Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What we think, what we choose


Graces Fall

We begin so high, the slow climb to summits
we were born to rediscover and attain. Once
arrived, we sample the air, test vapors for their
vintage, savor subtle differences between rarified
blues, note the absence of angels this far up.

We struggle to survive until we come to
understand this was never meant to be a struggle.
We learn to sit, to be still in such atmospheres,
to move with purpose rather than persistence,
refract what elements would seek to suit us.


This is all meant for the body, for spaces
between atoms where the ages thrive to
bring us to some place we might call home.
What we think, what we choose to believe,
has so very little to do with any of it.

This is the worn path of prophets and
sailors, footprints left in sand and foam
that lead the way toward a destination that
is but a traverse through commencement.
This is where what we call grace falls.

Joseph Gallo
March 24, 2010


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Held in the bosom of a city


She Always Wanted To Go To Paris

For Kim

She always wanted to go to Paris. She wanted a pair
of boots not available anywhere else in the world;
buttered croissants warm beside a cup of delirious
coffee strong enough to flatten the Arc de Triomphe.

She wanted the light on her arms fragrant with mist from
the Mediterranean, a dark Moroccan man’s hand sliding
along the brace of her nape as if tracing the north coast
of a map of his homeland where her desire spends winter.

She always wanted to go to Paris. Stay for months and fly
to Texas to see her father, for him to live forever and still
be alive when she flew back to France and, when airborne,
settle into a dream that her mother would be at Roissy waiting.


She wanted to misspeak a thousand irregular verbs incorrectly,
watch a waiter imperceptibly wince at her better-than-average
attempt to decimate their cherished tongue, order the wrong
thing and act as if it were exactly what she wanted.

She always wanted to go to Paris. To be mugged by a street
thug who clapped her in the back completely unprovoked
while his girlfriend watched and surrendered her right to be
counted among women who should never have to suffer so.

She wanted art flooding her senses, the audacity of it, the
singularity of pricelessness overwhelming her callow sense
of beauty deepening her encompassing of what it is to be
held in the bosom of a city of such incomparable light.


She always wanted to go to Paris. She wanted to sit alongside
the river and watch reflections race the slow summer sun,
spy lovers lazing along the loping banks whispering French
words in French ears with French mouths hungry for conquest.

She wanted this and little else. To be seen among its citizenry,
mistaken for Parisian by boorish Americans who would never
know her uncle was the same cavalier swashbuckler as theirs,
a prattling young cuss who seldom gets the ways and words right.

Joseph Gallo
March 5, 2010


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Something else given


Quail Under Brush

To paint them would diminish.
Their color, unpalettable.
My hand, unworthy; the light
irredeemable as sleep.

To live in perpetual alarm would
nail canvas to wood, wood to
shadow, shadow to sky and all
that would bear harm from it.


Dirtmound serves a perfect
promontory. The tasseled
sentinel holds wary; any
suddenness cause for claxon.

They sight me in colors swathed
by the spectrum of their rich
vision. Heat and aura paint
me with threatless precision.

Signature not owl, not bobcat,
not hawk; vertical, observing,
nothing imminent, but something,
something else given to mistrust.

Joseph Gallo
March 1, 2010


Monday, March 01, 2010

Beyond this beginning

So go down the road. Be death, be stardust, enter the
duality known to the generations who are vanished,
who left behind this double image, but only half
the message, just the instructions for how to begin.
~ Eleanor Lerman (from her poem Muons Are Passing Through You)


Instructions For How To Begin

It all looks so simple. Every day begins not too unlike
the millions before it: a rousing, a stirring, a changing
from nocturne to reveille as owl gives over to rooster.

How this will all unfold, no one can say. It is the first
lesson we set aside before bearing wing, paw, fin,
foot to its taken purpose. Everything does it this way.

The journey promises one thing: it will reach an end.
It will not spur you to go this way or that.
One signpost is as good or useless as the last.


Should you find me struggling with my shoes,
do not hold this knowledge against me. The snail
treks a world far larger than we can hope to imagine.

Half-erased, I set this for your eyes to reassemble
in any manner you might deem fitting. Beyond
this beginning there is, remember, yet another.

Joseph Gallo
March 1, 2010