Sunday, July 24, 2005

Those with the blood for it

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This poem is for Kim, as noted below. When I wrote it, we were not even officially dating yet, but still testing the waters. That was 1999. She had stopped by my place in Santa Barbara on her bicycle, all sleek and sexy in her biking attire, and was on her way to the cemetery. Cemetery?, I had asked. She told me she had met a man there named Leo and that she would sit and talk with him. Of course he'd been dead for 34 years, but that didn't seem to matter. It certainly didn't to me. I've had many conversations with dead people. They are treasure troves of sound advice.

I've lost track of Kim now. I think she may be angry with me, or fed up. I visited her last November in Santa Fé, a few months before she sold her house and moved her art and remaining things down to her father's house in Texas. It was a sweet visit and I took some amazing photos of her during my stay, some of which I've posted earlier here at Drachenthrax. She was supposed to be heading for Paris. I've not heard from her in months despite wailing pleas for her to write me. I hope she's okay and safe wherever she is. And I hope she's in Paris. This is for you, Kim.

Camera Follows Her To Gravestone
(Leo Leroy Ingram: 1873 - 1965)
For Kim Konopka

She sits in the straddle
of the stone, spandex and sweat,
having biked a lifetime to the cemetery
for a chat with a dead man

she never knew.

Leo was a wheel
that ran through three wars,
was lucky to have been born
just after the one we call civil.

And now he has her
to sit him: her small frame,
jaguar and spokes, water
bottle and energy bar, wet where
a woman’s balance spans the beam.

And they talk Hillary & Bill,
an indiscreet dress, confessions
and art and those with the blood for it,
share jokes about leprechauns

and girl's track teams, Sudan
and shower pressure, and whether
there is room enough beside him
for the memories she'd like to lay to rest.

She cools down,
sun slips into seatide blue,
camera dollies, pulls focus,
closes tight for the hero shot,
and somewhere in all this,
Leo scootches over,
smiling.

Joseph Gallo
August 1998

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