Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Arcing and impossibly soft

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Mercy Thursday

Expecting anyone, I ask motioning toward
the empty chair. No, just waiting for my
coffee. So I sit down, my head filled with
the sweetness of a morning when you’re
standing in line before light-flooded windows
and you realize through the grinding beans
and espresso presses that Sisters Of Mercy is
playing, Cohen so young and lilt-voiced, rowing
at the oars of an old heart, like mine, for instance,
and the ceiling opens up and honey swarms the
senses like sleeping with a girl for the first time,
the smell of her, the architecture so arcing and
impossibly soft, the stand-up bass of her bones
anchoring you into the quay of a soul you never
knew lived inside you, dark canals where Suzanne
once passed with her Chinese oranges snaking
through opium den dreams you forgot you ever
had, but like windowlight awash on a headboard
she tells you she’s an accountant and that this is
the taxing season of darkest coffee as she makes
for the door and you stop to consider how many
addresses you’ve read by the moon, wonder what
happened to the breathless glaze on your fingertips
once left by dew tiding along the wet littoral of
ebb-brushed hems, and the whole scene steps you
out of time to leave you thrown up on some lost
shore rich with featureless scarcity where all heroes
are left to die dearly in their own discarded legends.

Joseph Gallo
April 10, 2014

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Foolish trees and talling grasses

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Swift Returns

The day swifts return, wind will flush
the foolish trees and talling grasses shall
whisper names already known to you.

They are not yours, but belong to you,
nevertheless, for you will know them
by their music of cut air and silence.

Whitecaps in the distance will roll over
themselves before dark islands scratched
along a smeared and undefined horizon.

Nothing you can do while you doze in the sun
will matter even if you were given to do anything,
a prospect to which you remain happily unwilling.

As we breed devotion, only that which we
instill it with shall remain devoted, the hapless
sheepdog long left to dote his grazing flock.

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Will that be me at your feet, curled in cruel
punctuation asking something I could never bring
myself to ask of you what I would not ask of myself?

Sommersprossen dappled across a grinning face,
the season that teases them out as if a thousand
tiny supernovae erupted all at once but to vex you.

These are where I would put the kisses you have
long sought and yearned for, the squandered leftlings
of one passion or another, one requital scarcely enough.

When swifts return they bring with them all that
remains indefinite, all that promises never to make
one promise, for what is promise but a tender lie?

What swifts take with them when they vanish with
the dusk is not enough to account for all the fireless
stars we cannot see until we enjoin the unlasting light.

Joseph Gallo
April 27, 2014

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Who we were led to follow

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The boy follows his mother out.
All the choices that will ever matter
already line her irredeemable face.

He knows he is bound to her like those pitiful
dogs one sees roped to haggard ragamuffins
along the roadside in the middle of nowhere.

He turns to look at me as I watch them leave
and we know, we both know, we never had
any say in the matter, that who we were led

to follow was luck or the lack of it. He knows,
too, that I can do nothing whatsoever to help
him just as no one could do anything for me.

A path along a high narrow ledge without
rail or rescue. He turns to catch up to her,
does, and once more glances back at me.

As the moment dims between us, we see one
another clearly—stranded, adrift, faring sons
under sail on a sea much bigger than we.

Joseph Gallo
February 17, 2014

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