Friday, February 27, 2009

Things not given to being written


This Kind Of Certainty

Let us revisit this again: A man stands beneath
a lone windmill and takes his shirt off to scrub
away the friction of cicadas seasoned by the
burning salt of a summer sun with water that
comes up from the dark places beneath rows
of tasseled gold where this moment will come
to be lost among countless others that lose their
commonplaceness every day, but this one, for
this revisit, stands out now as she looks down
on him from a second story window veiled with
a breathless membrane that sways in the sill like
soft kitchen manners and parlor courtesies that
tenor the throat with sounds that are not words,
sounds that speak other things not given to being
written, mysteries pure and absolute like a lovebird
in a hunting dog’s mouth, red stains on white enamel,
dull and glossy so that each amplifies the other
in its purpose, and she watches him glisten against
Iowan textures of flowers that can take the heat,
a leaking faucet hoseless beside them, her hand
smoothing the side of her fair face, her lips
summoning what streams beneath the corn, and
there is a trembling of things present that come
to be pulled into a future one cannot possibly
guess at and when it comes and departs you look
down an empty road for the last time knowing
that what passed there will not come again
though you will traverse it nevertheless, again
and again, to someday arrive and settle like
smoke over an evening bridge covered over
by a tender cowling of country stars that see
the things we do and hope all things for us until
we again murmur the sounds, the familiar string
of words that say it in the only way it can be said:
This kind of certainty comes but once in a lifetime.

Joseph Gallo
February 21, 2009


Thursday, February 19, 2009

The realms we conquer


Some Faltered Grace

We trace the afternoon along places our softened bones
don’t matter, between broad avenues built for breathing,
draws no bird has ever scattered from, underground dens
the moon slips into when we are asleep and not looking.

Here we set footings for provinces we shall one day call memory,
prepare places for scent and sense to be stored in secret until we
wish to call them up in fathoms of night, savor them dearly as
we press too near perimeters such wakefulness cannot trespass.

There are countries in your breasts as there are oceans in
the strictures of my massifs, territories given only to the wander
and trek we commence by embracing what remains unnavigable;
light-hectares seeded with a tenuous silk of trailing sighs.

These are the realms we conquer in laying down arms, rendering
unto vanquishers we have summoned in our midst, who release us
into our driven natures where we grasp the
meaning of losing this;
find hope in some faltered grace to once again chance upon it.

Joseph Gallo
August 21, 2008


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

What remains of this music


Owls That Sit The Oaks

We place the moon to our mouths, the three
of us, and flute the hoots that cradle the darkness
from cratered limbs we use to do such things.

Mine are common, given to lose more than they
carry, comfort not the issue one imagines it to be.
Theirs lift them above all the night takes hostage.

Able to kill color with their eyes, they skirt
the dragged hems of rising worlds like they
were born to it. We thread a horned threnody,

the three of us, beginning with the double-basso
oak silhouetted black against the village below,
then the contralto across the field afar who waits

her scriptless turn to croon the echo, followed by
the sotto voce of a curled tongue that sets turrets
to pivot in feathered swivels as they look toward


the dark house and the darker figure on the darkened
deck to wonder what wings might carry a figure of
such grim misshapenness and then it’s again time

to repeat the first note of the triad and we do this for
twenty minutes because one is not often asked to sit-in
with hunters of prey, make talon music with night rakers

who allow this until somewhere something skitters
through just enough to seize the motif, modulate key
and insert some vital element of curious percussion,

carry aria to their unbarned arms that take leave of
branching themes so far stated as the moon carries
what remains of this music deeper into night where

the unvoiced things of this world remain to consider for
a time briefer than there is time to consider these things
that such musics exist to make of silence a perfect note.

Joseph Gallo
January 18, 2009