Sunday, June 29, 2014

One foot after another

 photo Here-Before1.jpg

Here Before

I’ve been here before. Or not.
Everything seems familiar, but
how can that be? These are my
first steps beside this lake with
its mountains jutting out sharply
as they do, first beneath a rocky
dragon dream-nested above.

Water moves as if trying to hide
something stirring just below.
Not fish, not reflection, but
something known that cannot
breach the skin of such glaced blue.
So I walk, nothing more, one foot
after another until the circle appears.

Joseph Gallo
June 29, 2014

 photo 62244571-f762-413e-b156-d0a7958b0131.jpg

Friday, June 27, 2014

A piece of everything

 photo 64cc8880-1e3b-45ca-abf8-1b314bfa792d.jpg

Bumperstickers In June

A woman’s place is In Control.

Mom is off to work after working all day.
Fifteen and feeling the world burrow its way
out of my blemished skin. It presses against me
like the overblue I chose to paint my bedroom with,
useless fathoms deeped with youth, too small a sail,
too pitiful a rudder, every star a siren of steerage,
the given elements of empire. She will seize the night
as she did the day, for her children, for her children,
the weight of little concern for the days that wait
for what we don’t know, but they will come, they
will come as they always do, they always do.
In this chaos something gathers long enough to
be mistaken for order, some semblance of control
as a pit of writhing vipers, given enough time, will
spell out your name as surely as you believe it is
meant to be clearly written or dearly remembered.

 photo Piece-Everything2.jpg

Nothing is true.

I look to Edna, to Dylan, to Salvador and Ray,
to Kurt and Hermann and George and Kahlil,
anyone who will give me their time, their luck
in finding what wisdoms I lack, which are all
the wisdoms there are. Everything is false if
the opposite can hold together, bind callow
bone to shallow breath, deliver just one young
lad to his future, not a special future, just one
he might call his own for a time. And these
look to me for what they might find in themselves,
something with which to matter somewhere, some
setting sun to cast a lasting shadow beyond, to glaze
windborne in heroed silhouette until night comes.

 photo Piece-Everything3.jpg

Everything is permitted.

If I do this, then I am willing to be held for having
done so. Judgment is a consequence of inaction,
someone once said. Behold the boy that holds the
corner flush with cookie crumbs, radiance reflecting
from the dark realm of facing away from the world
when the smiles won’t stop. This is the price of risk,
to gain a piece of everything for a fleet of moment,
to stand within a tomb of one’s own creation while
the world slips beneath the sand. Tell yourself this:
Not a day, not a night, shall pass that I will not hold it
in some way dear, praise the harsh stars for their indifference,
the wind for its persistence, our forgettable swath through
this patch of time unconquerable until we meet at matched ends.

Joseph Gallo
June 26, 2014

 photo 13e0cad5-aad2-4a02-81d4-69b056c39c95.jpg

Monday, June 23, 2014

Some deeper matter

 photo Before-Settling1.jpg

Before Settling

Their wings interlock, the birds, as they do,
against the dimming sky, making for a place
known not to me or them, just making for it,
trusting it will reveal itself in a secret glade,
a small rilled valley below an outcropping,
or a copse no one has ever walked beneath.

The small town is night silent and my illusions
hold for now. It is later than I dare think and thick
mist in the channel mutes every sound save an
owl asking what she well knows the answer to.
Sleep is not far off and the body knows what the owl
knows never to ask. Such answers serve no purpose.

The birds have gone now, their interlocking wings
a mail of memory in my mind beating furiously for
somewhere in the faint stab of stars, somewhere they
might cease and be still, regroom and oil the linkages
that make their machine work such marvel, press out
beyond a poet’s eye to arrive at some deeper matter.

Joseph Gallo
June 10, 2014

 photo Before-Settling2.jpg

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Everything we cannot see

 photo Late-Spring1.jpg

The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.
~ James A. Garfield

Late Spring

June sky skews its hue, clouds cobalt
with a gathering promise of plenty—
faint, migratory, possessed of all the
dear brevity we have come to embrace.

In this life, we break things up into
quadrants, seasons—fields accruing,
fields diminishing, pieces of the sun
falling in patches we make patterns of.

If we learn one thing we must sacrifice
two. It has always been so. Ask a sunset
and a sunrise, or your grandmother with tubes
snaking out of her in the white hospital bed.

 photo Late-Spring2.jpg

When I speak now of my children, they’re
still small, always still small in my mind,
the tambour of their high voices imprinted
in phrases and pronunciations that never ebb.

So here is the truth, the secret no one has
ever been able to keep: You will have one
moment, which is a series of moments, and
not a single moment more than the one.

June sky succumbs to marine fog that hangs
just above our heads. Coyotes wake and call,
quail scratch the seedless dirt, and everything
we cannot see sustains us because it simply must.

Joseph Gallo
June 9, 2014

 photo Late-Spring3.jpg

Thursday, June 05, 2014

When what happens

 photo Remember1.jpg

I Will Remember

I will remember you when blue jays squabble
in hedge clipper cries over new-scattered seed.

I will remember you when it’s time to drain the oil
and sit the dentist chair for my semi-annual cleaning.

I will remember you when there is nothing in the sky
but boring stars, the moon too indifferent to show up.

I will remember you when there’s nothing on TV,
nothing looks good to eat, there’s nowhere left to go.

I will remember you when complaining about something
I don’t even care about and most likely never will.

I will remember you when the rent’s due and the sheets
need changing between holy cycles of sacred laundry.

I will remember you at the end of the world, when
what happens could never have been guessed at at all.

I will remember you when sitting, standing, lying
alone waiting for sleep, sweet understanding sleep.

Joseph Gallo
May 5, 2014

 photo Remember2.jpg