Friday, August 05, 2005

What we are given to do

Black Marks At Midnight

So many poems written in the dead of night.
The dead of night. Nothing is more alive than
that which thrives in the dead of night.
I have written blindly, trusting the shapes
to a darkness that taught me how letters formed
to make meaning from their intricate articulations.

As the stars express themselves while dying, so
have I given myself this sullen task of moving
pen across the empty parsecs of my heart.
I have used ink in the name of blood.
I have used paper in the name hope.
I have used time in the name of remembrance.

In this way have I befriended both joy and despair.
What matters so much matters so little. I was
indentured to the writing of poems early in my life.
I have complained rarely. It is simply, and sometimes,
a selfish duty. Many times of late, I have asked myself:
Why have you spent so much time doing this? The answers
are often harsh and vilifying. Yet I continue doing so, making
fewer and fewer apologies, even when I don’t mean it.

My life has been overrun by regret. My children
have grown and are growing and it seems as if I
hardly know them. It is the source of much of my pain.
Like my father, I have run to a state that begins with an O.
And like him, I cannot outrun pain with shoes of fear.
He no longer needs to run. I have spent much of these
past few days lying down as he will for the rest of eternity.

Sundown may bring the careful scratches of black marks
at midnight. There is so much to go over, you know.
So much to worry, to wonder, so much to outwait. If you
are roused from your rest to hear the cat at the window,
the dog at the back door, think not of me making kindred
sounds when our kind are given to sleep. I will not ask
a saucer of milk or a dry place to curl into. All will be quiet
soon enough and the charge given poets to perform will
find their cease and stillness. We will look deeply into places
happened upon only in nightmare, set fear to lines with

order and grace so that morning may find all that would
take you dispelled in a blossom of fragrant sun.

It is what we do.

Joseph Gallo
August 5, 2005


Anonymous aharamanx parried...

This one absolutely takes my breath away.

August 06, 2005 3:17 AM  
Blogger ~Just Michelle~ parried...

"...I cannot outrun pain with shoes of fear."


August 09, 2005 3:50 PM  
Blogger ankhara99 parried...

I love this, Joseph. Absolutely beautiful.

August 10, 2005 9:46 AM  

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