Sunday, January 02, 2005

In this infinite minute

In these days of charity and heartfire, of family and loneliness, in the widening aftermath of tragedies both natural and national, the new year has arrived. It is 2005. Inconceivable. It’s hard to watch Oregon snow sifting quietly from the sky while thinking of the magnitude of the recent loss of human life in Southeast Asia.

As I let the flakes settle and melt on my face, I am shrouded in images of ashfall at Bergen-Belsen, the crematoria ruthlessly elementalizing countless incinerated souls; caught in a time warp of silent fallout at Hiroshima & Nagasaki; imagining what horror fell from the sky 65 million-years ago when a dinosaur-killing asteroid slammed into the Earth at Chixalub ejecting a deathly fume of dust and flame that extinguished the sun and nearly all life on our azure blue globe.

But this is snow, only snow. And, aside from glaciers that dream in the deep meditations of their icebound sleep, it remembers nothing.

After a quiet, cuddlesome New Year’s Eve at home with Celestina, savoring her home-made tetrazzini and Italian pane d’olio oliva, watching the French film, Amelie, talking and laughing about a gazillion things, I spent the late afternoon of this first day alone with Bogart & Bergman, sobbing for their heart-rending love of sacrifice and circumstance in Casablanca. I wept like a partisan whose need to fight has been victoriously removed. There’s something about these themes that get to me more now than ever before. Ever since I fell in love with Nicole.

I thought about our farewell in Switzerland, at the Luzern Bahnhof the morning of March 10, 2003, recollecting every wrenching detail: the image of us hugging goodbye, crying and kissing each other that cold, rainy morning as I waited to board the train that would take me to Zurich for my flight home.
The structure of the memory goes like this: We are both in the doorway of the coach, holding and embracing one another, saying our thank-yous and looking into one another’s souls, which swim just below the teary surface of our reddened eyes, trying to be brave and unblubbering. Then, as our fingers slide slowly across the terrain of our last touch, I watch her walk out of the standing coach and onto the busy landing barely moments before the train is scheduled to pull out.

I bend slightly forward to follow her through the passenger windows as she moves sideways and backwards, our eyes locked on each other, both of us waving and blowing our final kisses through the air. And as I think to myself that these are the last moments my eyes will behold her until late summer, trying to savor the quickly vanishing point in time, an eternal minute passes.

In this infinite minute, as I resign myself to settle into the heart pain I must carry all the way home, Nicole suddenly reappears in the doorway to kiss and hug me just once more before the train at last departs. That image always gets me. It was the most romantic moment of my life. And there’ve been many with Nicole.

Thus, the following poem for her, as a testament to romantics everywhere forever sealed in the tender histories of their time together as lovers. Such a grand thing, Love. No pain is more beautiful.

This Awesome Burden Of Knowing

the dear
I have

of you
bring such worry
to my brow.
For that

is where
is barrowed
into the deep

I may never
hold you,


Joseph Gallo
July 13, 2004


Anonymous Anonymous parried...

You always do that for me. Remind me how grateful I am for the wonder of love and break my heart at the same time.

I miss you, Joseph.


January 03, 2005 11:11 AM  
Blogger Yibbyl parried...

I swallowed hard and held back tears while reading about "the most romantic moment" of your life. Nicole certainly gave you a beautiful gift. I feel for you as you reluctantly fast, unable to satisfy your hunger. Yet, I know you are a lucky man, with a cornucopia of the love you desire waiting for you!

May time fly, Joseph!

January 03, 2005 8:47 PM  
Blogger joseph parried...

To G: Whoever built LOVE, certainly had some strange ideas about what it should feel like. Have you ever wondered what other elements they might have left out?

To Yibbyl: You said it perfectly ~ fasting before feasting always makes one more grateful and the nourishment more vital. Thanks for reminding me that such abundance not only awaits me, but all of us who dare sacrifice a heart to be fed in the feast of Love.

January 06, 2005 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous parried...

The biggest thing that I think is missing is the absolute knowledge of what your lover is feeling. And I mean knowing what that feeling feels like to him or her. Because if we did, then love would never hurt carelessly. And the little careless hurts wouldn't compound into mistrust or resentment, thereby diminishing the closeness between two people who would never intentionally hurt one another.

What do you believe was left out?


January 12, 2005 1:56 PM  
Blogger joseph parried...

A great question re-posed, Ms. G. If knowing, absolutely, what your lover felt, would somehow change the individual and shared experience we have of love, would it be worth risking to know with such certainty?

I very well may have to write a poem about it to find out. But that usually leads to more questions than answers.

Ultimately, I think we must operate within darkness as well as light. Perhaps love must exist in the shadowed margins where the smooth edges of beauty, as well as the harsh ones, can better be seen and felt.

It's what we poets and artists have been chasing for centuries. It's the unknowing, the mystery, that binds us ever closer. I wouldn't have it any other way. ;-)

January 12, 2005 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous parried...

Hi Joseph, couldnt talk to you about my feelings last night, but after viewing the pictures of the love of your life and hopefully,as your dreams wish;for your future, Inow know what I need to do for my self, I need to let go of my dreams of a future, you need to go on with your dreams, or obcession, My heart is too fragile for this. Celestina, Ciao

February 10, 2005 12:15 PM  
Blogger joseph parried...

All of our hearts are too fragile for this. But somehow, they withstand. It's the nature of hearts.

I was once told that a heart needs to break in order for all the love and light within it to emerge. Somehow, I understood that, though I didn't like the mechanism or the method.

In order for me to move toward or away from something or someone, I must write about it. It is my way. I would never consciously hold anyone's future hostage for any reason. We must do what we must do.

And as it is painful for me, I understand and I wish you well. I hope we can continue to be friends, nonetheless. I do.

February 11, 2005 9:06 PM  

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