Friday, June 28, 2013

Another measure of places yet to go

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The Day We Walked Down To The Sea
For Karen

We hope summer falls on a Saturday as we head
down the wellworn path beneath the tired trestle
gone rust and oily-wooded from coaches snaking by
filled with faces pressed against the glass as waves
curl pacifically towards them from another world away.

We pass young mothers along the way waddled behind
by trudgesome toddlers who ask, When will we be there?,
over and over, their unmarked maps easily folded to fit in
their small pockets for all the worldly travel they’ve done
up to now, each step another measure of places yet to go.

We belong to no one today, hope it lasts through tomorrow,
persists in our need to pinch the flushing cheek of a future
that has yet to dawn red or at all. Past the tall sycamores and
eucalyptus we scour the shaded limbs for an owl that isn’t
there, wonder if the landbound couple might’ve made it up.

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We can smell it now, saltcrash on sunscreen, the foamy rush
burbling against fat sandwiches conched in our burlap sack.
A threading weave of gulls and terns and bridgeswifts conspire
in silent fugues above the shore as we add our padded rhythms,
one sandal thud at a time, driving a firm stitch of late hunger.

Some days open like this, as if one touch might bring on
all the wildflowers a brief season gives gladly to what love
might be found in bloom or blossom, yucca and jacaranda
setting mountains and neighborhoods afire with such purpose,
our steps finding the sure treks of a soleful stride.

This was supposed to be about so many other things, a simple
recounting of a reconnoiter from our cabin to the beach, how
the moon had left its full mark on our pale impressions of it,
how satellites slip between Polaris and Antares, stars we can’t
name, fleet spaceshooters that last scarcely longer than we do.

Joseph Gallo
June 27, 2013

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

A curl of hurt shell

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When Father Fell Out Of Bed

At the edge of the lake,
where worry presses
over and over against
shiftworn sand, the
cruel and ceaseless
lapping vexes the given
element until it is drawn,
redrawn, withdrawn to
shallows pooled by
the nightbed where
an arm, a hand
overhangs itself,
tied to a reflexive
anchor made of sleep
until pulled down
into abyss where soft
anger girds itself within
a curl of hurt shell, the
hard calcite textured
with all the fallen youth
it took to make it.

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In this, when the night
confers its uncaring
endorsement, the voice
becomes a metal cricket
in a cold weld, becomes
a shriek at the ear
of rage where the howl
does not concern itself,
but matters anyway,
matters because to not
do so means to go gentle,
to go white-flagged,
and there’ll be none
of that, father, none
of that for you.

Joseph Gallo
June 13, 2013

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Sunday, June 09, 2013

To no fool but me

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That Fool Bird

Like that fool bird down Baton Rouge who
called for a mate who would never come,
this one sings all night without no hurricane
to save it from its own lonesome fool self.

One cheet-a-weet after another, each phrase
different than the one before like he was
interviewing for branch manager or auditioning
for a solotet. From below, traffic hums gears
in harsh profundo to his steely avian contralto.

He’ll go all night because what else can he do?
Who else will he keep awake writing fool poems
about fool birds that sing to no fool but me? Then,
from nowhere, an answer comes from the night.

How that fool bird made it all the way here
is beyond me.

Joseph Gallo
May 6, 2013

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Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Tiny as they are

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June again and spooked quailings scurry the oleander.
Vigilance comes standard in the new models, tiny as
they are, plenty of room for paranoia ensuring that
every possible thing from sky or earth is accounted for.

Buffalo trees graze on dew from coastal morning plains.
Somewhere overhead two hawks screech, redtailed as
they are, leave bloodtrails in the circles of their soar,
imprecise patterns understood by both poets and prey.

Summer stands poised as a cobra to set it all aflame.
We will tend to our business, go our ways, busy as
we are, come together and depart, fill the hours with
longing for one another, watch skies from the oleander.

Joseph Gallo
June 5, 2013

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