Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What you need to know



Human, begin.
Day One: This is water.
Two hours in the drink
and you invite it in.

Human, begin again.
Day Two: This is water.
Twelve hours wet when
you know it’s for real.

Human, once again
Day Three: This is home.
Tread, tread.
Three days and you call
the rat your brother.

Rat, stop now.
Day One: This is nothing new.
Cease treading.
Take a moment to dry your tail.
You know now what you need to know.

Joseph Gallo
May 1993


Friday, April 17, 2009

Veils along the summering path



Everything breaks open. This season that
emerges from a turtled winter summons
every heart to place a toe into the icy rush
of spring waters that river from places known
only to our unsourcing of them. You may hold
me against your body, feel a tireless shuddering
cease in the night as the warmth of another
river courses through what kept you so cold for
so long beneath far too many failed moons.

This is the season that says, Yes. The cow
fattens in the vintage of her starry cellar;
seedlings scour the scattered fields for a
place to rise up in the bosom of a burgeoning
sun; each drop of rain seeks her thousand
summoned sisters as the dance of skirtless
skies drop veils along the summering path.


Quail quarry their love in pairs as the one
stands vigil for the other, his cocked eye
scanning hawkless regions where blue
nearly touches green in the orbital palette
that circles yellow as we near summer fire.

I want this. To stand vigil and be stood for,
to round the corners of a season too brief
to be fully embraced, but try, try anyway.
I want to want what I dare not want for
the beauty of having it is to diminish what
it is. Thus is my own nature at odds with
the things of nature and it is perfect that
it be so. I want it no other way. Spring is
here and here will it blossom within and
without for it is sufficient unto itself.

Let me know this by the press of your
breath against my chest, the slip of two
tongues savoring what it took the cosmos
so long to achieve in being able to taste
itself, behold itself, rise up in the steady
state of this elusive, star-tattered bloom.

Joseph Gallo
April 12, 2009


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A luxury beyond reach


Consider The Morning

At first I am happy to find the small speckled egg,
quail and unbroken, alone on the ground, then feel
the small quill of sorrow for the unformed nestling
that will never hatch because its time has eclipsed
in the fragility of such living things subjected to the
ruthless principles of indeterminate cause and effect.

To have the morning to consider such a thing is
a luxury beyond reach of lavishly marbled banks,
elusive as what cannot be found in the implausible
itinerary of even the most clever hotel concierge.


A butterfly’s torn wing; a lizard’s dropped tail still
writhing like dockbait before the shy worm’s abode
settled in the mold-coddled architecture of a split-
level acorn. In the near distance comes the call that
will never be answered: Wa-see-choo! Wa-see-choo!
the tasseled sentry alarming the egg-laden bevy
scattering like grass seed for the shadowed thicket.

Sparrows, too, sow their impending sorrows, common
as found materials that bind and weave us into nestmates,
the crashing sky caressing, the patient ground littered with
delicate dispatches of what passed there, in feather, by
bone, surrendered structures better suited for purposes
as befitting the brief notice of poets who gaze out windows
in search of what reveals when such blinds are unshelled.

Joseph Gallo
April 6, 2009


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A larger aloneness than our own


The Sorrows Of Oregon
For Mary

We name the extra ones, chiding:
John, scootch over here—you’re giving
me too much room, then praising: You
feel particularly good this morning, Mike.

Another half hour in bed delays
the drear of yet another morning
rising alone to made coffee for no
one but ourselves. The singleness
of the sipping becomes as apparent
as a pair of slippers we don’t bother
with anymore. You tell me of your
extras and I confess to having four,
two more than necessary. Or not.

Our dolls no longer require heads,
or arms and legs to gently entangle
with, scentless as sterilized rubber
and treated plastic, save the down
fill of this manufactured loneliness.

Mine have no names as I scarcely
bother any more, yet I whisper
lover things deep in the night and
they don’t seem to mind the absence.


How many of us do this, we wonder,
finding a kind of comfort no matter
what the number so as to feel part
of a larger aloneness than our own.

Three years after returning home to
California, I threw two out replacing
them with new ones. They held all
the sorrows of Oregon in them. One
should never keep
such mournful
bedfellows as pillows
as they tend to
siphon off our few remaining dreams.

Hold me, William, lie to me again
in that eloquent silence that sings
how deeply you love me more than
sleep, before I make up the bed and
smother you in the ache of making it.

Joseph Gallo
March 30, 2009