Monday, November 28, 2011

Waiting is the psalm


Nothing Hunts

Nothing hunts when
sky forbids. Quail and
coyote deluge together.
Predation suspends law.

Hawk sequesters in her
cathedral of eucalyptus.
Vole and rabbit share
underground vectory.

Rain sounds the over-
note and everything
voices as one. This
will be the day’s song.

Vulture pulls patience
from a barren bough,
senses its wait will
prove to be longest.

When sky forbids,
nothing hunts. There
remain some things
in this world eternal.

Joseph Gallo
November 20, 2011


Everything Hunts

When sky allows,
everything hunts.
Eat or be eaten,
sings out the sun.

One season eats
the next, takes all
the brief nutrient
left from the other.

Each creature re-
positions for the kill.
Waiting is the psalm
now, sung or spoken.

We would seek
kisses taken in rain,
sight thriving grounds
known and robust.

Not all food is taken
into the mouth. Some
is left on the lips of
stars to glisten fire.

Everything hunts.
You will take your
place beside all that
would appear noble.

You will hunt when
they hunt, wait when
they wait, eat to one
merciful day be eaten.

Joseph Gallo
November 22, 2011


Friday, November 11, 2011

The endless war of enduring


Flags And Boxes

She never thought in all her life that she
would be a widow. It is a word delivered
home in a flag-draped box let gently down
from a plane as if the moving any faster
might wake up whatever was inside.

Whatever was inside was her husband,
what remained of him, what she cannot
bear to behold, nor will they allow it.
So she thinks of him asleep inside,
a deserved nap after so long a flight.


She might tell him later that one of their
daughters made a coming home picture
for him, a plane blazing across a lemon-
drop sun, coming from some place with
a long funny name, jetting toward a heart
laid out in favorite colors on the ground.

The two men who came up the walk only
days before never got to see that picture.
They saw only its borders, the nubbed
crayons scattered on a table they sat
across a wife from, a wife who would
unwillingly trade one W word for another.

These are the tales of flags and boxes,
presidents who can’t be there themselves,
grateful nations who might pause along
a road waving stars and stripes before
returning to the skirmish of living every
day, the endless war of enduring it all.

Joseph Gallo
October 9, 2011


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

My terrible forgetting


After The War

These years later, I can’t imagine what we might
have talked about on the road through Tuolumne.
We rose up and up from a night in Lee Vining,
the little motel we scratched a small make of love
in, the morning shower we made fogged-glass
faces that enjoyed mining ribs just the night before.

Yes, we talked, we made love, as if the war might
erase it all before we were through leaving ourselves
to whatever history might make of us, the war of
brevity, the war of vanishing days that take from
us everything we fail to keep through long relentless
nights that scrub it all down to the next bare dawn.


I may well have pointed out some peak or other,
your eye tracing along emerald mountain meadows
cut through by black brooks bled from stubborn crags
still summered with snow. Tales of westward pioneers,
the bloodbound recount of the Donners, your questions
tendered softly has if speaking too loud might rouse
them down from high couloirs unseen from here.

What remains from all of that is a lingered scent
of morning light on bedsheets, dreamspun curls of
gold that held your nape and shoulders like rings
of baysmoke uncoiling over low coastal hills,
sourdough breadbowls of chowder we shared as
we walked between a din of gull and Pier 39 seals.
That, and my forgetting of it all, my terrible forgetting.

Joseph Gallo
November 6, 2011