Friday, November 27, 2009

The ginger spangling of her small bones


She Brings Rain

For Kim

Every time she flies in, her plane snags a cloud.
One cloud snags another and all the others bunch
up to see what it’s all about. Happens every time.
Texas is a flatiron of drought and stunk boots. Her
father lives in his hill country house and regularly
tracks the stables in. Giant might have been shot
here, but it wasn’t and she dare not tell him so.
When he curses the sky, she stays out of sight.
Barometers swell shivers in her mere presence.

I say her hips are what change pressures in the sky,
the ginger spangling of her small bones rocking up
against the world like they do. Those same hips have
rocked mine in long afternoons, under shade-ravened
piñons when sun stabs anything that dares move.
Monsoon season in Santa Fe and the small of her
back summons delicate surges to gleam sweat along
lordless mountains nailed to windworn crosses
where red pores bleed a sweet-clayed rain.


You may find her in Morocco or Paris, upstate in
Yorks so new they name them again and again.
She’ll be blueburn under fireflint, her crest ablaze,
her skytrodden eyes making holes in your chest so
wide they can be seen from space. This is her way.
Call off the Zia dancing and cancel the corn prayers.
Douse your bundled sage; put up those pointless diviners.
Spread sandshot muslin and set her a place at your
parched table. She’ll pour the clouds. She’ll bring rain.

Joseph Gallo
September 29, 2009


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

From moment to meaning


Holland Afternoon

Holland has a smell in the afternoon,
in Amsterdam in 2002 on Cornelius
Krusemanstraat near Valeriusplein,
a certain smell that mixes the moment
with coffee brewing in a kitchen that
looks out over a small courtyard in back
where summer finds late September still
willing to be considered a season not yet
ready to give itself over to dying things,
or to the American man who is me, visiting
on business, scenting fruit coming up from
the tiny produce store two flights down that
sells vitamins and money orders, stamps and
strange bottled drinks, thread and nail files,
children’s toys and the wintered conveniences
afforded several square blocks when cold
counts every one and the only fume that
stings the air is what cannot be long held
in the nose for to do so is to invite the way
water moves in north countries, the milled
certainty of never having to be anywhere
wind won’t go first, like a story being read
by a grandmother in a park, or a long walk
nowhere along a canal for no other reason
than to walk a canal in Holland because that
is what one does when the air steeps the scent
of dry grass and mineral, there near Valeriusplein
where the #16 stops before continuing to or
from Dam Square and the Red Light District,
where Dutch things smell of Dutch things,
unlike anything whatsoever in California,
as memory marks it for recollecting from
time to time in these passing years, when
Amsterdam moves from moment to meaning.

Joseph Gallo
September 12, 2009


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another coincidental multiple


Not One Of Those Days

To worry about headlight oxidation the
man at the gas station hawked some aero-
sol cleaner about, or fuss about percentage
calibration of my inexotic molecularity—
am I enough oxygen, carbon, hydrogen?
Equal parts longing and love?—or palpitate
over splits in my boxers after barely six
months wear, or agonize over ambient
freeway noise drifting up the acres from
three miles away, or exfoliate over rampage
murders happening somewhere across the
continent, or arc a brow over it being sixty-six
degrees exactly on the eleventh of November
or that the temperature is yet another coin-
cidental multiple of a prime number that has
counted me as its own since the day I first spat
water and instinctively converted nitrogen and
oxygen into carbon dioxide, fifty-seven years
ago this very day. This is not one of those days.

Joseph Gallo
November 11, 2009


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

For all your forsworn labors


When Horses Pass

When horses pass, stop and consider—
the wheel, the hoof, how the day rolls
across the sky above you; how the ground
heaves beneath your passage. The wind
may catch in your hair and the willow
keep all its stoic suffer from your
witnessing. There are other concerns
to pause the turn of what you stand on.

Mind their flanks at sunrise, how the
light inlays a broad perfectitude, noble
as a swirl of gases that faintly smudge
your genesis between iron studs of
Orion’s spangled belt. Lift your head
in the wearing of cindered manes set
with all the fire you’ve forgotten to
wash your hair with at daybreak.

When horses pass, stop and consider—
the pull, the press, the feel of tack in
the mouth, how the bitter patina of days
feed the drive through oakborne paths
laid out before you. For all your forsworn
labors, t
here is no other way but through
the spiked
heart of a gaited stable that
holds your fenceless rest in
nesting hay.

Joseph Gallo
November 1, 2009


Monday, November 02, 2009

A common tongue for common things



Let us speak in grey and brown words,
a common tongue for common things,
mute a need for flamboyance or panache,
talk to dullardly stones in their laysome
language. We might chitter among the
downwood, chat about how the hill
shadow has advanced so early in the
break, leave a marker of stick or flower
to compare in the slow coming days.


Let us converse in a calliope of meadow,
the fielding vernacular of crake and vireo,
warble where we are in relation to every-
thing else and, if appropriate, allude in
starling tones to a mutual dispassion.
We might remark on the paranoia of
quail, how they nearly always keep to
brush avoiding open spaces for fear
hawk may descend bearing talon rain.

Let us hush in the stealth of saxifrage,
avoiding the passerine plumage of the
orangefire paradise, its blue tongue
piercing the sky in lyrebird chording
if one listens closely enough. We will
be about the unseen this day, the per-
sistent invisible that pass unnoticed,
much as we do; the collective necessary
if we, and all of this, are to continue.

Joseph Gallo
November 2, 2009


Sunday, November 01, 2009

An unremembered sky


November Hawk

She daggers up into the oak
startled by a trespass of morning
walk, up from a sheath of field
flushing sparrow and dove in a
scatter of cries and quill dust.

Moments later the tree settles.
She sits her limb like sculpture,
turns her sharp head to allow
my slow approach beneath her.
We hold to regard one another.

Some moments between bird
and man, something between
reverence and ennui, so much
given to each nature, so much
more apportioned and withheld.


She draws a harass of mockingbird,
some ageless quarrel of kith and territory,
rapier tail brushing her back repeatedly
until she relents to set for a flight of
sheer eucalyptus across a broad acre.

Reedless shrieks come now from far
mornings of November, reminding
whatever might have forgotten her
that she is here to hold her due hitch
in the grand weave of tree and field.

I might keep this as a dropped feather,
some blankless message delivered from
an unremembered sky that said so much
in its dear moment until both were lost
to this one, to the one yet to come.

Joseph Gallo
November 1, 2009