Friday, July 20, 2012

For what we will be


For Karen

Tens of thousands of stories are lost. Ours is not yet
one of them. The child left behind when the wagons
rolled West without her. The family dog who thought
he smelled a rabbit somewhere down a flooded wash.
The lovers who went over the falls rather than not be
allowed to love one another. All things move to the sea.

Our story is but beginning like the first bird that wakes
before the dawn takes hold. The dark branch that takes
the black wing to hold it before the absence of the sun
as necessary as the ruby breast that catches its first ray
in a distant sugarpine ambered against the high ridge.


We are like levers of a complex instrument, the uraab
of a qanun, designed for performance in the accidentals
that move through lives we can scarcely measure out,
each interval an imperceptible rise toward another
future that might wait for us to catch up, or not, opting
instead to hold another against some nearby treeline.

That our story might not become lost as the most lost
of the least of these stories, we set it out beneath the
oaks, that dusk might lie its hush within it, that swifts
and owls and the hunt of hungry things might take us
into their whirling mouths, that we be remembered not
for what we were not, but for what we will be after this.

Joseph Gallo
June 29, 2012


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Always the moments just after


Empty Of You

It’s always the moments just after you
make your way from my place, the kisses
goodbye for now, the hugs that must last
until your car slides down the hill into the
crisscross of ornery crows and the dartscurry
of daredevil squirrels, past the place where
the bobcat allowed us to shoot her with our
lens and keep brief company for the minutes
two species might regard one another outside
the story of prey, past solemn horses in their
pens who lift their great heads in hope you are
the sacred bringer of fresh hay and food, then
out at last into the lane where the rest of the
world lives and my smallness only increases.


Weariness consumes the beauty of this world
like a morning you’d rather savor between sheets
equal parts scented cotton and a rain of sweated
limbs that slick the windows to run monsoon.
No one wants to be in control all the time, not
queens, not footmen, not the beggars we pass
on roads we take to pass them. Surrender is a
dropped snowcone on a summer sidewalk, all
the colors run together and only the laughter
makes it okay. But these things take time, the
gentle relinquishing, the forsworn abdicating,
the ascribing a need to know to what can never
be known. So I return to my studio, empty of you,
sit down and listen for what we could not say.

Joseph Gallo
June 18, 2012


Friday, July 13, 2012

Moving in what has not passed



It knows these things—the appaloosa with the man
on her back—the rider in the shiny horse without a
tail passing where the blind curve meets the short bridge,
how it moves past with no regard for the proud care
in her braided mane, the sunflaxed hoofs lost on what
moves too fast to consider all her kind gave and
bore through histories both known and forever lost.

Great eyes lash the reigned surprise of it rounding
from the thick reeds beyond where her gait has yet
to carry her. The saddled rider nods at the seated
rider and both know their place in the scheme of
what bears which rider where, how they arrive in
such different times to meet at this present place.


Tread and cartilage, one hushed by slow asphalt,
the other clopping a ton and a half per square inch
back into the country air where vegetables splay
out in rows toward mountains that rise like manes
of rock and precipice, where all growing things take
their rooted measure as the mirror offers a glancing
view before the horse’s rear and rhythm vanish.

Up the hill I press the pedal now, the heft of her
still moving in what has not passed, what cannot
pass until I let go the reign of her beauty fall free,
the solemn pace, hick and clitch, down the lost lane,
the equilibrium returning as a flashing whip of
hair flicks fly, a loose stirrup left for my foot.

Joseph Gallo
July 1, 2012


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nowhere to go



He goes all night from his silhouette tree—
whisker-will, jeep-too-jeep, sorryfeet, scree
as zodiacs snail across an empty branch.

Is there anything sadder, or more dependent?
Besides some rusted locomotive stilled by rain,
or that crimsed barrow alone by the hens?

I lie here, window open, nowhere to go
but sleep. An albino cricket pearls her
song with steady polish, over and over.

Joseph Gallo
June 25, 2012