Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A nation of stars

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It is the waiting for the message, not the message itself.
~ Federico Fellini


I just can’t write a happy poem. It kills me, the sadness of it,
trying to strew joy and bliss and fluffy cheer across a page,
in this graying age, brings more melancholy than fulfillment.

Shall I rejoice in the early arrival of an unseasonal spring?
Delight in how spikes of damson lupine dagger the roadway
as great furballs of coyote ceanothus skirl winter halfway back?

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Gush at how my heart gleams when standing beneath an owl
settling a twilight limb, embering Venus chasing down another
fallen sun waving sapphire surrender beyond the failing horizon?

Shall I stand serenely alone in the minted darkness and look up,
always up, where an unseen destiny waits to repatriate me to a
nation of stars, my true home, quiet, content, joyful at long last?

Joseph Gallo
February 19, 2013

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Starfields vast and empty

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A thousand and a thousand, a thousand before and a
thousand after, and thousands beyond. A thousand when
no eye saw, no ear heard but our own, heelscrapes along
the longest wall, the journey undertaken in a single thousand
steps, one by one by one left to the winds that keep them, the
rains that erase them, the hours that forget they ever passed.

To sit across a table to see the finitive gazing back, the
dearness our travel takes us through, the rough of it, the
loss of it, blissful misery passing through us in an instant.
We have always been the rivers we wept down, nothing
more, nothing less. Were it not so we would have instead
made our way here through starfields vast and empty.

No words, then, no words. We cannot imagine what to say,
what not to say. Sing through this silence with me and listen
to what it sounds to be human, the immeasurable loneliness
we must all hold for the sharing of it, that we might not go
in our time suffering in the false knowledge that what we feel
we feel alone, that another thousand will never be nearly enough.

Joseph Gallo
March 8, 2013

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Friday, March 08, 2013

This untimely trespass

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Our life is March weather, savage and serene in one hour.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

This Country

The storm breaks off a piece of black mesa, hurls rock
crashing through the air. We are huddled beneath March
aspens, bare and sere against thunderclap and skyrattle.

We tug at our coats where dying winter wants in,
button and zip out what Canada sends in hopes of
taking us into its vast and crippling confidence.

On the ground, evidence of Indian horses track away
unspoken in the dirt, soon to fill in with black rain.
We have survived in such places before, you and I.

We hold fast and scout the sky for any change, some
small forgiveness that might allow this untimely trespass,
but nothing shows or lessens so we gather and knot closer.

This country is nowhere to be safe from such things.
And then it comes, all at once, the hour savage and serene,
and we know again what it is to be this small before ourselves.

Joseph Gallo
March 7, 2013

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

While I keep vigil

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Thrasher says: Lone coyote hunting in the meadow.
Roadrunner says: Day is seizing the oaks—am I alone?
Quail says: You eat, while I keep vigil.
Crow says: Just passing through; give me no grief.

Coyote says: I hear you down there, burrowing vole.
Aloe bloom says: I am here, bees and hummers.
Snail says: Race to shade for the star that kills arrives.
Moon says: For you, I set; for them, I’ve yet to rise.

Water says: I will take what night leaves down into earth.
Oak says: Drink deep, my slow limbs shelter and endure.
Meadow says: All that is possible shall through me pass.
Poet says: In this way, I take sustenance; seek to thrive.

Joseph Gallo
March 2, 2013

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