Sunday, May 31, 2009

Deliverance into purified light


The Giving Of It All

Who talks about dishes and laundry? The brief
devotions spent in ceramic supplication, the
deep stacking of Lycra and cotton, the solemn
setting of prayerful airs to fume dry the cutlery.

How many times have we bowed before delicate
rinse cycles that promise deliverance into purified
light, given our small time to in the attending of
what seeks to present us favorably to the world?

But who talks of these things? Slaves of fallen
empires sought rarefied earths to scour clean
the table settings of their masters, picked at
leavings when gongs were struck to clear away.

We sail out over edges of lost worlds in the
vesseling of protection and nutrient, task our-
selves in the enterprise of continuance, each
day a new cheating of what would reclaim us.

Run water with reverence. Scrub plates with
veneration. Fold linen with loving adoration.
These are the things that bring us day by day
into what we surrender in the giving of it all.

Joseph Gallo
May 29, 2009


Sunday, May 24, 2009

An overcrowded table of strangers


The Music Room

In a single life, we change rooms so many times.
Enter and leave, pass through, refuse to enter,
refuse to leave. Each time we believe it won’t
follow us and each time it does. We never know
this until we arrive at the last room we will ever
enter which is also the last room we ever leave.

We lie swathed in the sticky veil of a million laments.
Regret sits on the nightstand like a glass of white
wine we knock over again and again, apologizing
each time as if we were an unwelcome guest at
overcrowded table of strangers. How long
has this faint music been playing
, we wonder.


As breathing is the grand baton that conducts the
sweeping movements of a life, so is the ceasing
of it the last beat that cues an adagio of stillness.
Even absence holds music. And so we listen for it;
pace the windows to see if it disturbs the nearest
palm or waves back from a green flush of frond.

In one measure, we score so many arias. Bow
and blow, finger and finesse, pause and hold, cease
and rest. Each time we believe it is the most perfect
music we have ever heard and each time we are both
right and wrong. Faintly, it swells to return again.
We knock over the glass, enter the room and leave.

Joseph Gallo
May 24, 2009


Thursday, May 14, 2009

The way we came in


We Enter This World

wings up and all the doors
removed from their hinges.
No one asks how we got
such sturdy legs even as
cane futures tick upward.

The things we know harden
and glaze as the will to
discover what worries the
curtain softens to stain
as bath suds. Hips clack
with the hitch in our walk
as the prosthetic soul we
claim as our own will not
survive another washing.


We enter this world to gain
and lose everything, just
as every other thing does.
The harried crow will not
feast on robin’s eggs this
morning as we will later
lie, our burdens laid out
on the pillow beside us,
when the sun runs nails-
out down a hurt wall of
dusk unable to hang on
one moment longer.

Just once to arrive without
the rain asking anything of
us. To leave a print of sand
that might run off back to
an old sea that left it im-
precise so long ago, its wet
window vexed and ajar,
exactly the way we came in.

Joseph Gallo
May 14, 2009


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Pollinated margins of endearing dusk


May Rain
For Jan

What better sound is there than the scent of rain on wood?
May’s green-grey sky, wobbly as a gathering colt, freshens to
drop its tearcatcher in a dry field as quail hide and let sigh.
Who among us cannot remember uncounted days like these?

This is an old dance, made of steps that tilted their turns
long before days had names and names had tongues to
tell of them. If we could walk side by side, you might say
this is the season that never considers it prudent to stop.


Bees charge their bands by pulse and flock, circle their
singular initials in the midpetals, leave trace and taste
to speak hosannas for the hive, press the sun to settle
undue accounts in pollinated margins of endearing dusk.

If we could sit side by side, I might say nothing at all and
brush my hand across the lattice of your bare shoulders,
place kisses there to simmer saltless on sungold skin, caress
and seal in what comes to pass long before we wish it to.

Joseph Gallo
May 1, 2009