Thursday, August 29, 2013

Everything that would place itself so

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We might drive out into the country, barns
and farms skimming along our sides like rain,
trees erupting and quelling in soft green plosives
as we branch and talk in matters known and not,
driving, you and I, slipping meadow by meadow,
curves tracing contour determined by land, row
after row, the quiescence spooning through the
windshield, livestock dotting the dry hills between
live oaks seized by poses they keep without flinching,
skystrike and thunder, the seasons harden everything
that would place itself so before such reckoning.

Deeper into travel we might go, the journey of
no consequence, where is here to there, and there
is here again. Lines on the road draw us like painted
breadcrumbs, the real story stained in faded asphalt
that leave the roadway and disappear like everything.
Speed limits slip ahead into the future, we might turn
to say at the same time, the chances of that as possible
as angels strafing happiness overhead. Foothills flecked
with ranchos and summer villas, courtyard gates blued
and greened in weathered patinas that throw back their
heavy locks into the lancing of our fleeting eyes.

But all this has yet to happen. We are still weeks away
from arriving at the leaving for it all, the small epoch
tucked safely away in calendars we’ve yet to turn and
smooth with our hands as if the endless were navigable,
as if the days were promised and held for our passing like
a dinner invitation just down the street past the chained
dog we always recoil from not trusting the surety of iron,
the snap always clanging in the bells of our bones, the
sharp clatter of covered dishes nearly always falling onto
the sidewalk before we’ve gone four houses from home.
We might drive into the country, then again, maybe not.

Joseph Gallo
June 17, 2013

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Whose fortunes bend along other branches

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The Vacant Gallery

We’re all making a mistake. As Rome is full
of cats, we go on making them, one after the
other. Fugues of sorrow, flames of joy, our
becoming is our undoing. So we drive into
the country and it’s still there as if it had waited
for us all this time to arrive like a lost miracle.

We come to this mistake like angels carved
from the mistyped angles of light they are,
wings full of abandoned wind they lead us
to fruitless trees we ask yield not for us, but for
those whose fortunes bend along other branches.
Even approaching night descends like a blunder.

But miracles are never for those who need them.
Pray alongside a truck for the man or woman to
become yours forever and it leaves to make its
tardy rounds. The opposite of everything is true.
Rain falls to cure miracles with mud and mayhem.
Leaves are torn from limbs to curry heavenfavor.

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Walk with me a bit, through a gallery of memories,
places I rarely visit any more, people I see when I
forget how important they are or never were. Here,
a weeping girl crazed with misplaced love strumming
her moon lute in the wind, forest all about, thunder
beyond horizons she conjures in a pattern of chords.

I can only be your friend awhile, no advice that I
myself have long ago abandoned. The bright worlds
of tomorrow are majestic just enough that a word can
absolve them from their intentions. Youth suffers age
until age suffers youth no more. Sons sit with their
fathers only when scars of embarrassment attend.

In these ways we hurl ourselves into the howling stars.
Nothing hurts and everything does. An old man sits alone
in a room, door open, his back to all he has faced down to
survive. He may have just made love to a French woman
who unknowingly has opened a decade of happy regret.
He must be alone with it now, before dawn brings sleep.

Joseph Gallo
December 19, 2012

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Branches of the dawn

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When I arrived at the Temple of Fear, you were already
there. Robed in mulegrass and lichen, you lay draped
over stones where macaques rouse the branches of the
dawn, day after day, amid parrotskitter and phalanxes
of driver ants marauding the jungle floor in search of
the next unwilling god to bring to war, vanquish, enslave.

Your gaze was green, mantis-eyed, lost on some detail
unseen or irrelevant, fresh blood cherries bowled at your
elbow left by pilgrims long vanished by night’s end.
In your hand, a black quill poised over broodpaper seized
with grace, something arced and sloped there in an alien
cursive no clever deciphering would reveal as to meaning.

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Somewhere above us, monsoon moved in the sky as
I stood trembling before you. This was the place for
that. To immerse in serene wrath or subsist on silence
was my dilemma as I pressed and repulsed in stillness
as leaves fell mute, clouds joined and ripped apart, all
of it free of omenology, any sense of contrived direction.

So I did nothing, said nothing, and left the way I came,
back through doubt and regret, lianas twisted in slipless
knots, the way I knew I had come yet all of it foreign and
untraveled, strung anew without meaning or purpose, the
passage impenetrable and inviting, hacking and cutting,
until I stood in the clearing holding the sword of the sun.

Joseph Gallo
August 1, 2013

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Sunday, August 04, 2013

And all that it might bring

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Summer In The Days
For Karen

Summer in the days now, you at the other end
of a long one, falling asleep before we’ve said
what or who, like the owl I spooked this morning,
or the moon in its waning roundness running from
sharp sun and all that it might bring with it this day.

We hope water will be enough, that where we stand
might afford a bank to lie our green bodies upon,
a small nest hidden in oleander where a young bird
squeals hunger to mother, to father, both too busy
with morning provisions like the curled spider of
Segovia’s plucking hand playing Gavotte en Rondeau
along a strung trellis of shimmering nylon that provides
all we might ever need or desire in this province of flesh.

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Who can bear the sky such as it is? The circling we
press into with our wet noses against clouded glass
and the black sphere of believing it all matters for
something other than what it matters for, everything
not nearly enough, not yet, not as I slip my dry hands
beneath your soft breasts and, like Atlas, endeavor to
hold such bountiful unborne worlds bravely above me.

Summer in the days now, yes, and this will resummer
the places given to and taken by all the barren winters
before now that have visited broken shapes in the ice,
thrown down stillness into the underriver’s embrace
to scrum and polish all the way to the bright bluing sea,
all the way to where we might again be scattered enough
to shore a small place, a place we might lie side by side.

Joseph Gallo
August 2, 2013

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