Monday, November 17, 2008

Those who no longer walk with us

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Paxat Point
For Donna

Though it has been years since we walked here, alone,
with others, we know instinctively where to step,
which paths to take or avoid knowing they eventually
all loop back along one another. At our age we cannot
help but bring those who no longer walk with us along
for to know us is to have to know them, if such mattering
accounts. Between spines of wind that bring Siberia to
chase a summer already a month gone, we find our voices
have ears with long fingers that trace the spotted maps
of our histories, mention exxes and girls long since gone
from our lives, picking, choosing, men who have moved to
other lines that cross checkpoints where memory intersects
with regret or the lack of it. History is like this—the good
embracing the bad; conclusions left to the teller or writer—
as we find ourselves changed by each tenuous recounting,
each tender circumstance. How many ways are there to say
someone once mattered or matters, that they still orbit some
lost nucleus of love like a stubborn electron refusing to
settle a negotiated entropy or surrender to some scheme
of logic one would rather not have to admit to believing in?

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But where were we? Oh, yes, rooting about the fallen burls
tangled in twistbacked gnarls while towering trunks creaked
invisible doors among bending eucalyptus, some branching
business migrating room to room high in the eaves of a
foreshortened sky. I speak cedar for some minutes, leaving
raven feathers from Santa Fe for new ones cawed of California
crow that fit the flute just so while nothing presses or pushes
too wildly against the blind shutters of a heart, content to let
the tones play themselves without narrative. I take your hands
and tell you your fingers are made to speak the language of air,
that your dancer’s frame is built to make sense of the unseen,
while you nod quietly, considering it possible and then so.

We move towards the cliff’s edge where the blow bellows
leviathan, where flukes leave their white reminders of passage
seven worlds away. People and dogs pass and disappear down
a maze of traces where we find foundations long abandoned to
their absent purposes, concrete slabs with nibs of rusted iron
waiting for some civilization to future them to ruin once again.

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We are careful, without meaning to be, but careful nevertheless.
What we say and hear we choose with a fathomless understanding
that everything is connected in some dissonant manner we can
never fully know. Without saying, we agree to fail in this way,
to watch as watch can, let bygones teeter over the edge sailfirst
and praise the fearlessness of the unruddered tiller, marvel at such
dead reckoning. “Paxat is whale in the Chumash tongue,” I offer.

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You gaze serenely past the behemoth hole in the middle seas
of my soul and remark something I cannot now recall. It was
some canter of single-footed grace and balance, something
I’ve not proper sounding for, nor saddle, nor bridle, nor breath,
nor breach that can swallow a pearl of sky worthy of your kiss.

Joseph Gallo
October 13, 2008


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1 Comments:

Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

So we went for a little walk . . . big deal. A stellar woman and a friend.

December 01, 2008 8:57 PM  

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