The Force of Gravity

The Force of Gravity

The Force of Gravity

We didn’t realise the gravity of the situation

the impact of releasing a single word,
a flutter
faintly at first but slowly
the breeze from the butterfly effect
turned into a cyclonic wind


gravity holds
planets in orbit of the sun
you were the sun
as we were the planets


there was a supernova
a stella explosion

what was before
and what remains,
a mirage
that is life
without gravity.


Inimitable and wondrous poet Paul Squires of blog gingatao died two years ago on this day at the age of 46 (1963-2010). He once blogged about removing the word gravity from his lexicon – a decision which may have held more weight than we all realised.

I wrote this poem after his death along with a memorial piece:

Paul Squires, wise and wondrous Brisbane-based poet, acclaimed blogger and author of ‘The Puzzle Box’ died on the 28th of July 2010 at the age of 46.

Paul had been writing poetry and prose since the age of sixteen. His work appeared in many journals including Extempore, Wordsalad, Bolts of Silk and foam-e.

He was the curator of the innovative gingatao blog, an online forum for his creations, which had an incredibly loyal and international following. Paul was voted poet laureate of the universe by his fans from the blogosphere in 2009.

Paul was a jazz poet! He lived and loved jazz and this permeated his unique style of poetry. He would scatter words onto the page in a loose, rhythmic and joyous formation, casting the straitjacket of rules into the bin with gusto.

He listened to jazz and wrote his poetic accompaniment with style and panache. His favourite musicians, such as Keith Jarrett, Moondog and Thelonious Monk, would turn up in his poems with the spontaneity of improvised notes. He believed that time was not linear and his poetry flowed on a similar trajectory.

His first collection ‘The Puzzle Box’ is an incredible work of art and he described it as ‘a non-linear multidimensional text based on the relationship between sound, music and language’. He was near completion of a second book of poetry.

Paul Squires was a generous, gentle and kind man with a terrific sense of humour and deeply held convictions. He once said “life, like jazz, is an improvised art form”. He will be greatly missed but his magical words will live on.

I wrote this poem to honour my friend and source of inspiration Paul Squires.


31 thoughts on “The Force of Gravity

  1. That is exactly how we feel when we lose someone with whom we shared an orbit. Everything feels wrong and we suffer the anxiety of being in a strange place alone.
    Boy oh boy! you really nailed this one!

  2. His spirit is with us all… long may he ramble! I have been listening to some jazz this morning myself to let its energy course through me…

  3. Oh Gabrielle, this poem moved me to tears. Your poem reached into that place of absence with whispered consolation, while sharing words of kindred spirit-ship. And then I read your memorial piece, so beautiful. Thanks for sharing something so special.

  4. i remember that gravity thing, what an interesting thought that is/was.
    the idea of dropping words out of ones vocabulary, what a piece of work!
    he was amazing. the poem is wonderful, for remembering Paul so beautifully, it expresses so well, the gravitatious thing about having a gem in your pocket and then somehow it slips away, because of a hole you didnt know was there, and gone.
    but not really gone, still here and in memory ❤

    1. It was an amazing idea – a courageous idea for a poet to be throwing words away, willy nilly 😉 but gravity snuck back a few times after that first post on gravity, tipota – haha – as Paul would say ‘I am relying on the unreliabiliity of memory’. If only we could have suspended gravity the day of his death (and fixed a heart under attack) – he may still be with us today (that was my first thoughts on writing this poem way back then, in those first days when we didn’t know what had happened – but gravity is always there – there was nothing we could have done). Thanks tipota 🙂

  5. Beautiful commemoration of a great poet, yes, a jazz poet and we who circled closely in his orbit, well, some of us seem to have scattered to the wind, “the center cannot hold” while others seem to hold tight to each other. He brought people together through his poetry and the force of his personality. The world is not the same.

    1. No, it’s not the same Squirrel – he was such a character, on top of his wonderful poetry and prose – his blogosphere was blown in all different directions – Kaboom!!!

  6. Lovely poem and post. I only crossed paths with Paul once or twice – he left the nicest comment on one of my posts – but his generosity of spirit has stayed with me. It’s nice to be reminded of him.

    1. Thanks bluebee – it came from the ether of those days. That memorial I wrote was published in Extempore – which was very appropriate – a jazz magazine that Paul was published in a couple of times – the editor asked me to write one for Paul – it was lovely of her to think of him like that.

  7. A great tribute to Paul, & carrying his message forward. Your poem says so much more than the words used – very clever.

    1. Thanks Benedicte – Paul was very enamoured by your art (especially the pictures of the chickens 😉 ) – he knew we were working on the stories together and was very happy about that.

  8. I like the poem very much Gabe. I’m late to this poetry party and I am not familiar with Paul’s work though I now feel I should be … I will look.

    Thank you.

  9. I still think about Paul a lot. He truly was one in a million. What I liked about him the most was his generosity of spirit. He was an intellectual guy and must have shook his head at some of the idiotic things I wrote but he was always very encouraging and supportive. In many ways he was a muse and a mentor and that type of person is in short supply these days. I won’t ever forget him. Hope you are enjoying yourself, Paul, writing jazz riffs with Monk in heaven xxxxx

    1. I am sure he never would have shook his head at you Selma! He must be happy with all those jazz musos in heaven – playing piano, drinking hic! and cavorting with the bar staff (haikushmaiku pour me another one) 😉

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