Gabriel Ricard

Gabriel Ricard writes, edits, and occasionally acts. He writes a monthly column called Captain Canada’s Movie Rodeo at Drunk Monkeys, as well as a monthly called Make the Case with Cultured Vultures.

His 2015 poetry collection Clouds of Hungry Dogs is available from Kleft Jaw Press, while his 2017 novel Bondage Night is available through Moran Press. Recent releases include A Ludicrous Split (Alien Buddha Press/Split chapbook with Kevin Ridgeway) and Love and Quarters (Moran Press).

His newest book, the short story collection The Oddities on Saturday Night, is available now from Moran Press. A new horror fiction collection entitled Benny the Haunted Toymaker is his newest book.

He is also a writer and performer with Belligerent Prom Queen Productions, currently working on a follow-up to their 2016 immersive theater show Starman Homecoming. His movie podcast The Hounds of Horror, co-hosted with an actual man from Florida named Chris Bryant, is currently in its second season.

Gabriel currently lives on Long Island with his wife, four crazed ferrets, and an inability to stop ordering delivery. He watches way too many movies, spent tens of thousands of miles on Greyhound, and has somehow also worked (or tried to) in fields such as radio, theater, and standup.

I Get Around, January 1989

My father never asked Jesus
to take the wheel,
and even if you’re not particularly religious,
I feel like you have to admit 
there might be something wrong with a person
who never wanted to be helped,
unless he could screw them over first.

If he had ever asked for actual help,
even of someone who might just be
a PR firm’s warrior wizard mascot
from the vast temples of an ideal universe,
he may have had a better track record
with the open road,
assorted 3 AM trips to the middle
of fucking nowhere in fucking British Columbia,
and drinking coffee in the depths
of the godless and endless woods,
while he thought about his family,
and the odd course of events
that brought him to the end of the 80s.

A couple of years from that point,
when I’m absolutely convinced
that elementary school is going to last
for the rest of my life,
and I’m as far away as possible from wanting to listen
to the Beach Boys in his piece of shit truck,
as we’re driving to wherever he’s going to go
to steal from the local logging companies,
everything will change for him, as well.

Then,
as now,
and this assumes he hasn’t died,
or found the flying saucers I was convinced I saw
four years to the day from that morning
of January 1989,
he didn’t have a knack for momentum.

Or the bare minimum.
Or letting someone else do the driving,
when he was too tired to remember
he wasn’t some scared, ugly teenager
in the hopeless, open spaces of rural Quebec.

Nonetheless,
at least as far as the beginning of 1989 was concerned,
I was still looking forward to any car ride
where it was just the two of us.

We didn’t just listen to the Beach Boys either.
Moe loved The Steve Miller Band.

For almost a full decade,
my first one,
I did, too.

The Execution of All Things, October 2009

I do the same thing.
I get lonely, too.

What I can promise is that I won’t blame you.
Never ever. Not in the present. Not in my memories.
Not even in any books or poems I’ll eventually
have to write in what I define as my spare time.

They tell me that this is the best way to live through your 20s.
Spending time with people you can’t stand.
Taking it out on them.
Writing about it.
Barring that, you settle for the kind of brutality
that makes old bitchy men from the 1940s flinch.

Because goddamn, kid.
If you can’t stand each other,
why are you fucking around at the movies?

What’s with groping each other at The Gap?

Why are you at The Gap?
Vodka and Extasy are not an excuse.
Neither is loneliness.

I know all of that. I’m in my 20s.
I just don’t care. Even when that changes,
the way it generally did for all my lovesick, idiotic, chemically fragile heroes,
I’m still not going to care.

At 20, I’m not smart. At 25, I’m also still not good at planning ahead.
At 26, 27, I fully expect to become a dead-end caricature creature feature
of restless and reckless habits well beyond my 30s.

To the point where it moves seamlessly
with the routine of ignoring absolutely everyone,
taking the garbage out,
and crossing the street in a labored hurry.

I don’t blame you for getting lonely.

I’m already proud of you for being someone
who will immediately do even slightly better than me.

You will, wherever you are in New Mexico, Texas, Virginia.
Etc.

Like me, and how we waste our time,
together and/or reasonably apart,
most things shall pass.

Obviously,
this is somewhat dependent 
upon letting them.

But that’s where your frustration and disappointment
and pity
will make you brave.

When I Grow Up, March 1999

A giant juggernaut of moving quickly,
refusing to keep my hands
calm and willing to reflect patience
like lightning with a personal crusade
against some dupe with a personal relationship to god.

I just told jokes,
and I didn’t feel like stopping you from treating me
like a good friend
who could have at least said something
about liking you a little bit more.

It bothered me.
Obviously and especially when you wanted me
to help you pick out an outfit
for a guy who was at least a little more masculine
than I thought I needed to be.

It shouldn’t have bugged me,
but it did,
but it also didn’t really get to me
to the point of the kind of trauma 
that you see from people who live and breathe
and die lonely protecting their interpretation
of a shallow man’s cosmic wargames.

I was almost fourteen,
so there was something to be said
for your chubby, beautiful body
flying through outfits. Your hands were so
flawless at manipulating the world
of dresses, tops, and crucial perspectives,
I stared at them as much as anything.

Your whole body was beautiful,
and I was aware of that. Of course I was.

But it was also just good to be around you.

I honestly thought we’d see each other more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.