Saturday, October 28, 2006

Muse of magnetia

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In The Time Of Flood & Beauty

she swims
through spring shadow
blue as milklight
a goddess
in bitter worship
beneath the ache

of water

above you
the delicate woman

her black breast
of power

vision falls

a summer gown

Joseph Gallo
April 2005

Monday, October 23, 2006

These brief staccatos

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I Cut Myself

After the holes have pierced through, a thousand wounds nourished naked in the mother, I take the brave little knives granted me by providence and circumstance and begin the business of letting red sand. They’ve taken the water from my blood, you see, surreptitiously siphoned the black milk that upwells from my heart and all that remains is a ghosted fossil of what passion and mistrust have imprinted there. It will never be enough.

Thus, this thin cutting to mark the time of what I may never be, the man I surrendered sanity to the boy for, the mensing of what dreams I imagine to savor when I am deep and alone in the null of night. I find myself reduced to subtitles in a French movie where every expression degrades to a wordworn impasse in conflict. I am an inverse love poem strangled outside itself unable to squeeze the sun for a kiss of martyred rain. Life lasts longer this way.

I cut myself from a lantern that scores the veil of a pestilent moon in precise silhouettes that evaporate from gas lit rues, the late clopping of horses on rough stone lost to the passing of histories never recounted, sealed into the parchment of still poets whose labors never once broke heraldic wax. The world would cut me in strange and unspeakable ways if I did not amend these brief staccatos into patterns I have grown such skin for. Salvation, they say, readily redeems one who abets his own demise. Death waits longer this way.

I drink more these days—vinegar to curry the sand, rock to aggregate the sift. These are the actions of a drowning man who believes air his mortal enemy. For a simple ocean I will set whetstone to work, salt for my salt, the worried surface of my blue hammered mettle to tirelessly throw stars back to the void they fell from. Watch if you must this cutting, this cutting of myself, the dire pleating of frail measures that unravel to disclothe me from a skein of fallibility where, for all the bright holes a heaven can conjure, not one gleams incidentally perfect.

Joseph Gallo
September 27, 2006

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lighter by just that much

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Nine Panes Of Sun

I found a feather on the sidewalk this evening.
The sky feels lighter by just that much.

Before I had legs, I slept in water.
When I awoke, I put away spawning things.

A woman with eyes like blue templars stood beside me at
the market counter. I never even noticed her deep cleavage.

Crossing the street, I could see summer unwinding itself.
Autumn is kept, I thought, beneath a slow turning spool.

Now near sundown, an office building holds the light
long enough to pour nine molten panes of sun over me.

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The trees scarcely move. The sky is too shallow down here to matter.
Like the trees, my arms reach out for depth just the same.

A blue jay rests atop a wooden fence, cocks her head to regard me.
She is female because she remains even as I pass too close.

What keeps lovers seated outside, sharing a meal in twilight,
sweetly sipping tears of grapes, more lonely than they ever were?

Tonight I immerse myself in the art of being unembraceable.
I shall hold myself in the darkness and whisper: There there.

Joseph Gallo
July 13, 2003

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

The angelic blur of light and glass

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La Macchina

We will go by car with Olivia because her skin bears
the child of the delicately pressed Mediterranean sun.
We will pass hills swelling with bruised pearls of indigo
sugar, past dozing priests on stone benches who look up
to catch the angelic blur of light and glass, our sainted
smiles a fleeting smear stained in the name of God.

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We will cross bridges built of blessless blood for armies
more vanquished than the day can defeat us by, over rivers
run restless with ruin and reproach. There will be children
chasing hoops in fountain squares, women on bicycles
bearing baskets of fruit and bread, flowers stranded on carts
that impress the pleated air with hue and fragrance. There
will be villages patinaed in erosive rain, roads that lead to
countries you cannot travel to but by reverie. We will go by
car because to sit beside Olivia is to know the black censure
of a scriptured woman, a woman forged from elements found
only in the denatured imprint of a perilous, primeval world.

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In her presence nothing is modern. One becomes single-
celled and utile. If it pleases her, we will be consumed
this day while the sea slips itself from the rings of its tidal
vows, mystrous and immeasurable as red sulfur quickened by
a blue kiss that would sing the harsh psalms of an unrepentant
thirst. We will go by car because Vesuvio might rouse by the
blaspheme of our templed feet, because Pompeii will deliver us
burnt offering and bibled wine if we but huddle with her the night,
because la Madonna delle Macchina wishes it so and there are few angels wandering the markway towards Umbria; no lanterns against the sun should it fall onto its sword of dusk; no engines

but hers to purr honey and salvation beneath the occluded stars.

We will go by car
with Olivia because
there is no other way.

Joseph Gallo
November 22, 2005

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