Old Toll Road

from by Gabriel Mortali



Low wind, hollow. Tame hair, raised. The magic of the early morn.
From a sea glass bottle that was cracked and drained.
Steel eyes cloak a soft alarm.
Have all your names rung out too long?
Oh, I cannot face the sun today.

Choose a direction but you don’t know why.
Take a cloudy breath and watch the lights drag by.
Just leave me shaking by the ocean side.

It isn’t rote, but is it in you? Stuck in your throat? Lies on your skin.

Please, please hang on.
Like laurel leaves. With your mother begging, “Please, please hang on.”

Watching him scratching over the ebb and rise. The chilling sucking of the pushing tide.
Frozen with barnacles and a swollen pride.

It isn’t rote, but is it in you? Stuck in your throat? Hung from your chin?
Resounding “no” in every sinew. Where did it go? Oh, nerve of tin.
Caught on too slow to keep it in you—maybe with rope, or stuck with pins.
But I must have lost it in the snow by that old toll road.


from Glaucus, released March 14, 2017



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Gabriel Mortali New Haven, Connecticut

Gabriel Mortali is a singer-songwriter whose musical endeavors have been greatly influenced by the titans of acoustic guitar and rock-and-roll, and have also been pitched in one direction or another by those of smaller stature in genres not quite as defined. His approach is simple and soulful. His words, often cryptic and sparse, are there to reach the listener perhaps only in fragments. ... more

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