Monday, September 30, 2013

Adrift in the day’s current

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Thus we cast off the worn dress of old September,
furled and peeled with burning orange lifting off
paper days we will set aside to wear in another life.

Snakes are speaking out now, spilling tales they’ve
kept to themselves the summer long—recounting stars
and rats in dark redoubts when the red sun rained down.

We leave now these words to do what they will in
some time not yet given to us, the silences between
them, the pauses that give us so few chances to hear.

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This was one of loss, of bearing the weight of absence,
setting it down, breathing and eating, holding steady
for some, letting go for others, discovering our true sizes.

It leaves us all too fast. Scorpions are chased across
the low horizon as a triad of light crowns the sky with
triumphs it has yet to earn so early in the season.

We will watch the reflux of time sift backward to
leave us adrift in the day’s current, marvel at the
terrible beauty of it as it strains all belief to bursting.

And we will talk in more amber tones, fill steeped cups,
bring out bigger blankets, prepare for what gathers in colder
circles, all of it arcing gracefully to ensure we use all we have.

Joseph Gallo
September 30, 2013

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

The hardest part of living

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Being a poet sometimes puts you at the mercy of life; and life is not always merciful. ~ James Wright

At The Mercy Of Life

Let’s get something straight from the start:
Life guarantees only a successful exit. All
other considerations are negotiable, or not,
impressed by fortune and favor, subject
to the tyranny of its own imperious terms.

This one was lucky, we might say, or That
one was doomed to survive his own good
fortune. Life unfolds itself from a misshapen
knot of future into what we would be forced
to embrace were we not seeking the contrary.

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Some might call it predisposition and they
would not be incorrect. One encryption after
another arrives and renders through tangles
of wire we bind ourselves with, each message
holding only some of the crucial data.

So we fill in the gaps by guesswork, caulk
fissures of happiness or misery with pliant
fictions we know are not the truth, but hold
them anyway as if not picking them up might
prove to be an anchored feather in the sky.

And we cannot shut the sky. It will do as it
will, with and without us. Let this not be
mistaken for that and that not be any more
than this. We come, in time, to learn the
hardest part of living are the memories.

Joseph Gallo
December 13, 2011

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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

For the moments it takes to do

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I Am Of

I am of the questioning end of a wire hanger,
poking almost through the skin of my one-year
old cheek, standing resourcefully in my crib
overlooking the wooden floors my mom could
not carpet enough to break the falls to come.

I am of the upturned thumb at fourteen when the
man picked me up in his car with the magazine
open on the counsel showing naked men doing
things I did not look long enough to give detail to
but saw enough to turn the handle at the red light.

I am of the motel pool I nearly drowned in, my
young mother a few feet away and preoccupied
with drinks and deckside chat, chattering away
like teeth in winter, paddling for the side of the deep
end, a place I would find myself more often than not.

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I am of the turned knob that let me into the bathroom
where Amber was bathing and Jeri was seated and how
I saw both perfectly as their forms burned permanently
into my spacious boy’s memory as the embarrassment
flushed my face down the toilet of an excited shame.

I am of the pictures that form in my mind, overlaid
in strange mosaics that make flame weep and rivers
burn, doors in the smiling mouths of women, their
limbs curved in iconic architecture racing back to
stone and iron born in the collapsed hearts of stars.

And I am of this, this doing for the moments it takes
to do, pressing letter after letter instead of hewing canals,
or driving herd animals, or hunting wild hooflings,
beholden to others to do such things for me that I might
enjoy the shameless squander of this luxury I am so of.

Joseph Gallo
May 30, 2013

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