to hell, but you
Could hold on to your black bean salsa
Patience to know for sure, and what then,

It is Hell or it is Texas Roadhouse.
It is your mother’s birthday, and what then
Is the difference besides how my steak gets charred.


I have never been a religious man, but
I do believe it is important
To wear cologne every day.

Every year, we'd mosey from my Hoosier homeland to my dad's childhood Carolina. My Uncle Cooter lived near this army surplus store and they'd let little TGOB loose in there to occupy an afternoon. I'd always emerge without my allowance but with some sort of age-inappropriate thing--a blowdart gun, a set of throwing knives that looked like playing cards, a deactivated grenade. Those were the days, I think.

Tyler Gobble is the host of Everything Is Bigger, a reading series in Austin, TX. He is currently a poetry fellow at the Michener Center for Writers. He has plopped out a chunk of chapbooks, and his first full-length collection, MORE WRECK MORE WRECK, is available from Coconut Books. He likes disc golf, porches, and bacon. More at