Monday, December 28, 2009

What seldom matters we undertake

If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you:
I came to live out loud
. ~Emile Zola


Into This World

We pass through rooms only once, sometimes
more, noting panes of glass in the walls, doors
that might lead us out or back into places we’ve
already been. The house of a life is built this way.

Habitation comes one day at a time and rarely
are two ever the same. Some days we move with
stealth so as not to disrupt rain thrumming out
secrets on the roof. Other days, we thrive to drop
everything we give over to gravity and worse.

I came into this world as unsure as you did,
to find out that seeking a singular path was as
foolish as finding it. Now I see stillness is as
much a journey as destiny might move what
seldom matters we undertake. Arriving at this
was expensive, same as you paid for it.


In my vow of nightly silence, I dreamt
monks taught me to sing, the mute lily
broke the morning like a cannon, spring
eggs chimed like hope swathed in straw.
When I awoke, I lay speechless and drawn
up like a pink prawn left out on a beach.

The house holds all we pass through it.
A life keeps the rooms separated by doors
and hallways, connected one to the other.
Windows let the space both in and out, some
balance of possibility achieved at best.

I remind myself to let my voice as I move
about, to listen loudly with a great thirst.
In this way am I like you and you like me.
We come into this world testing, always
testing, to see if this thing is still on.

Joseph Gallo
December 28, 2009


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Where the sky falls


Excavating Rain

A million sad songs later we don’t know
when to stop digging. The vein so rich here
where the sky falls again and again, covering
everything, covering nothing. Peel and purge
is the only way to soften the cave, you think.

From what might be mistaken for ruin emerges
a miraculous bird, blue-tongued and luminous
as grassblade on a spring day. So it is with
weather and misspoken metaphors, broken
cycles returning again unto something like
triumph, something like devastation.

Walk in it then, lift your face into conflagration
and let water do its worst. You have been here
before. These are your initials left from the last
time and it will be years before they wear away,
before others in their terrible mercy arrive from
an unflinching future to overwrite them.

Joseph Gallo
December 12, 2009


A small voice the hunter


All The Days We Are Dead

Fruit gets cut, meat hangs to dry,
prayers leak from the lips, water
runs from the eyes. Shall we speak
of all that continues when we are
gone from here? Circles turn a
hawking sky; vultures find their
place in the wheel. Rabbits run
hedgerow to shadebrush, a small
voice the hunter in their radar ears.

These are the days we are dead. No
one remembers to miss us anymore.
We are laid to rest for the rest of
forever and that is the way it is.


Someone we knew rests their eyes
on a near distance and we come to
mind for a brief moment. But water
runs from the tap and there are hands
to wash, dishes to be done, meals to
plan for mouths more hungry than ours.

Season by season the flowers come,
they come and go to where flowers
go before they become again. If this
were the case for us, if Heavens were
possible, reincarnation available, then
so very little of this would matter.

Oaks move shadows across the ground,
limb by limb, hour by lost hour. Sun
burns brevity into the loss of believing
that all of this must mean something.
So this must be enough. It must be
enough or we’re in for a very long life.

Joseph Gallo
August 18, 2009


Monday, December 07, 2009

Something like a promise


November Ends

It may be already late in the year, the son
you’ve not seen for too long packing his bags
a day after spending too little time together,
the high geese incising teeth from the north
raking serrations across the sky above winter
grass already laid in for the siege of cold to
come. These things may all be so, yet little
and so much changes. Sons see the vast
acreage of all their fathers leave unplanted.
Daughters see what the seasons have yielded,
button their coats and go about their way.


This is the epoch of closing windows, sills
scraped clean of hardened candle wax, errant
streaks buffed and wiped from wavy glass.
Mothers soon mingle with chimney smoke to
wander out over rooftops and sleeping woods,
memory and fire warming where the bones feel.
Cinders, for all their sorryless tongues, douse
their lamps as conversations incited only some
brief shivered evenings ago quell to quietus.

This is how November ends. It is not all bleak and
sorrow, however. Something presses from the east,
something like a promise that what has passed will
arrive to pass again, wick by wick, flock by flock,
child by child, November after dying November.

Joseph Gallo
December 1, 2009