for Gabrielle Bouliane (1966-2010)

Gabrielle’s last live reading.


The poem below is the best I can do right now… and it doesn’t feel like enough. How, ever, can words communicate what is ripped from the heart. I feel like I should watch this video every day, so that I remember how to live.

for Gabrielle Bouliane
(1967 – 2010)

you disappear on a full wolf moon but not really
in the age of a technology you shaped from, created you
send messages across miles and friends echo
that feisty stance, fiery angel,
oh, poet, gift-giver, love-master, my hours
in your presence are locked, sealed and
delivered  – – my dream-memory
days and nights spent on projects for literary minds
together building a factory to keep those hearts alive
smoke breaks outside the office in rusty Seattle
mother hens to spoiled wordsters all worth
while, our while, through earthquakes and madness
and divorces and spilled salt
we know life turns, tears, surprises for the
girls next door, tomboys and hippies and
drive, you had it, rode long highways, following
a bliss only shadowed by your gracious love

I can’t say good-bye, not here, not now
not with those wide-eyes in mine —

I’ll see you backstage, poet, that’s a promise
and meanwhile, this light you lit, I’ll shine.


  1. larryhoser
    Jan 30, 2010

    Thanks for sharing her message. Love you. L

  2. Paul Nelson
    Jan 30, 2010

    For Gabrielle Bouliane

    I see you now, your bad angel
    half joined w/ the good one
    living on, thanks to the magic
    of pixels who says no one’s

    “Live” you say & we live
    wings waiting, mind
    grasping for the next
    syllable, word, anything
    that can carve sense out
    of Cancer.

    I see you now, pixel
    magic, screen goes
    black, disembodied
    Texas cheers in the
    distance, everyone else

    Then back to black
    berries and traffic
    jams. Back to life
    as it were w/o,
    as Sam told prisoners,
    “writing the poem as if
    you’ll die tomorrow.”

    And you died yesterday.
    Maybe held on long
    enough to see Allison,
    Karen, Daemond one
    last time, maybe they’ll
    hafta settle for the feather

    blown to the west in a
    dream they’ll have,
    or maybe they’ll hear
    your voice in their head
    maybe there’s a gloved

    finger stabbing at the
    meat in the poem, driving
    the point home. And
    with dumb luck, maybe

    we’ll never hafta bury
    a daughter, but Gabrielle
    to bury a sister, to bury
    a sister, Gabrielle, that
    is hard enough.

    11:51P – 1.30.10

    Thanks, Paul, for the poetic response. I’ve been on FaceBook welling up from the outpouring of love-words

  3. Joanne
    Jan 31, 2010

    What a beautiful tribute to a crafter of words, of verse. Your final lines are especially moving, to keep her light lit.

  4. Thanks, Joanne, for popping over. Even if you didn’t know Gabrielle, you probably know someone like her… tirelessly promoting other people’s work, always there with the shoulder or ear, making the world a better place.

  5. Michael
    Jan 31, 2010

    Thanks for this…how wonderful to have this gift from her….we should all be so fortunate to have the chance to speak our final truths/wisdom to a supportive audience….

    I met Gabrielle in 1996 at the OK Hotel (poetry open mic/slam)…we hit it off right away…I have many memories of her; in leiu of actual poetry, here is my memory list:

    First night at a Seattle open mic, drinking and flirting, String theory physics, missed connections, a band Called CXQ5, fan music video (“I’m CXQ5, and I’m barely alive…can you hear me?”), teen video poetry project panelist, sexy slam poet, Future forWORD promo video, Secrets of Magic, video poem editing, payment in kind (bud), Thanksgiving dinner 1999 (I think), road trip to San Francisco (poetry slam team exhibition), Austin National Poetry Slam 1998, red hair and leather, comparison of motorcycle injuries…

    The biggest lesson here for me: never take your friends, helpers, associates, co-creative types, and fellow poets, for granted….tell them how much you appreciate them; let them know they are recognized in your life, in your mind, and yes, that they are loved.

  6. Great list, Michael – it is a poem. How much we do take for granted, yes. Why do we keep having to be reminded? Live, live, live, love, love, love…

  7. Deb Marshall
    Mar 31, 2012

    Oh my gosh….thank you thank you for sharing your friend, Danika. I have a feeling she really is watching from the front row, a little higher. Marty probably sitting along side.

  8. For sure, Deb. The first thing I thought when I heard that Marty had died was, “Say hello to Gabrielle for me.”

  9. angela cerrito
    Mar 31, 2012

    Danika – Gabrielle’s voice, her words, her message moved me to tears. I agree with you -I should watch it every day. Such passion and every word so important. I also loved your poem and Paul’s poem too.
    Thank you for sharing the love you have for Gabrielle and sharing her message with us! xo xo


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