Adam J. Gellings

Adam J. Gellings is a poet from Columbus, Ohio. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Ashland University & currently lives in New York. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Post Road, Quarter After Eight & Salamander.



after Manuel Álvarez Bravo


Some people come to view the body

as a sacred temple


others see the soft webbing

of a right hand


as nothing more

than misplaced keys on a mantel


a rash of rose stems

pinched between the fleshy space


of a thumb & index finger

pressed under radiant rays of light


that burn through our blood

like bullets.



pppppI was a child at the onset of the revolution. At six my right leg became shorter & thinner than my left. I had a disfigured leg. I have broken my spinal column. Collarbone. My ribs. My right foot was crushed by a bus.  I took up boxing. I took up wrestling. I was better than the boys. I broke them. I broke right through them. I raised eyebrows. I was expelled. I collided with a streetcar & wore a plaster corset. Then a steel one. Smoked cigarettes. Retouched a still life that had once been started. My own eyes this time & nothing more. When I became a dove I married a ten-fingered man. My mother was against it. My father approved. I began to favor huipils & rebozos that accented my mestiza. I sketched the subject I knew best with red blood & yellow dahlia. I painted the background of my life blue. Added a border of birds & flowers & signed it Mexico in pencil on the verso. In Paris they hammered nails into a wall at The Museum. They hung what I had created in the center of a large white room. I attended the opening. I cleaved my way through a great crowd of people. I became the first. The name of the painting is The Frame. These were modern times. I left there feeling unimpressed. They got what they wanted I thought & I sailed home.

Share This Post!