Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Labors we have grown weary of


For Federico

The million million moments, the unconscious
gestures left to the black-&-white of memory,
slow-mo or sped-up, jerkjumps that compress
or stretch the movement of time, liquored spirits
dancing in sun-mazed glasses, wraiths rising
from grilled meats and the red ends of slender
cigarettes, the mute names that die on lips that
once spoke the faces we only remember when
the film runs through the lit places that keep
them sacred and sealed in realms of silence.

We swim through leaden dark and menacing
waters towards the spaces between continents,
empty spaces that offer to hold nothing that
cannot arrive there of its own volition, by its
own calamity, an antioasis where nothing may
thrive but by brevity of will and will alone.
There may we thread tails where we uncoil
labors we have grown weary of, the sentence
of carrying what is at the cost of what may be.


It is hard to be here, to be away from there,
to be where stars slant sideways when we
dare to cock our heads so, to close the wet
orbs that see only what they cannot give
shape to, cannot lend false form or contrivial
contour, a series of enslaved coincidences not
born in the lens that gives it life, but something
else, something undertaken that has, at its heart,
no discernible point beyond the undertaking
of burying everything dead we carry around.

The happy cynicism of a creative mind may
well be the death of me. I will welcome it
without blame or blasphemy, smile and serve
tea and small sweetnesses, steep in eloquence
enough tears to tell the oceans what it was all
for, that anyone who may look upon it will know,
anyone who would skirt its wet hem will feel,
anyone who would dare dive in may bear witness
that it remains, still, not nearly large enough.

Joseph Gallo
September 25, 2012


Monday, September 17, 2012

A hundred Romes from now


Dead Boy In Italy

The author of the book I’m reading is beginning to annoy me in the margins. She’s in the country that is an adverb, but also an adjective. She’s restoring a house in Tuscany and her curt and short descriptions are jangly and nervous, frittering through nine hyper-caffeinated things in one paragraph as if she were a bus ride full of expression. This to this to that and that to there and them and those and this again.

This is the way home from frenetic groceries at five separate village shops for pasta and home gardened lettuce, blush-heavy tomatoes, bread and mozzarella di bufalo, sainted glass candles, herbs, and a witchless broom. This is she and her companion driving home through Tuscan dusk hills and coming upon an accident scene in which one small car crashed mightily into another on a blind curve. Youth is impatient except when it comes to the untimely death of an 18-year-old boy from Terontola as she gives him the benedictions of a paired sentence or so, more than she gave to the selecting of vital bathroom hardware and, as I allow my eyes to scan down a paragraph, she’s already buried the boy she describes as upright in the backseat with blood trickling out of his mouth in the empty space between the paragraphs and shoveled hasty paper over his dead black eyes like large olives so she can get home to the next series of Tuscan restoration minutiae this reader cannot seem to cease reading about.


But the boy, the boy from Terontola who will never see the towel rings affixed to the discolored but salvageable walls, the boy who gives eternity all the bread it will ever need to bake, the boy who in his hurry to write one mattering sentence in his life will never read the half-paragraph she has inked him into, the one his mother might read in translation one day and suddenly gasp at the realization it is her son, struggle in disbelief at the driver who slowed for punctuation and ran over orange accident cones to get dinner at a table al fresco, to swirl wine in glasses she inherited from the ex-pat woman she met who knows everything about Italy, every useful number, every historical attenuation except the boy, she doesn’t know the boy and if she reads the passage she will still never know the boy because not all poet-novelists are romantic sentimentalists like I am, are not given to conjure the best carpenter from the honest mechanic who can recommend a good sabbiatrice and a man who has access to an olive press at a good price with a cousin not far away who will deliver it any day before La Festa del Mare Negro because no one works a day before or after and there are simply some holidays no one stops to mourn a dead boy for, and these timely acquisitions hastening to get home may reappear a hundred novels from now without mention of pedigree or that it sat on the hurried lap of writer as she passed a dead boy, the dead boy of Terontola who will still be dead a hundred Romes from now, so I will stop here and now to break bread over his broken body, spill dry wine on his wet red lips, because the Tuscany I come to visit will still hold him as dear as cut flowers while she is long gone off to shop in the check-out blur of her true home in the overboyed country that is mall-to-mall America.

Joseph Gallo
April 5, 2007


Sunday, September 16, 2012

If i go to the window


Twenty Glasses

We listen to the night and the night
listens to us. We survive the labors of
life only to thrive in the labor of death.

Enigmas arrive every day. We are no
different. The man at the table reads
from a book and for the next hour,

every three minutes, he purposely knocks
over a glass. We watch with anticipation
as if one of those glasses might spontaneously


reconstruct itself. Instead, the pile of broken
glass grows with each fallen tumbler leaving
us to think on the dual nature of gravity.

Outside, coyotes do not rouse you as they
have me. If I go to the window, the moon
has already slipped behind the far trees.

Every breath brings me one more closer
to leaving all of this. I think on this while
you sleep dreaming tables and glasses.

Joseph Gallo
August 21, 2012


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The drone of impending rapture



Fog hides the owl that
beacons the drone of
impending rapture for
mouse or vole or night-
foraging rabbit or moon-
skinned snake, question
by question as to whooo
it will be, the murmurous
cadence trancing stealth
to reveal itself as if called
to rise before a taloned lord
of absolution that promises
to raise up among dead
all who willfully concede
to be lifted. Thus, I stand
ready at the window, fog
for a heaven, feathers my
salvation, devourance a
just and graced reward.

Joseph Gallo
September 3, 2012