SPOKEN WORD SOAPBOX: Gabriel Ricard – ‘Exercise Occasionally’

Spoken word soapbox

They always say that when you’re onto a good thing, keep doing what you’re doing. We are happy to say that our first collaboration with Mr. Gabriel Ricard was one of those elusive “good things”, which is why we are thrilled to be bringing you his second poem ‘Exercise Occasionally’.


When you notice that part of the sky
is moving even faster than your late father’s illness,
and another part seems to be suffocating under glass,
geometry starts to get a little weird.

And then geography starts telling half of its static story
with conflicting memories from dysfunctional families,
while the other half comes from a sense of chaos
that wants to eat the cynics and veteran travelers with fire.

It’s understandable that you just want to borrow a car,
a couple of comas, or the kind of arrogance that comes
with being young, taking a coffee can full of 20s,
and getting out to the west coast.

The unrealistic one. The west coast that someone told you
they remembered from a visit twenty years earlier.

And you’ve been hoping to finally start saving your money
for something impossible for twenty years on top of that.

Either you’re dead,
or the friend of your father who told you that story is.

Your dad is definitely dead.
Your mom is definitely living with a generous sex cult in Mesa.
Your friends are racists with extraordinary job security.
This town doesn’t have a lot of use for you anymore.

But you’re staying. You can’t afford to go anywhere else.
You take anxiety pills for anything grander than the fact
that the state fair these days is the kind of thing that can fit
under your fingernails.

It’s better, you feel,
to be disappointed with yourself,
than with a thriving fish bowl of apartment complexes
and black market empires
that doesn’t have the faintest fucking idea
of what you’re babbling about.

Stay put.
Get old.
Exercise occasionally.

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