Thursday, March 27, 2014

The dry mercy of the wind

 photo Bee1.jpg

The Bee

falls through the air like a drowsy petal
along the dim arc of my arm, down the long
perimeter of my leg to cling to my leather
sandal. Blissdrunk on sunhoney, I’ve seen
this before. Its gathering days have ended.
It throws itself on the dry mercy of the wind
allowing it to steer its fate, some collapsing
stamen to lean against, some wither of underleaf
to lay down the weight of a waiting hive, some
deep crevice to curl in among the warm red brick.

 photo Bee3.jpg

So small a thing the night will not notice.
Owls begin patrol, choirs of coyote call out
across the shallow canyons, the crisp chitter
of thrashers and mockingbirds settle the juniper
as stars undouse their lanterns. The bee is lost
to all of this as I am lost to the bee. We hold one
another for the minutes it takes to make a poem
or still a wing, brace for the coming cold and the
long eternal night, the business of this world now
of little concern in our unfolding continuance.

Joseph Gallo
March 27, 2014

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Everything that comes to claim you

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Winter’s End

Though you would never know it was ever here—
birds in their indefatigable industry, flowers erecting
bright new towers to surrender to summers to come.

No snow ever fell here and little rain. Winds run
down from the high chaparral like spooked rabbits
all the way to the sea that soaks it up like dry honey.

A roadrunner coos and struts about the house, lizards
and snakes hanging limp from his bill, proof of his
prowess in courting prizes for some yet unfound mate.

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Wild rosemary breeds new bees and hummingbird
moths eat what the dusk leaves open through the
moon-dipped night, pollinating the high starblooms.

Scatter when the big wings roost the oaktops and mind
the deliberate migration of long shadows. This is your
fortress against everything that comes to claim you.

Joseph Gallo
March 19, 2014

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Thursday, March 06, 2014

Delivery from sweet drudgery

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Winter Swing

The ropes hold fast to the crossboard, the knots
sufficiently taut in spite of seasons and elements,
strong enough perhaps for unfrayed kids, though
I would hardly chance placing any there.

Two thousand daydreams a day, each one
fourteen seconds of fleeting delivery from
sweet drudgery, the thankless tasks we lift
onto reluctant shoulders, day after day.

Somewhere, near the stump of a neighboring
oak, the plastic St. Joseph buried by someone
who thanked and forgot it after the ranch sold,
recorded somewhere in a dusty downtown ledger.

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Nothing grows in the right direction, even the
wintergrass skirls and scurvies catawampus to
everything else as if the wind put her mindless
finger there while she considered her options.

To and fro, the nudging nibbles all night,
the rocking sway teasing out clockmusic,
over and over, unseen coyotes pausing to
consider it no threat to them whatsoever.

Here the moments are planked in the grain,
the distant laughter of school children below
in the flatlands rising up in great pendulums
singing nothing lasts forever, not a single thing.

Joseph Gallo
March 5, 2013

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Sunday, March 02, 2014

Until we consent

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The Dead Do Not Stir

The dead do not stir this morning. Not with rain
this steady, streets below this quiet, everything
muffled as it is by slow clouds passing water.

To make themselves known would be to stand
out as first flowers in a spring meadow, draw bees
from the sweetest things in this undeterrable life.

No figures standing idly beneath windsullen trees,
smoke leaking from tight moues, the grimaced ache
of what it is to be seized by such persistent deadbeing.

No bouquets of overplated fare, no minced duckling
or bitterborn cherries to sugar the moments misspent
over a lifetime that might be so very welcome now.

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Instead they are nowhere to be seen, not among
fallen branches taken by the night, not among
tendrils seeking what lies just above replenishment.

The dead do not stir this morning because they
would take from us all we have been so briefly
given, all we are not about to relinquish just yet.

But the dead are patient, patient as rain. In still
provinces they will wait us out, one by one, until
we consent, reluctantly consent, to stir among them.

Joseph Gallo
March 2, 2014

 photo Dead-Stir1.jpg