Sunday, March 23, 2008

Massurrection: four poems on easter


Nightmare Pills

We take these to keep them away, the visitors
that come in the night when we lie vulnerable
and naked, unweaponed and enemy all about.

We swallow them and they work, mostly, shutting
off the nightlights so that they can’t feel their way
through scattered clothes we leave on the floor.

Undressing is the worst part, cracking buttons and snaps,
zippers that give away our positions in the dark, release
the scent of what, in the collapsing quiet, we truly are.

It will be this way from now on, when unicorns and rainbows
scatter in concussion waves of RPG’s and evaporate in the face
of firepower until dreams are no more than an afterword.

What the pills take is something more than what we do. They
steal and keep what once belonged to us, the morning-glories
of victorious sleep, the bleak tribes of all our necessary monsters.

Joseph Gallo
March 23, 2008


The Grieving Glove

The story might be hidden in the third finger,
stuffed way up at the end where what once
fit there traced the slow miles of my skin,
mapped positions once occupied by desire.

Was it something that caught your fibrous
distraction, made you not notice gravity feeding
on the crushing cold of your naked hand? Or did
a pocket disgorge part of what you keep for later
when mattering whispers need in the dark?

In a more genteel time, perhaps, the face
it affronted with a leather slap meant more
than keeping the pair whole and inviolable,
steeled to the tip of your touch, mated for life.

And so found here, curbed in a guttered street,
left behind on a hurried bus, abandoned in an
absent café, we reach a human place and feel for
the story, rub the genies out to tell us three lies,
listen for the grieving sob of a mateless glove.

Joseph Gallo
March 23, 2008


Tugging Home
For Alfredo

The stars want you back. They miss you.
You are a lost orphan and they wish to
reclaim you. Meet the milk of your true
mother; gaze into the eclipse of your first
father. You were family once, remember?

You danced in crushing waves of heavy light,
drowned together in gravitational pools of
quasmic joy. Swaddled in rich neutronia,
flung out by theoretical bands of heresy,
you were element and mineral long before
such things were ever confused or named.

The stars want you back. And you will go.
Some bonds never break and, inexorably, you
will heed their summon to return only to do it
all over again. With proton arms look to that
happy time and embrace all you will ever
become, everything and nothing together.

Joseph Gallo
March 23, 2008



So Easter is ham and candy. Someone’s messiah
agrees to hang nailed to a tree so that the kids
can poke holes for sugarletting, the sweet savor
of afterlives dissolving on a bitter tongue.

Painted ova and subterfuge exact the cost of eternity.
Hidden among hedges and kindered warrens of ceramic
planters, they are sealed along crooked walks no miracle
will ever heal, places even a pious rabbit would not go.

We let imagination overtake sensibility, buy that
impressionable witnesses saw what they saw, consent
to take blood for the very believing of it and do so
for two millennia without so much as a backward doubt.

Once again a blindness betrays the season and we
stand eyeless in the risen sun, cure hams cracked
with brown sugar and benevolence, secret everything
we fear in hopes that this candy might somehow help.

Joseph Gallo
March 23, 2008



Blogger billie parried...

I LOVE The Stars Want You Home - and the photo - wow! I wish I had that print on my garret wall. It's gorgeous.

Hope you're well and happy!

March 24, 2008 5:43 AM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

Glad you liked the piece and the artographic image, Billie. How are things at Mystic-Lit? I've been inundated with work and just finished my first newsletter---new program, learning it, pulling hair and teeth for a week straight. But now I know how and I guess it's true: hard work often leads to good things. :-)

Miss writing for the M-L. Must do something soon. See you there shortly, by-and-by. :-)

March 24, 2008 11:39 AM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

BTW: The image you liked is a rendered photo from my former client, Alfredo, who passed away in January.

It's taken from an original photo of him as a boy with his brothers & father on the beach. I thought it fitting to use it for this poem as it has some personal relevance and sentiment.

And I'm nothing if not unabashedly sentimental. ;-)

March 24, 2008 11:42 AM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

Allow me to speak to the genesis of each of yesterday's poems:

Nightmare Pills

This was the first poem of the day after seeing a report about a single woman from Colorado with two children who fought, yes, FOUGHT in Iraq.

She is not surprisingly suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and nearly committed suicide last fall. She sought help and was showing the three medications she takes to help her cope with panic attacks, agoraphobia, and the nightmares. This poem came from that last prescription bottle she held up.

She's doing better now and I must restate: War is the gift that keeps on giving long after the wrappers have burned off.

The Grieving Glove

This piece came after reading about a blogsite called one cold hand? (

Artist extraordinaire, Jennifer Gooch, came up with it. (
This woman is terrific and her work is utterly stunning. I sent this poem to her as a way of thanking her for seeing the stories in small things.

Tugging Home

This one emerged in the hallway between the kitchen and my room. After setting the coffee on, the idea formed and it tumbled out. One often rides the bus to journey, not destinate.


Because it was Easter and I always have something to say about that, the odd and ancillary triangularities it evokes, the silliness, the reverence, what it is and isn't.

I find it quite strange that the customs that have evolved in celebrating this particular thing (that asks so much of a brain to suspend in disbelief) has become such a worldwide commercial enterprise over two thousand years later.


And the metaphor of sugaring the hurt of what it is to be human and facing eternity without the cunning carrot of something more.

Is it not enough to be here, now?
It is for me.
O' to be in India for Easter. ;-)

March 24, 2008 12:09 PM  

Post a Comment

link to post:

Create a Link

<< Home