Monday, December 31, 2007

A scene that never played out



She shakes her head and the sun falls from her hair.
“Something miraculous will happen to you at eight-
o’-three tomorrow morning.” I would never call her
an angel to her face for that would be inadequate.
Neptune in late afternoon, her eyes. The hollow of a
medieval forest in shadowplay at the small of her back.

There is a scene that never played out: a small café,
après rain, a glint of moonglass in a box, a hand to a
covered mouth, a teary yes before an extended finger,
time stained forever in salt and the brief moment
that makes us into we. This never happened.

But the sun that fell out, the eyes that pierced amethyst
in deep sky, the angel in the unterwald—all of that did.

Joseph Gallo
December 10, 2007


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Among the small and settled stones

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Be careful. God isn’t alone out there. ~John the Baptist, The Last Temptation of Christ

Into Desert

Do this: run your hand among the
small stones, stones in which the
sun sleeps during the night to shut
its ears against talking snakes and
the scorpion’s heartless lament.

Do this: sit alone until dawn dies
in the dusk’s bruised arms, until the
sun steals your tongue to speak salt
from sand, until you are quenched by
a pillar of fire that promises the sea.

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Do this: stand before the trembling of
your own flesh, your hands holding
whatever holes will have them, your
eyes pulled into a caravan of fever
where the prophet’s gift is made ready.

Do this and pass by the last window
of my house, turn not, look not, press
toward whatever horizon presents itself
to your wander and do not turn back until
you have reached it again, and again after
that, until it leaves you where you began,
here in my arms, here in this resting place
among the small and settled stones.

Joseph Gallo
December 5, 2007

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Steeped with the bitters of what it is to be

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Lazarus Arisen

Who knows what he did afterward, whether
he bathed and did laundry, took comfort in
womanly wine and bottle sweated breath, or a
leisurely walk after what he thought was his last.

Perhaps he was content to sleep, his burdens relieved
at last, his cares undone before a tattered messiah threw
him back into the wings of patient worms who laughed
beneath the mud knowing he would be theirs again.

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His sight restored, did he sip the cool nectar of date trees
bending in the embrace of the Khamsin, look with enlivened
lust on the plain wife he’d already left once forever, who
would now know the true weight of his Bedouin bones?

Did he shade in the dry sharav, bask in Sirius’ bright jewel as it
rose in the east as he did, late in the year when stone gives up
its locked streams in sacred tears to weep the desert lush
and ready for this world, for this one and the one to come?

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His family, perhaps, brought him food for he was famished
beyond a deathly savor, plates of lamb and roasted duneseed,
great carafes of dromedary beer more fermented than he was,
steeped with the bitters of what it is to be come back to the living.

Joseph Gallo
December 5, 200

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Everything backlit with meaning

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Time Will Be Heavy

Time will be heavier tomorrow. Yesterday it was not
so much as a lark’s coat, but lighter than it was today.
Each day adds a little more weight and the anchor in
my blood penetrates bone and breath heaves chain.

My life unfolds in subtitles again. I go to the window
for no reason. A star might fall out of the sky or a
sparrowhawk pierce the undergrowth for what it wants.
Or the town far below might simply shimmer madness
as wind makes it dance jeweled against the eye. Everything
is backlit with meaning. More people I know have died.
Jim and Carl and Diane and Walt and Stan, yet poor Alfredo
languishes at the threshold and won’t push open the door.

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Every day the Earth loses ballast as time grows broader in
chronolithic mass. Dream camouflages day with phytoweather.
I’ve not drowned in the well of a woman for some time now,
yet the sky remains undiminished by my desire to do so.
One has nothing to do with the other save to remind that
time in the past is lighter than it is at dawn as it gathers
valence and matter, the invisible conspiracies of atoms in
shapes left unformed by dear Mercutio’s mouthing of them.

There were days of cracked pecans, sails dipped in bright
chanterelle, the vinted blush of a girl’s corked cheeks as she
fusion from a winter candle. There are horses set
loose in a gabled
house, wandering as nativity stars unable
to dispel their necessary
shadows. Doubt takes shape like
smoke amid brittle skins of fire.
I play strings and they
tell me things I cannot repeat, swear me
to secret all they
would reveal about midnights without number,
time without
the cumbersome debt of all the mornings of the world.

Joseph Gallo
December 3, 2007

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