Sunday, July 23, 2006

The bitter things that remind us

As I prepare to head out on a roadtrip with my friend JoAnn towards Mesa Verde by way of Sunset Crater, Wupatki, Monument Valley and places fancy and serendipity might tug us, I find myself still tracing circles in the sand from time to time. That part of the Southwest last felt the light trod of my feet some three years ago now. It was a different world then. In reconciling one's heart murmurs over a persistent love relegated now to memory and remembrance, it is perhaps fitting that it occasionally rises up like a thunderhead spawning in the distance seemingly from nothing at all but heavy unstable air. This poem came from that time, a time of sun and rain when we were alive and deeply in love.

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Weeping In Page
For Nicole

In a northern Arizona motel room, we found ourselves
awash in the heat of our hearts, something and something
set flood to the night and we wept like raw stormburst.
I can hardly remember what it was that moved through us.

We drove sundown from the scattered monoliths of Dineh heritage, up along the wastelands of a country reformed by an absent conscience, moving through empty hectares eroded by the blood of the dispossessed that cut canyons and scarred runnels deep enough to tap red rivers in an unforeseen irony that in time would deliver us safely here.

We ran across the street for film and apple juice, something sweet
to sugar the ache, the ache that set our pores to drain the summer
night from a gather of cloudlessness that could never have summoned such a deluge. Our eyes, a swollen stain of wept clay smeared beneath the harsh lights of the supermarket, found the welcome silence comforting as we stood in line amid deflected small talk and the tangible worries that visit people as they wait for provisions that never promise a single tomorrow.

So we drank the amber blood of apples, lying side by side, ate chocolate and the bitter things that remind us that only Time has a honeyed structure, an intractable dulcitude present in the hour we spend for no other reason than to spend it together in whatever rapture overwhelms us, whatever weather ensuddens the cloaking sky whose horizons remain drawn and undetermined as the kisses we skirmish along the ridges of our skin, yielding gladly to sounds that swallow and reswallow us, over and over.

Why we wept in Page, I cannot recall. It was surely due in part to a flooded knowledge of too brief a time together, in part to the eternities we tried to fit into each night, again and again, as if they could be contained in one or a thousand. They say it seldom rains in the desert, in a late northern Arizonan desert. I know of one night that continues raining to this very day.

Joseph Gallo
February 18, 2004

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Quiet stations found in companionship

This is for my dear friend JoAnn, who lost one of her companions earlier this month. This is for all of us who have ever known the love of an animal and the bond that never breaks.

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There were the days they hunted with us, the long hours spent
flushing underbrush, scenting spoor and leavings, catching
something invisible on winds that carried little or nothing for us.

There were trusted eyes, the vigilance of loyalty and the quiet
stations found in companionship. Tails that wagged the world in
ways a lie cannot intrude or dispel kept the cadence of feral love

calibrated and constant, measured by paw and pant the true natures we share. Whose ears to amend our own? Whose raucous alarms to warn and keep wary all that would dare bring harm or hector?

There are passages that make their way right through the middle of us. By fur and furlong, worlds created together remain intact, carry beyond their time the hillworn dimming that suddens to make room for nightfall.

It is here we must tread, the lasting acres summoned and encompassed by those whose time, though brief, continues essential and undiminished by what the world would seek to take. They belong entirely to us now.

The world must fend for itself.

Joseph Gallo
July 6, 2006