top of page
  • Rough Draft TX Team

The Personhood Project Episode 14: Mag Gabbert

This month, the amazing Mag Gabbert sits down with our host, Aaron Tyler Hand, to discuss her two chapbooks Minimal Poems and The Breakup, as well as her brand new debut collection Sex Depression Animals. The two talk about the difference in sitting down to write from an emotional place versus forcing oneself to write in a poetic form. To this point, Gabbert speaks on the importance of finding a creative space where you feel okay to play, have fun, and be a bit messy. Going deeper into this, she talks about the value of seeing poetry as making art and the gravity of writing towards the unknown. Hit play to learn more about all of this as well as her invented erasure form!

Mag Gabbert:

It's important to think, what kind of angles, demons, and guides am I bringing into the [writing] process.


Born King

it’s the end of 2022

the year of the tiger

they kept me locked-up

denying me my god given

right to support my family

I was captured and kidnapped

forced against my will

to be in a place made of

iron and concrete

I used to see animals

at the zoo and thought

to myself that that could

never be me now look

at me at the beginning

of 2023 a lion

king of the jungle


the tiger of the year for me was the police

everybody with a badge was after me

hands up don't shoot they say

but before your hands go up they shoot just pray

a tiger is something you see in the wild

but the tiger i see riding around with a badge & a smile

so if you see a tiger don't be alarmed

we all know somebody that got attacked by a tiger in a uniform


I see track marks, it’s a bright day today but I can’t

escape the dark needles gnaw away my innocence so far

to the point I want to die but my heart keeps beating

feeling like I’ll never know the reasons why.

In jail I sit in my cell I shit wishing I

could be home so I get on the phone but my calls

aren’t answered so to slumber I go. These tigers

are the reason for this time they tick & tock like

hands on a clock. Fucking tigers.

Disaster Recipe

This recipe I’m about to share

with you is made with love

so keep in mind that the Heart

is the main ingredient to this

secret recipe. So without further

ado, first you get your Heart

and put it in the pot. Bring the

flame to a real low temperature

just enough to hear the meat

sizzle. Remember you don’t want

to over cook it. 2nd you add

the spices which in this recipe

will be emotion and pain. Last

you add alcohol and rage.

Now you can turn up the heat

to the pot until it starts to

boil and bubble. This is best

served warm with a glass of

red wine. Now take it to the one

you care and love the most and

watch her take that first bite

before you collapse to the floor

cold and dead because alcohol & pain

emotion & rage is the recipe for


Dead Dreams

Put everything on the table. Don’t forget to wash

your hands. We gon start off with a big cup of

impossible. Add just a little to much will have you

intoxicated. Grab the small spoon of opportunities

and mix it with nonexistence. Pour trouble and

negative in a big pot then turn the stove on

high. We gon let that boil for 10 minutes. While we

wait bring out the cutting board so we can chop up

1 bag of bad decision. Move that to the side

now chop up a half bar of mistake. Turn

the pot on low now add your ingredients. To top

everything off add a teaspoon of poverty. At

this point everything should be done. That's the

recipe we used to kill our dreams.


ok start w/ one happy innocent, undeveloped kid

good, now add it to the large pot & prepare your bad

ingredients. A dose of sexual abuse comes first. Then

peel off the happiness slowly but surely cut off all

innocence until you’re left with a slightly developed

teenager. Now pour a gallon of whiskey on it & be sure

to completely submerge. Bring to a slight simmer but be sure

not to kill it or you’ll ruin it. Now add a spoonful of

cocaine & stir. Keep the heat low so it cooks evenly. Just as

the simmer starts to boil add a couple spoonfuls of heroin.

Cut the heat off & throw it in the fridge for a day or

two, the same way a cop throws a drunk in jail. Once

you’ve forgotten about it then you’ll know it’s ready.

This is the receipt for a fucked up mind.


she’s stuck with me like i am at attention

want to forget you like you say that’s my song

wish i never confronted real with real

stuck with you like the word who

wish i never linked up a voices energy that nude

and goes for a side of wicked and she still has no clue

when i know it's the truth

Writing Prompts:

  1. Mag Gabbert uses her poem “Rat” to speak on the things she is hoping to leave behind in the new year. She uses the rat as a metaphor for many of the people and places that caused her harm in the previous year. In the Chinese zodiac, 2022 was the Year of the Tiger. Now that it is 2023, think of the metaphorical tigers that hunted you last year. Write a poem about those tigers and what you hope that 2023 will bring to replace them.

  2. In n the poem “Goat”, Gabbert invokes the animals in several different ways. We see her speak on the tragedy surrounding the animal in lines 12 and 13, and in some lines we can’t help but feel as if it’s used similar to the acronym G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time). To connect these different ideas she uses anaphora, or the repeated word at the beginning of the line. Playing off of this idea, write a poem about what makes you the G.O.A.T. Be playful and try to include self-deprecating humor so that it doesn’t come across as being too cocky. Also, mimic Gabbert’s anaphora and use “Because” at the beginning of each line.

  3. For “Recipe for Quiet Ferocity”, Gabbert creates a poem that imitates a cooking recipe. Instead of edible ingredients, she uses imagined personal attributes and events to reflect on aspects of her life that she wishes were different. Take this wonderful idea from Gabbert, and write a poem where you create a recipe for a better life. What things would you need to gather to make this better life? What things from your past would need to be different for you to make it? What actions need to happen in the future for you to make it? Put these ingredients together to show us how to make this perfect life.

17 views0 comments


bottom of page