Monday, January 10, 2005

Time machines of fathomless ink

I'm up late this well-past-midnight. Outside, it is snow quiet. Inside, Tracy Chapman is singing The Promise, over and over. I can hear my heart doing things it was never meant to do: stretching and creaking, soughing in soft rips as if it were paper made of the luminous sheddings of a lacewing sommervogel.

Somehow, it feels good to ache like this. It reminds me of my own fragility, the tenuousness with which I move through each delicate moment. I am up editing some old and new work, rewriting a few half-inked poems, trimming hangnails, as we poets call them.

Somehow, I managed to compile three poems, one brand new, another written a month ago, and one from 2000, for submission for the Oregon Peace Poetry Award being offered by Oregon PeaceWorks in Salem. I will mail them tomorrow, one week before the deadline. If one of them is selected, I'll post the culprit. If none are, I'll post all three.

Drowning myself in the abysses of my own work, I'm again reminded of how poems are time machines constructed of fathomless ink. And again, I am surprised at how easily I am lead to tears and longing amid brief reprieves of genuine happiness that all move through me like a kind of comforting spirisphere.

There are few things I love more than sitting up late and alone, at my keyboard or making good old-fashioned pen-on-paper sounds, the perfect music (not too loud) sussing the room, Time unhooked from the zizzing springs and tiny gears that encumber clocks with their compulsive cadences, and all my senses surrendered to the possibility of expression before me. Very few things, indeed.

So tonight, as I moved through Time revisiting lovers and old friends, I came across the poem below, written just twenty-two days after Nicole left America for Switzerland. Some days I wonder how much longer I can withstand being this jumble of nerve endings, if long-distance love can somehow join this unbridgeable gap.

Love is another lesson to be relearned, over and over.
I guess there just isn't any other way .

This Kiss
For Nicole

I take the sun
by her million cheeks,
kiss fire into
her slow repose
as she slips beyond
the shadowing houses,
sets ghosted tracings
of empty trees
onto white adobe
as if making such art
were her sole purpose.

She responds like Paris
to my pressed imploring,
whispers intently
Ce baiser est pour vous
before slipping into
a failing sleep
half a dream
and a world away.

I will take sun for you.
I will surrender
the sphere of my skin.
I will close my eyes
and allow her helium
angels to swim
the quiet round light,
drown in black pools
of Heaven’s blind side
while I circle the skies
above a wet recollection
of the dragon that slept
your Swissoring bed,
drink the pressured immerse
of your nebulous lips,
praise stone that weeps water
in the curve of your cry.

This I will do
for this

Joseph Gallo
October 25, 2003


Blogger Kyle parried...

I can relate to that love of solitary night, pen-on-paper sounds. I'm there way too often; there are costs in the next day's consciousness. Beautiful poem!

January 11, 2005 9:58 AM  
Blogger newwavegurly parried...

Your words never fail to find their way into my heart and mind, Joseph.

And I still enjoy the sound of pen (or pencil) on paper as well. Both when I draw and when I write.

January 11, 2005 4:58 PM  

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