Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Wherever it is not america


Come sleep with me; we won't make love. Love will make us. ~Julio Cortázar


It may have been the way the southern slopes of the Sangre de Cristo lulled you into love, the low arcs saddening dark and drowsy in the slow womanly dawn, or the faint voices that flurried through the window from the east that snugged you closer to me in your breaking sleep.

Days of raven, nights of devilclatter. Remember how you once tied me up while storms dragged chains across the roof cinching the rope taut as hallelujahs? I remember how you hurled windsqualls at me as I flew overhead on my way to Europe to see another woman, how I knew it was you bewitching me from buffeted folds of Santa Fe snow. You would deny this with a slivered laugh dipped in kitchen contempt and I would pretend to misread it in cursive capitals.


Buckets and buckets of carried water to the piñons and blighted juniper that bit your legs with their sad tales of drought, ran withered rasps across your arms with a stubbornness rooted in sand and clays you would come to call enemy. But the hours we spent making sheets in wet skin that wrapped us in long afternoons slipping past languid waving curtains that spooned summer heat through the groves of our pores was enough to bring monsoon to a desert tongue.

I have missed those days as I have found ways to keep them. But you are not keepable and there is only the endless redoubt of loss and the learning to live with it. Paris will have you and wherever it is not America. I envy them that. Thus I wear my faux beret in secret places I cannot imagine exist. These are the synclines of our spent angels jutting up from realms we cannot map.


This day I give them to you, gifts to celebrate all we lose every day we forget to hold them against the sky, forget to gauge our true size in the meaning of what we struggle to discover. You to your places, me to mine. This is the way of it now. We will not make love for we have already been unmade by a deeper unlastingness.

Joseph Gallo
March 4, 2008



Blogger Jonice parried...

Joseph, dear Joseph, I can see what you mean by adages being good epigraphs. And your last line in this piece is quite touching to me.


March 08, 2008 4:32 PM  
Blogger Kyle parried...

Joseph - a astute and tender exploration of the dry ground around the heart.

March 08, 2008 10:15 PM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

Ah, Jonice! Love your new photo---you look so happy and celebratory! We would laugh and teach the stars to sing were we ever to break bread. :-)

Yes, these quotes can be wonderful jumping off places that add a certain dimensionality to the piece, quite often becoming the fuse that lights the rocket. As in this case.

Kym is a former girlfriend whom I am still close to. Funny how we work things out still, long after the sparks have showered their brief and fiery angels.

Hola, Kyle: And as those angels yet descend in memory, the tinderground shudders before the spark of recall and the poet's pen. But you know that and thus we do what we do. The dry ground around the heart - - - I like that.

March 11, 2008 11:18 AM  
Blogger Jonice parried...

Laugh and teach the stars to sing! Sounds wonderful... It's a deal, then. We shall break bread as soon as you can make it to the South. :)

And it's funny how we all have our funny after sparks issues here and there. Yeah, I'd say we all do. Might be just human. Love the way you write about yours.

March 12, 2008 8:52 AM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

Brava, Jonice. Notice the first serendipitous image in the previous post below----what continent is that again? ;-)

Did I ever tell you that I once met Jorge Luis Borges here at UCSB in Santa Barbara? Well, I did, back in the mid-80's. I heard him give a spellbinding lecture and then stood in line and shook his hand as we exchanged a brief word or two. I have exactly what we said written somewhere, but can't quite recall it. It was, however, for me, quite memorable. (In spite of my age-driven and advancing forgetfulness).

I've also listened (several times) to the entire 13-part writer series called Faces, Mirrors, Masks: 20th Century Latin American Fiction. That series ingrained my unslaked curiosity about South America as they discussed many of my favorites. (National Public Radio, 1984. Seven cassettes, 210 min.)

Of you've never heard this award-winning series, by all means it is a must. It has dramatized and interview aspects that are both stunning and compelling. It's where I first learned of Brazilian Clarice Lispector. (Also Juan Rulfo, Elena Poniatowska, Jorge Amado, Carlos Fuentes, and Nelida Pinon).

I'm going to have to scout for it on CD and hope the series it has been transferred to that medium.

So, South America is on my short list of places to visit and breathe and live and experience in all its primeval glory. :-)

Oh, and to have a literary dinner with Jonice, of course. ;-)

March 12, 2008 11:59 AM  
Blogger Jonice parried...

No, you hadn't told me about having met J.L.Borges. However, you did tell me about your attraction to South America and now I see that the letters should be held responsible for it. Of course we've heard of love at first sight, but yours would be a love at "non-yet-sight" wouldn't it? Let's hope the first sight doesn't take too long to come true, Joseph.

March 13, 2008 5:57 PM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

As our spring waxes and your summer wanes, we shall make plans in some future time to toast to the seasons of our lives as friends across the continents, revelers in the grand expression of the human story.

Remember to write something for the summer that has been so kind to you, that has opened you in the pores of your becoming. :-)

March 14, 2008 12:17 PM  
Blogger Jonice parried...

The thing I love most about this blogging stuff is having friends across the continents. Be it the new world be it the old. Yes, we shall toast to cross-continent friendship!
I like your reminder, Joseph. I may post a song beautiful lyrics by Tom Jobim to say farewell to kind summer. Thanks for that :)

March 17, 2008 11:44 AM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

A toast indeed! I will look for the Jobim lyrics at EIC, Jonice. Praise for the seasons of our lives.

March 17, 2008 2:31 PM  

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