Friday, October 28, 2005

Baci dal san giovanni rotundo

Happy 53rd Birthday, Celestina!

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The nature of love remains intact

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For the first time in nearly three years, I've had to shut down my heart for maintenance. In a small act of visual commitment to this necessary business, I've had to close the cover of the framed photo of the woman I love deeply and can't seem to get over. In the black & white photograph, she is seated in a bathtub, semi-profile, her golden hair pinned up and off of her bare shoulders, which are bowed slightly forward in an instinctive pose of modesty, smiling her perfect Swiss smile, her hazel-blue-green eyes beaming as if bathing were a baptism of sheer joy.

Since receiving it, I've gazed at this photograph every morning and before turning out the light each night. I've spoken to it, conversed with it, cherished that bouyant image of her again and again. She sent it to me during Xmas of 2002, along with a wonderful love letter and a black brassiere scented with her then favorite perfume, Laura. I keep it in a plastic bag so that the scent doesn't dissipate. It was then such an intimate display of affection that I was romantically overwhelmed. We had not yet become lovers, so together the gifts made an indelible impression upon me. They still do.

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So, after not seeing her in the flesh since October 4th of 2003, I have to physically make myself remove my own heart from contention for the Most Crucified Organ of the Year award. This is an award given seemingly anonymously to millions around the world for heroic performances in hanging onto that which is beyond their grasp. I say seemingly because I am forcing myself to admit that I must find a way to quit bestowing this painful accolade upon myself day after day, while blindly and graciously accepting the liability of my deep-seated romantic sensibilities that, like dutiful Roman soldiers, daily nail that whimpering muscle to hopelessly star-crossed wood.

It is no one's fault. Though I have argued with myself as to whether or not distance and culture are reasons enough to bid true love farewell, or if there might be some shortcoming on my part that has conspired to make this love pass into history, I am left with few answers besides All of the above. She has told me that she no longer feels our heart-connection in the way she did two years ago. She has told me that saying this is not easy, that it feels dry and insensitive to express it in this way. I know her heart and know this to be true. It is not easy for her. Nor has it been. I apologize for that. Who knew this love would be so grand?

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I have some dear dear friends who have patiently played invisible violins over the course of these past two years, whose fathomless understanding I appreciate more than I can express. I want to tell them that I have let go with love that which moved within me like kindred fire. I want to tell them I am recovered, that the perennial nature of love remains intact and that everything is possible again. I want to tell them I am ready to see it because I believe it. But this will take a bit more time. However, please feel free, dear friends, to set aside your bows.

The future has been a warden that has kept my past locked up against my living fully in the present. I have to move into and through the past tense in order to arrive at the present one. I have to relearn what the moment is and surrender to the belief that it exists as it is, even if I don't wish to believe it. I have to learn to think of her as a woman I once loved, a soulmate whose beautiful soul cannot be mated to mine in this lifetime. And I hate writing this; hate having to come to this place. A larger part of me feels as if it's dying in this process. It is. And yet, I want it to live, to continue on in some make-believe place I've kept hidden as a domed kingdom of captured snowflakes that comes alive merely by shaking and turning it over.

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Now comes the time I must wish her well in her journeys around the sun, tell her that all my practice in hoping she finds a love deserving of her heart has been for good purpose. I wish for her to know that my love quietly follows more than a respectful distance behind as she goes forth into the future that awaits her, that I wish it to be a blissful future beyond anything either of us can imagine. I wish her to know that I hold her forever in a vital place that nothing and no one else will ever occupy. I will learn to be secret about it. I will serve it out in silent sentences on paper, in blank snow, in empty hectares of winter sky. I will share it mutely with the twilight, whisper nothing too loudly in the dusk.

