Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The future that arrives now


Sweeping A House Of Water

A poet sits by a river in Vienna, sizes everything up as it passes.
He assaults blank paper with tenderness and treachery, brings
his blood to bear and bleed for the only art he can express himself
in without apology, knowing there will always be the necessity
for doing so, resigned to the unbending nature of his own back.

A couple passes him and exchange eyes and he offers to write
them a poem if they will give him one word, one image with
which he can fugue his prism of enchantment to conjure what
it will, what crash of sound and scratch might tease out as he
smokes reflections that skip off the water from across the far
bank, the strassen holding their hooved concerti in the same
way Mahler and Mozart heard them ricochet cobbled from the
masonry, and drinking from the glazed fermentation in their
eyes, sets to it and delivers in some moments what is always
delivered to lovers who would chance to believe that magic
is nothing more than an awareness that history is a rug being
pulled forward from beneath their feet and to fall backward is
to miss the future that arrives now and now and again now.


Like frogs, the river breeds poets in wet letters, slicks them up
in the folly of their own froth then slips away in a black laughter
that peals all the way to the sea. Their bellworn bones are
everywhere if one knows where to look. Listen to their paper,
scattered in morning harpsichords sad as dawn, forgotten here
and there, rare and all at once. Embrace the goodbying, kisses
too quickly forgotten, scents left to linger in art and poetry and
music, promises we dare not keep, a green arcing bridge, a river’s
unbraced lips, two chairs offset at a table, a slotted balustrade,
an empty gasse, a cemetery in still stone, a stopped Ferris wheel,
a waterless fountain square, a moored riverboat, a pressed
patch of park grass littered with a bottle drained of its moon,
the waiting train that soon takes the we of us away, that turns
us out into the rest of our quiet singling lives, the unspeaking of it,
the sharpless barbs claimed by lovers and larks, the way the
world notices none of it, the reams of drained poets who wash
up unread each morning on banks of terrible rivers everywhere.

Joseph Gallo
August 26, 2008


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Always contemplating something


I Gave A Cigarette To God

I gave a cigarette to God.
He lit it and fell silent.
He always appears to be contemplating something.

Smoke rose from his mouth in a chain of holy ghosts.
The setting sun pierced crucifixes of light in the temples
of his eyes.
His altared hair blazed radiation.

Slowly, His back turned toward me.
He did nothing but smoke.
The cigarette never shortened.


After some time the sun still hadn’t fallen from the sky.
The same birds crossed and recrossed our line of sight.
The same clouds passed and passed again.

He was in no hurry whatsoever.
Days went by until finally I understood the eloquence.
Enlightenment comes when one meets his inner fool.

Joseph Gallo
July 18, 2004