Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This way before you


A Thousand Strokes
For Marlene

And your back becomes a pained temple of devotion.
Pilgrims and acolytes move through bloodmuscle to
place their worships in a thousand flickers, a thousand
prayer wheels, a thousand bells sounding serpiginous
ache to tremble through your limbs. This is what the sea
does to you when you set out for her skyworn margins.


As each miracle exacts its riftless fee, so does salt
pull tears in small fathoms from your abyssal flesh.
You will not rewrite history this day as you are given
what shallow conquers are afforded you and that will be
that. Note this silently, with grace if you must, and let
pressurous hands trace miles left vanished in whalefoam.

Soon you will come to know that a paddle is not
something to stab oceans with again and again in
spent effort to arrive at a place unreachable, but rather
what stirs deep in the nautilus of a heart you share
with leviathan, seafarer, siphonophore, and ray, with
every other thing that has come this way before you.

Joseph Gallo
July 28, 2009


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Across this unwritten genesis



cavils, angles deftly the canales
and vigas, dances the adobe,
knows no other way to do it.

Still owls balm their limbed
wings, prey reprieved by bright
medicine and the time being.


How many millions wake to
pass years for these moments,
empty water so that they might

praise the flood that moved
them across this unwritten
genesis? Pacific in the distance

bear the islands of its holy name,
give back nearly all the praise that
finds devotion reflected in my eyes.

Joseph Gallo
September 6, 2009


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A wave of deep weeping


Wednesday In July

The stubborn weed we pulled last month returns
with a cousin proving again that roots have eyes.
Two nights ago, I massaged the back of your
neck and up along occipital places that carve
dreams into pillows. Trust lives there, you said.

So I am at a party, young people mostly, at my
cousin’s house and I ask her where her mom is.
She answers thinking I’m speaking figuratively,
one of many downsides in being a poet, saying she
carries her in her heart always and excuses herself.

I realize I’ve forgotten that she is dead and has
been so for some time, that this is my first time in
her house since she died as a wave of deep weeping
forms to rise and crash over me as I am swept
out and away into a field of quenching sunlight.


Only later do I remember this being in a living room
with young people, tuning guitars, strumming out
the opening chords of Paint It Black, missing strings,
unable to finger it correctly, life luxuriating among
the guests as little matters with so much time ahead.

The weeds we pull today will return by August.
We will pull them anyway and blind the root by
spade or garden glove. You will come to bloom
in my bed and I will run soft hands along green
terraces, your pink shoulders trellised with trust.

Joseph Gallo
July 8, 2009


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

In the hush of sigh and silence


You Against The Stars

There was you, coming up out of water,
sky towering above strewn with moon.

Your white skin beaded with jewels, your
form a nightscape graced with rises and

slopes gentling fire that flashed high behind
you in the space between cricket chatter and

praise that left my lips naked and trembling
for the searing press of yours. We moved in

water, together in that way that leaves solitude
in the hush of sigh and silence. Time misplaced

us for some moments and there remained only
some part of me before all of you against the stars.

Joseph Gallo
August 31, 2009