Friday, March 04, 2005

Shaping wonders in the void

This poem was written for Kim Konopka, a fine poet and artist with whom I was in love with for several years. I still love her. She knows.

Kim once told me the story of a mild October night when she attended an outdoor poetry reading in Carpinteria, California. I just happened to be one of several readers. Kim and I weren't even friends at that point in time, but had been introduced some years earlier, so I'm told. The night of the poetry event, I was with the incomparable Mary Hoffman, in love, ensconced in togetherness.

When it came time for my reading, I had several poems I'd written for Mary at the ready and swooned them into the night air with the considerable sum of my dramatic prowess.

Kim remained tucked in the shadows and wondered who I was reading these poems to as she could not see Mary seated. Kim had a husband then and told me that sometime during my reading she realized she could no longer continue in her marriage.

She imagined that I was reading these poems of love to her.

The way Kim tells the story has much more impact than these few hurried words. This poem came from the seed of her story.

The Shadows Of Heaven

If you arrive late to stand in shadows at the back
and there make yourself one with the incontour of night,
then you will have to lie next to me in my black bed

as I tell you flinting stories that pace the acceleration
of the fleshless climb toward the splitting of atoms
in the twinned beak of Cygnus and wrap you within

the nethered shroud of all that remains nameless
in the expel of your breathing, vespers of chaos
falling from your lips, the incoherent consonance

of god or creator or divine presence, the holy see
of your sealed eyes shut against all the cindered spark
they make in my name alone, in the supreme being

of my touch, as I make you again and again
from the refashion of my ribs, cast you in rarefied muds
that pour forth in primal lathers upwelling from my skin,

limb by limb, the architecture of your unborn desire
shaping wonders in the void as I move upon the face
of your darkest waters, fissured deep and unsprung,

pushing the tectal plates of a continent becoming,
the unseen landscape of your longing, out and up,
featured now in peaking ramparts and lushing flora

before the new world of your imminent arrival,
and all because you came to stand late in shadows,
bereft of form, to sup these words I say here now

between Alberio and Deneb, the spread wings
of high birds that swan in distant fire, their endless
migrations beginning anew each nightfall,

late too for somewhere to rest in black beds
of storied stations along the transient routes
that lead to the late shadows of Heaven.

Joseph Gallo
September 1998


Blogger Kyle parried...

Yeah, I remember that reading, if it's the one I think. There was a lot of magic in those readings on that little patio. Your poem shines with that kind of onyx light.

March 06, 2005 10:54 PM  
Blogger joseph parried...

That's right, Kyle: You were there! Of course. What great October evenings those were, always on the eve of the Carpinteria Avocado Festival.
And our indefatigable Abigail administering every one with such grace and expertise. Whatta gal!

March 07, 2005 7:10 PM  

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