Friday, April 20, 2012

How we came to this


Il Mare Dolce

We stand on the beach in black ascots dawned with white linen finely tailored before dead-eyed monsters netted in the sand. Tangled by such perfect curls in our hair, the wind turns an impeccable razor lashing the scalp with anemone whips, we puzzle at how we came to this. Its stench overfumes us as we recoil to rip the tide from the roots of what horrors glide beneath all we dare not imagine. What wrought this thing, this flat-nosed revulsion of gaped teeth and crab-bitten saltrubber, thought enough of its maldesign to throw it up onto the littoral as a shock, perhaps, to whatever might pass it by as if it were the only exiled monster of such frivolous making?

The sweet life was always like this. It was dulced words lost on honeyconch ears, a young girl calling from twelve sands away saying, Remember me? Dancing on the stones of the café courtyard to a poppied theme by Nino Rota? and, of course, you don’t because wine and work and beery headstorm have taken it all for the passing moment and there’s simply not enough dots left to shape the morning. Yes, these were the sweetest lives we could muster, endless cigarettes bouncing on pouty red lips like a diver testing the gravity of smoky poolwater, taking her sweet time as if she had tingled eons of it left to swan with as she sweetly pleased.

Someone always comes for us, goading by the elbow, prodding to breakfast or church, the day unlingering for any longer than you can get into what it will have you do whether or not you wish to. It’s a tug, it’s a push, a pull or a yank, a foot to the backside of an easy chair that plops you over and onto finned feet for to walk you must first swim the reasons for doing so. This is where the fathoms live and you will come, in time, to know that quite well. You will look up, as will I, to see blurry faces looking down at the shrunken monster you’ve become, a poor stunt of vulcanized stealth that cannot direct purpose to canonize or cannibalize for both are equal in the black eyes that gaze within you now on that beach of sweet sweet ebbsand. 

Joseph Gallo 
April 17, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Nothing all that good


Good Friday

The dead mouse in the road some cat dropped last
night when the moon wasn’t looking, the dawn wind
gathering a head of nothing you can put your finger
on and on it goes. The sad carnival brings a rusty cheer
to the little lives that trudge the weeds to get to the rides.

Some fields look better left empty than to be visited by
such dolorous dreams-be-gone. In your eyes, the light,
the heat warms up from the radio as we make our way
east past a group of people bearing a large wooden cross
along the roadside, Good Friday being an occasion for
nothing all that good to emerge or abstain from any of this.


Hawks have been hovering above me for days now,
another just last night on my way up the hill, skimming
the seaborne horizon pacing my silver sedan, our gazes
locked on one another. In the distance, a black circle of
sky scavengers wheel and rotate as if pinned to an axis of air.

Unto them is all given in the end and grateful go I hence
when that day should come. The moon sets like a pompous
messiah over the western ridge. Rabbits scurry brushward
and a roadrunner’s tail disappears down the draw in hurried
strides . Some consequence yet hanging in the dawn will
amass to deliver itself soon enough. I will wait and practice
the noble art of patience and hope it arrives sooner rather than.

Joseph Gallo
April 6, 2012


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

For no other reason



You don’t need a reason to canoe in Indonesia.
Getting upriver is enough. What might become
an unexpected turn is merely a throughway to
the next moment and that is all you need to know.

Life isn’t anything like this. It is what you can neither
imagine nor expect to imagine. What slips by on the
banks matters only for the time it is passing off the side
of your seeing, and for maybe some moments afterward.


Omens and portents, indications and conclusions, rise
like equatorial weather to evaporate into forgetting.
As everything in your small boat becomes what navigates
you to the next star, one learns the nature of necessity.

Canoes matter more than reasons and reasons may
just compromise your canoe. One might do better
with both or neither. Sometimes you have to get out
and walk for no other reason than to get out of the boat.

Joseph Gallo
March 22, 2012


Monday, April 02, 2012

From somewhere to nowhere


[Art] means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of the power which holds it hostage. ~Adrienne Rich

The Power Which Holds Hostage

Let us call this life what it is then—a sad landscape of small
barren hills with a lazy brook leaking through and a rickety
bridge crossing from somewhere to somewhere else.

Now place a cow with misshapen legs grazing the thin
green, a bird doing nothing on a stretch of fence that keeps
nothing in or out, a mere afterthought of poor composition.

Take this life and set before it an ordinary table plated
with common things we take in every day, porkchops
and canned peas, white bread and dying yellow butter.

Look out the window and see nothing too undifferent
from the framed scene you set yourself in every day,
the same clouds passing from east to west and back.

Now say to yourself aloud: I am here by my own choosing,
held fast by nothing more than mere will or lack of it, a
happy hostage to my own chosen sense of what is and isn’t.

Joseph Gallo
March 29, 2012