When I dream in my next life


Sometimes in dreams

I have tea with a sweet Russian lady.

We sit in our cottage

at our little table

between the open door and window.

The ever fresh days,

white, blue, and yellow,

rush in and around us

with the children.


She was once my wife,

and this cottage and these children were ours.

We meet here

so we can remember, reminisce,


relive that lifetime, feeling

all it’s moments at once,

folded into this place


in time between all times,

resonating even through the fog

of a new life.


I wake up crying.

There’s never enough time.


I lay wondering who she is now.

Could we recognize each other awake?


When I dream in my next life,

I hope I’ll visit this one I live now.

I hope I can sit with Mom and Dad and John,

and hold Lady and Penny while they bark and lick my face

like I just got home.

I hope I’ll read again with the children I taught in my classroom.


When I dream in my next life,

I hope I’ll visit this one I live now.

It was a good one.

Forgive Yourself


It is time to forgive yourself
for all the things you did

do wrong.

Forgive yourself
for all the times
your innocence was
made to feel like guilt.

Forgive yourself
for carrying the boulder of
shame they put on you.
No wonder you couldn’t fly
for all those years.

Forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself
for showing yourself
only to have people tell you
to hide.

Forgive yourself
for every time you shined
with child-like pride
and got pissed on for it.

Forgive yourself
for the times your brilliance
was rejected.
They had to close their eyes,
because they were too accustomed
to seeing in the dark.

Forgive yourself
for the lies
they told about you.

Forgive yourself
for the self-mutilation,
trying to fit
into their categories and concepts.

Forgive yourself
for the self-hatred,
for getting so lost in their madness
that you couldn’t even see yourself anymore.

Forgive yourself
for compromising your integrity,
hoping to be loved.

Forgive yourself
for helping more than you should have,
for being unable to save a lost cause.

Forgive yourself for trying too hard
for too long.

Forgive yourself
for getting so lost.

Forgive yourself
for all the things
you did not do wrong.
Forgive yourself
for not loving yourself
for so long.

You are not bad.

You are good.



I’m always digging

I don’t know why I can’t stop.


Maybe I always want to know what’s underneath.

Or maybe I’m never satisfied with what I see.

There’s got to be more.


Sometimes I see a glint down there

or imagine what’s below those

unremarkable surfaces

and then I just can’t help it.

I dig. I'm a digger.


You can always uncover a new space.

Sometimes it’s bright under there.

Maybe part of me knows that the only way out is through.

Maybe there’s another sky down there.

So I dig.


Often I want to go wandering out wide

and sometimes I do.

But mostly I dig.


I’m getting somewhere.

Maybe a wiser part of me knows

the greater adventure is to go in, inner, in-est.



I'd really love to see you tonight

but, um, actually

I have this really important digging thing I have to work on...”


Maybe I can’t help digging through the past,

piled up and decomposed.

I extract nutrients,

organic matter reduced to elements

that can become new life,

old materials to combine in new ways.

I find artifacts

that can help me see my way backward

and forward

at the same time.


Maybe some part of me remembers that,

while I’ve tried so hard to build myself a

certain way,

the real me

was already built


but got buried long ago,

and its excavation is now an emergency.


Or maybe I’m really just looking for a simple home,

A place to plant myself.

Maybe my secret is that I’m a seed


So often I ache to rise

to new heights.

Instead I just keep digging down deeper.

But maybe a wiser part of me knows

like a tree does

That you can only reach higher if you stretch deeper.


Maybe I’m digging a well.

Maybe I’ll strike the aquifer beneath all forms,

feeding each variation into being.


And one day,

after a lifetime of digging,

if nothing else

I’ll have a grave

and I'll crumble into it,




There’s dignity and purpose in digging it yourself,

starkly aware

that is what you are doing.


July 7: Ben Gallup at Third Place Books/Raconteur

"Ben Gallup will share from his new book of poetry, 'I Want to Meet Your Light.' More than just a reading, he wants everyone (including himself) to heal through poetry, improvisation, and participation. Far from hocus pocus, Ben helps us find ourselves and each other by getting down to the immediate, humble, and human."

There's a bar at the book store.  Let's hang out afterwards!

Sunday, July 7, 2019 at 7:00pm

Third Place Books

5041 Wilson Ave S

Seattle WA 98118


New Book, “I Want to Meet Your Light”

Now available to wholesalers via Ingram

I’m excited to announce my first poetry collection will available online and in independent book stores on July 1, 2019! I’ll be selling advance copies at special events leading up to the general market release.

What readers are saying:

The poems in this collection are raw and earnest. Often conversational, sometimes beautifully minimal, and always honest. What threads them together is the expression of longing and desire in all of us to connect.”

– J. Yoon, Psychotherapist

Most poetry leaves me unmoved; it doesn’t make me feel anything.  Enter Ben Gallup with the most raw, original poetry I’ve read in years. Reading Ben’s poems will rip off emotional scars and twist a knife in your deepest aching, yet somehow leave you buoyed and filled with life. His simple words evoke beauty and love side-by-side with heartache and yearning. His preoccupations are life-and-death matters: rebirth, identity, meaning, alienation, trauma, nostalgia, growth. Ben makes you feel human. Ben makes you feel.”

-John Michael, Firefighter
Book Specs

ISBN/SKU: 9781733966115

5.5 x 8.5 in or 216 x 140 mm

Perfect Bound on Creme w/Matte Lam

Page Count: 84

Spine Width: 0.20120  in

Weight: 0.261  lbs

No Compensation


An excess of one kind of strength


weakness somewhere else.


Find where you have become too strong,

rigid, brittle,

and you will find your weakness

in its shadow.


Compensation does not correct the imbalance.


It reinforces the imbalance.


It is a temporary solution,

an emergency measure to save you from disaster.

But left uncorrected

it becomes its own disaster.


You are soft in ways you should be stronger.

You are too strong in ways you should be softer.


Let your brick walls breathe and stretch.

Let them become flesh again.


Seize your weakness.

Plunge it right into your frenzy of fears.

Let it stay there and struggle

and tear and resist and persevere

day after day.

Let it become strong like a tree,

bending with every wind

and always returning to impeccable posture.


Life needs structure to flow.

Life needs structure to flow.

I Could Tell He Never Saw Me


I could tell he never saw me
because his sight couldn’t reach me,
because it stopped before it left his eyes,
because it couldn't shine
past the clouds
in his pupils.
It just reflected right back
into to his self-contained world.

I could tell he never saw me
because his sight couldn’t reach me,
because the usual traumas of becoming a man
had blotted out the pure and tender lens
he was born with.

I could tell he never saw me
because his sight couldn’t reach me,
because his light couldn’t escape
the gravity of his own pain
and hunger and despair.

I wanted to help
but there was nothing I could do;
he couldn’t even see me,
because he couldn’t see
beyond himself.