Outside my windows, autumn sheds from the trees in steady orange and red. I will follow them in this. I will weather winter, somehow, and look to a green spring fueled perhaps by a kind of amorsynthesis. By what unexplainable magic this might occur, I cannot tell. My given task is believing it will happen. Believing has to be enough. It just has to.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The boundaries between nylon and flesh

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Poésie Pour Paris

I want Paris. I want to visit dusty bookstores and dank galleries in the Montmartre, sidle and stroll rudely down Rue de This and Rue de That ducking like a drunken monk through the small archways, staggering into strangers. I want to settle into some under-lit café for a snooty espresso au lait and a scornful French twist, or some overpowdered French toast with French pommes frits and some French's moutarde and watch the lovers French kiss in France as they tip ever so slightly backward so that once, just once in my life, I could really be there when I sang: I see Paris / I see France / I see someone's underpants!

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I want to wear a standard issue floppy beret, a stripy shirt and a penciled-in moustache, swagger and sneer at people for absolutely no reason and really be myself in a place full of other people just like me! I want to smoke ridiculously long cigarettes in a ceramic holder with raven black gloves on, look at the world through half-lidded eyes from a bistro window while Maurice Chevalier croons pervily for Leetle Gurlz and Edith Piaf pours out the blood of breathless lovers in chanteuse moonlight, and all the world is a curvaceously wavering scene of tiltsome cobblestone and hissing gaslight, everything disproportionate, the marauding scents mingling as a Mistral malaise spills up through the Rive Gauche all the way from Provence carrying with it the petaled essence of its fertile fields while feather-hatted women with plum-bruised mouths sit gesturing too grandly at wobbly tables cluttered with half-wilted flowers and chipped cups, their long legs crossed like dozing flamingoes, the naked boundaries between nylon and flesh visibly pressed in hurried trenches of indelicate impassion, their beamforming attentions raking over and past me while I slink furtively seated with a hidden excitement taking it all in between measured sips of a steeping tea whose appellation I can't even pronounce.

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I want to get lost by starlight and cuss the streetlamps out, stumble into some lost scene where crazy French beatniks are improvising dismal poems in nihilist smoke, none of it making any sense but digging it anyway, lean up against a wall in the back and not one head turn around as I knock over a glass; briefly catch the eye of an Ermine-coated woman as she brushes past looking away as if she would never sleep with me in this life or the next unless they dangled her from the top of the Eiffel Tower and only then after they let her drop. I want to see if red has the same characteristics in Paris as it presumes to have here, listen to the mothertongues of ornery birds misunderstanding everything they say, press my face against shop glass and gaze at what hands have made from the light of the world. I want to sit in the rain and listen for the surge of cathedral bells that flood the heart with delirious bronze and the Europic reverbration of the moment until the rivers of my eyes let forth the salts of a common traveler. Lastly, like Cyrano de Bergerac, I want to thrust out a Dordogne-white plume unsullied before the cruelty of this world, and, witnessed solely by the only woman I ever truly loved, die a noble and unheralded death, épée in hand, before madly laughing my way into the starladen French everafter.

Joseph Gallo
October 21, 2005

Monday, October 17, 2005

Horses to set to meadow

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She Looks Across

She looks across the terrain of what is to come. In this youthful season, there is no looking back. The river has run towards the sea far longer than she need grant it measure in her life. She has horses to set to meadow, forests that know her name in the darkness as well as the dawn.
Time lives in the nautilus of her womb as it does in the vastnesses that trail above her blond summer tresses. There will be many who will come to love her. She will choose among them for what some presence might bring. Or not.
She holds creation by the merest breath, and whatever comes to pass is hers to embrace. I have loved her with my imperfectness, held her briefly in the cherish of what lies between whatever happiness I've ever longed for and the starfires that make up our very atoms. It is all I carry of her now, the remembrance of how she felt in my soul's enhance. It will have to suffice.
She looks across the terrain of what is to come and there is a slight pleat of sadness there. As with every dear season, it is far too brief, too riverly, too seastruck to remain for long. Yet I see it, nonetheless. I see it and it breaks my heart with its cruel necessity.

Joseph Gallo
October 17, 2005