Monday, January 02, 2012

What is asked of us and nothing else



Sometimes Santa kills the family. The little
girl’s Christmas bike is found and she, three
days later. Fog skirts the channel waiting for
things to cool further. There is plenty of time
for occlusion before the new year arrives to
take summer memory from the man who lost
his daughter to brain cancer. Optimism yet skims
the sunworn surface deep moisture provides.

I wish we didn’t know these things, never had
to excuse it with a That’s life. What is asked of
us is so often inexcusable. The last day of the
year is no different than the first or any one that
falls between. But we want it to be. Pity the child
born to the day everyone wants dismissed so that
new numbers may play out their better fortunes.

Odd to think a sun or a cluster of stars cares for
any of it. We foreswear them nevertheless and
honor by their celestial bidding all we would
promise to their cold natures, give over to such
perfect uncaring believing hope is forged this way.

Five hawks may pass overhead tomorrow morning
and it would still portend not a thing. The northern
flicker in your oak may call out to you only to skitch
away the moment you come to the window. Only the
absent vulture leaves its black smear in the sky, hangs
the whole night before sweeping away to soak up sun.

Saturday doesn’t know it’s Saturday so it works just
as hard as Monday. Coffee tastes the same, but we
swear it’s richer, emboldened by some darker victory.
This is the lastness of life, the end of things suspended
beneath a commencement yet to arrive. Grasp your
small bowl and pour out the sun. It will spread to run
off your table and onto the floor as it always has.

Joseph Gallo
December 31, 2011



It used to matter: the first drink, the first
call, the first meal, the first kiss. Every-
thing was new again and this time we’d
get it right. No more swearing, no more
smoking, no more infidelity, no more
random acts of cruelty. The number of
the year would make it all possible as it
will this twenty-twelve. Today I resolve
to make a healthy vegetable soup, first
thing, and if not today, then tomorrow
for sure. It will last the week and be
supplemented with chicken breasts and
fish. Natural vitamins, low-fat, packed
with a nutritional content only a new
year can confer. The first choice is
the lasting choice, we tell ourselves.
Tabula rasa, clean slate, blank book.
No scribbling, everything on the line
and between the sacred margins.

Months from now, we’ll look back and
most of us will remember it used to matter.
We’ll recall with some distant fondness
that we were going to do this, had pledged
to accomplish that, and that now, because
spring is here, the new season of fresh growth
serves a far better beginning point as summer
lies poised on some faraway beach waiting to
caress us with the bowers of its bounteous fire.

I start my list: carrots, celery, peppers, onions,

red potatoes, zucchini, garlic, lemon, wild rice,
barley, Italian herbs, sea salt, vegetable broth,
pinches of this and that. Yes, I will look to the
firstness of things and see to it the dreaded
worstness remains far afield and unencroaching.

Proper diet, exercise, adequate sleep, more music,
more poetry, more short stories and songs, the
singular company of women, sessions of solitude
and contemplation amid my beloved nature. First
owl screech, first skirl of coyotes, first hawk flute,
first quail chitter and roadrunner clatter, first cloud
dragon, first orange and black monarch, all these
firsts yet to arrive and to be duly noted as such.

Somewhere in all this, the first lie, the first defeat,
the first lesson once again reminding that firstness
is but an illusion as everything is anew to its time.
Let this first poem stand for that and nothing else.

Joseph Gallo
January 1, 2012



Blogger mamie parried...

Both so beautiful they brought tears to my eyes. I like to start the new year being moved to tears.

Happy writing in 2012.

January 02, 2012 2:07 PM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

Aww, thank you Mamie. The new year: guaranteed to bring tears as it will laughter.

Wishing the same to you and keep aiming your lenses through your heart. :-)

January 02, 2012 3:31 PM  

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