Elisa Gabbert

Do you ever get that feeling like something bad just happened but

you forgot what it was?


I want to say something negative about it.


I want to say something, but nothing comes to mind that’s not a

cliché or a lie.


I want someone to apologize to me, but not a specific person, and

not for a specific thing.


I want to go to sleep and wake up and not be a terrible person.


I want to donate my personality to science.


I don’t particularly want to suffer and then die in a war.


I don’t want TO DIE, I just want to BE DEAD.


Wish my mind could be freed from this rickety carcass.


I wish “war” didn’t have such noble connotations.


I don’t understand what’s so great about eclipses; we don’t want for

signs of doom.


I’ll go gentle into that good night if I fucking want to.


I want nothing so much as a real operatic cry. Like, on stage.


I wish, at the end of each day, the judges would tell me I’m “safe.”


I wish I was in a hotel right now.


I never close the windows on planes.


People who close the windows on planes: I guess you don’t want to

feel melancholy and golden and sublime?


I always wanted dramatic, deep-set eyes and a widow’s peak.


Now, of course, I want to walk into the sea.


I don’t want to feel good, I want to feel sad. Happiness lately feels

mostly beside the point.


It’s not that I think I deserve punishment. Just weird fleeting wishes

for tragedy. I don’t want people to get what they deserve?


What’s it called when you want bad things to happen?


Life is usually good/bad/good/bad. So when things are good it’s like,

Well, this isn’t going to last!


When things are bad you can enjoy yourself.


When things are bad do you ever secretly wish for them to get worse?


Like I wanted it to be the same, but more so. I want to feel more of

what I’m already feeling.


Maybe it’s a subconscious wish.


Part of me never wanted it to end.


I wish rich people would stop having beautiful children.


General relativity says that “objects move toward regions where time

elapses more slowly; in a sense, all objects ‘want’ to age as slowly as



Remember when people used to wish for world peace?


I’m making a wish as I throw this nickel in the trash.


I wish men wore ruffs and kilts and cummerbunds. Give me

something to look at …


I want a house with a tree in it.


I want to wear lipstick in the woods.


I want to relive my life, but not for the first time. Again, from the



I like the idea that someone might think I have impersonators.


I guess I want someone to think I’M the impersonator.


I want to be famous for being obscure. I’m getting closer to this.


I just took a nap and dreamed about it (not kidding).


Just because you fantasize about something doesn’t mean you

actually want it. People don’t know what they want!


Please correct me if I’m wrong, I want to be wrong.


They want you to shut up because your lived experience of

oppression is boring.


They always want to help you meet your “goals.” But I don’t have


Elisa Gabbert (@egabbert) is a poet and essayist and the author of The Word Pretty; L’Heure Bleue, or the Judy Poems; The Self Unstable; and The French Exit.