Sunday, August 30, 2009

Devils whose nickel charms


When They Kiss

When they kiss like that
the ache settles in. Not like
fish beneath slow creek
shadows; not like slippers
under a half empty bed.

When they kiss like that
my atoms speak in tongues.
Not like Pentecosts who roll
dead language in the aisles;
not like devils whose nickel
charms slip out of contentment.

When they kiss like that
I feel the absence of you.
Not you who braced against
conquest in my kiss; not you
who summoned skyless thunder.


When they kiss like that
life makes perfect sense.
Not sense simmered down
from seasoning; not sense
wrought through experience.

When they kiss like that
the world vanishes. Not
the world you left me with;
not the world that ever was.

Joseph Gallo
August 29, 2009


Friday, August 28, 2009

Across a bruised horizon



Late birds flush the bush, streak
beaks across a bruised horizon.

Nightfall knows better than we
precisely what to do with itself.

Wild dogs skirl ritual like Pawnee,
their plain song sere against the sea.

Fluters hoot the winged oaks and every
mouse shadow stands its still ground.

To move now would be to
do the only human thing.

Joseph Gallo
August 6, 2009


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Prophesies fraught with uncertainty



The stories arrive from horizons well beyond the narrow margins
given to our behold. Skies stream in thin blue skins to skim over
all we would give up in surrender and prayer. Some chapters are
much like others and only the retelling sets them apart. A cast
shadow becomes a character we watch and follow scene by scene
through perilous turns in a serial that feels the same, day after day.

If it comes in grey, we think sorrows gather to attend a dark mass. If it suddens to black, we feel the burning tears of the night as our own. If it runs through red, we know somewhere smoke is having its way. If it dawns as gold, then we light a wick of hope on the sill of the day. Every new hue comes rich with meaning as we apply what lies within to every temporal thing that passes too briefly to cherish without.


Innocent clouds lose their naiveté to structure and the deeper whims of ominous weather. What whispers today may scream silence tomorrow. Every thing we are plays out above us as it always has. Oracles appear and retreat, their prophesies fraught with uncertainty, each revelation moot with flux. If being human were not enough to lend sky to, then this would matter only to the most stranded and wingless among us.

So we read the stories as they come. This one spells your name backward in the western sky. This one corrects a minor inconsistency in a lie retold too often to be your life for much longer. This one throws out the true nature of what you are for all the world to wander beneath without ever noticing. Only you know the lasting plots that make the stories what they are, what they’ve always been, and what they will, in brevity, become.

Joseph Gallo
August 25, 2009


Saturday, August 08, 2009

A house we barely inhabit


Places There Are

There are places where water is drawn up delicately from
rock, its tenuous entwine released one finger after the other
until naked sand runs through and time again moves freely.

There are places planes fall from perilous skies, oceans
that give little of it back, the remembrance of such things
strewn as deep mementos kept within a vaster recollection.

There are places we dare to go only with the lights on,
familiar routes through rooms of a house we barely inhabit
but for practical furnishings that belie unseen discomfort.


There are places we seldom visit, limbs and hearts given
over to purposes not our own, feet whose minds were
beset to trod some journey we dared imagine as ours.

There are places that hold no name, mapless, disencompassed,
defined in shifting borders that cannot be staked or claimed,
places we wander through eyeless and smiling, calling it home.

Joseph Gallo
June 2, 2009