Nick DePascal: Letter to a Sick Friend

In Contest, Finalists - 2011, Poetry on November 17, 2011 at 6:19 am

Nick DePascal was born and raised in Tucson, AZ, where he received his Bachelors in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona in 2004.  For the last six years he’s lived in Albuquerque with his wife and son enjoying the hiking and camping and acclimating to New Mexican food, all the while pining for a good Sonoran hot dog. Currently he’s working towards his MFA in Poetry and teaching at the University of New Mexico.  His poetry and book reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, Rattle, Rain Taxi, The Colorado Review, Sugar House Review, Tucson Weekly, and more.

Twitter Handle: ndepascal

Know the Poet:

GSLR: Favorite Poet(s) –

It seems like my favorite poets are always changing and rotating, but right now I’d say Tony Hoagland, Brenda Hillman & Michael Dickman are up there.

GSLR: The last book of poetry you enjoyed was –

Tomas Transtromer – New Collected Poems

GSLR: Themes you usually write about –

Death, illness, art and the many varied combinations of the three.

GSLR: If you didn’t write poetry you would…

Probably still be toiling away in an office job and slowly going insane.

GSLR: 2 poems you enjoyed reading in GSLR –

Ariana D. Den Bleyker’s “The Conquest of Bread” & Christine Herzer’s “The Guru. The Tampon. The Secret”.

Letter to a Sick Friend – Nick DePascal

There’s no hope for the black boats
circling the whirlpool—

they’re too far out and the radios
are broken, speaking in static

with the occasional drift of voices.
Who here, with a show

of hands, has ever found themselves
lost—can’t account for hours

or days, tossed on the waves, deposited
on some bleak medicinal isle—

wake here wake, Prospero! That’s your cue
to get on stage with your books

and your rags and make something
happen. Confess confess!

Yes! That is the only way to make
the boat row itself, to swim

towards the shore with arms of fire,
pulling and pulling,

leveraging bone against the blank
and salty expanse of ocean

before you. Already the skin around
your lips is tightening, all the names

like white foam slowly disappearing.
Write them in a book

to make it better; to make you remember
the smell of pitch: your way home.

Tonight the black boats will sink;
tomorrow they will sail again.


Nick DePascal’s Letter to a Sick Friend is the Golden Sparrow Poetry Prize 2011 Finalist. ‘Letter to a Sick Friend’ has been nominated for the Best of the Net in 2012 (Sundress Publication) by our editors.

  1. […] 3)      Letter to a Sick Friend by Nick DePascal […]

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