Friday, December 21, 2012

Dark islands passing


Last Day Of The World

An egret will swoop beneath the oaks,
winged with white grace and angelspar,
pass out and over the flatlands below and
no one will see it do so but you and you alone.

A gopher will push earth up and out,
press its head through and tuck back
into its black hole to emerge another
day, perhaps, when this is all over.


A man will step out into the cool sun,
sip morning coffee and hold the sea
in his eyes, the unworried blue beset
by dark islands passing on the horizon.

A woman will rest her head on her hand,
in France, let’s say, turn her gaze West
where everything passes to yesterday, ask
another glass of wine to promise her nothing.

Joseph Gallo
December 21, 2012


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Something outside our own time


Delft 1662

We follow the walls along the canal, moss
wet where the stonesplits never dry out,
arches and thresholds long set before we
ever came into this world. Human smells:
vegetables in a pot; animals and leavings;
tobacco ghosting from windows; the oily
spirings of fish breaking the ship still surface.

When it’s cold like this there is visible
evidence of the moist clocks within us,
the relentless cadence that marches us
towards patient flowers in the fields.
Midway over a bridge, we stop to gaze
down at wavy figures leaning up that mimic
and match our every thrall-held mocking.


The city will never again look as it does
right now. Across the inlet, a man seated
before an easel lifts his head now and again,
regards us merely as shapes within a purpose.
What that purpose is cannot be known for
centuries, perhaps, when we might again be
seen by something outside our own time.

Night will fall heavier than usual, we sense,
so we turn to put the wind at our coat backs.
There are mouths to kiss and feed, bellies to
fill as there are stars to look down and see it
all for what it is. Closing the door, we think on
the man, his paint drying, everything keeping.

Joseph Gallo
December 11, 2012


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Everything there was


The Cruelty Of Continuance

Swan slips slow across sunplay on the lake
where the winter girl went through the ice.

Lark sits the meadowbroke oak limb
where the bright rope held the still boy.

White cloud passes through a space in sky
where the plane fell into the dark blue sea.


Mother removes forgotten clothes from a dryer
where yesterday a small form fit them perfectly.

Children sit before chalk alphabets and open books
where one morning took everything there was ever to learn.

Joseph Gallo
December 15, 2012


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Something heavy and old


Lonesome Underground

Some say we was touched, not by angels
or worms, or holy living things, but by
troubles of this world that follow a man
all the way down into the last hole he’ll
never dig himself out of. That’s the way
it was, the black and white of it, the penny
candy of it, the two day old bread of it.

So we kept moving, across states that
held their nose for having us, passing
as quickly as a setting sun would let us.
There were river bars with banks no foot
or snake dare linger too long on, rocks
with faces of dead Indians etched by the
breaking of rain and wind against the
indestructible. From winding vistas we
saw the expanse of fruit trees dissolving
in coastal mist, crops laid out like herring-
bone binding the wounds of something
that might never heal, something that
looked to bleed itself forever over.


There was crosses sticking up and out
of the ground, scattered in rows, sorta,
some straight as lightning rods, some
crooked as the Devil’s tail leaning nine
ways towards Gehenna, names carved
in the halfbeams, two dates separated
by a short dash between, the lingering
scent of a silence that wouldn’t budge
before an onslaught of morning larks.

That’s when I heard it, like a muffled
harmonica coming up from the soil,
a tinny reeding like lips across a waxed
comb, faint at first, then steady and
sweet almost. But there weren’t no one
there, no one above ground, that is, so
I walked among that field of mounds
and something like a sadness come over,
a sure slow sorrow better kept in a shut
box, maybe, hid under something heavy
and old, something like lonesomeness.

Joseph Gallo
December 10, 2012