Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The dander of dead things

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The sons arrive midday as they always do, parched with
dust and the dander of dead things. They have come to
find the fathers they were born to lose, again and again.

Cactus steams under sunbraziers tuned to the key of dying,
always dying. Never enough rain or respite, unable to stand
within the spiny shade they so prickly cast out before them.

Are you in the adobe walls with women who waited too long
for you to show up, folded up into the hard mud built by lies
and all the hands it took to seal up whatever truth remains?

Desert things do what the desert deigns they do if they want
to be rewarded with the dark down terror that awaits them
when the sun slips from the edge of the hisser’s dry rattles.

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So they pass by, one by one, their shoes fitting perfectly
into prints that snake out before them disappearing through
bawdy saloon doors that swing on hinges wrung with rust.

A familiar voice and this son turns toward it instinctively,
hovering as it does with the scent of meatballs and tequila
saddled together in a worn pair of bad cowboy boots.

It is filled with excuses, reason, stories more laborious than
an ear has reason to torment itself with, the missed dates,
promises scattered like dropped lizard tails in writhing deceit.

But this is the way a childhood is built, one missed memory
at a time, one possibility thrown to the stars to be hung on
moonskins that disappear with the passing night that takes them.

Joseph Gallo
May 29, 2014

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Alloy and dark matter

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Leave A Message

Lately, my poems have been filled with alloy
and dark matter. Too serious, overreaching,
weighed down with unnecessary fury and
a light spread not unlike the sigh of a moth.

One day, my children will read this and still
not know me. To them, I say that’s okay. You,
too, will live lives no one will ever know you
by. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with this thought.

I’m at that time in life when things fix to split
again. The necessary and the vital carve out
new routes through and away from the frivolous,
as if that had any bearing whatsoever on happiness.

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I’ve no idea what I will do about this. It isn’t
really up to me. It’s like when I used to not be
home in the seventies and someone would call and
a machine would invite the caller to leave a message.

Sometimes they would. Other times, I would return
home to listen to the muted fumbling of a receiver
being replaced on the hook followed by definitive silence.
Oh, the things they might have said and didn’t.

When the end comes, my children will look down
into the box or the urn and wonder the same thing:
Oh, the things he might have said or done and didn’t.
And I will settle in like the light sigh of a moth.

Joseph Gallo
August 9, 2014

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Monday, August 18, 2014

In the deep and empty quasma

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Through the breath of my brothers, by the strings
of my sisters, we convene in temples of sound, ruins
made of music to speak with the dead and the living.

Bones for flutes, sinew for strummers, pluckmeal for
fingers to savor the shape of smooth necks, wear the
blood of animal skin, roughing hair of the horsetailor.

What takes us to the stars delivered us from them, wave
on wave, note by note, through the stillborn quietus that
chants our unheard names in the deep and empty quasma.

Build for me an impossible god, with kind manners
and a diamond heart, make it weep for the sun at dawn,
make it yearn for its untomorrow when I am gone.

Joseph Gallo
August 7, 2014

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Saturday, August 09, 2014

Nothing this way

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Edited from an original photograph near the Iris Nebula by Géza Kurczveil

Darks West Of Iris

This region is where the light evacuates, moves
off to leave voids where they refuse to touch or
populate amid material that makes up what we call
space and time and beauty in the name of violence.

A chain of absences may construct a rosary from
what is not there, black and ungathered save for
little pools of netherness they make when thrown
against all that irreducible brilliance about them.

If you squint just right, behold shadeprints spelling
something too faint to decipher: “Stay Out” or “I Live
Here” or “Nothing This Way” making nebulous poetry
with titles too faint to matter beyond this amusement.

If you go there, be prepared to stay. You will not need
for there is nothing to want. Adoration is enough. If you
can keep your eyes, they will be the most precious thing
in a universe that holds everything in perfect indifference.

Joseph Gallo
August 4, 2014

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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Salt and solemn water

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Mourning Services

What we say of the dead dies, too. Words uttered by
Caesar, by Xia, by forms dressed in divine festoons
who were given the accordance of such ceremony as
to inter afterlife within the shrouded shape before them.

Remembrance is a prevarication culled from an
architecture of proteins, nothing less. For those
who cannot remember, memories remain intact,
pure, inviolable, but vexingly irretrievable.

When my grandfather lay still as an autumn leaf,
we huddled in the pews, our hardened shoulders
touching the strange familiars of our own family,
salt and solemn water rivered in reverent weeping.

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This was the way I thought it was supposed to be.
Their dancing gone suddenly extinct meant sorrow
and the mourning of eras lost to the maraud of our
own lives that whispered swim or be subsumed.

So I swam, pulling hard for the banks, dark eddies
buoying me through fortune’s minerality, fair winds,
surface turbulence, the wisdom of water encompassing
whatever would strike an ill-advised course through it.

I’m older now, toweled off many times, the salt
caked and pleading to be washed off again soon.
What we say of the dead is lost to living as to the
memory of it, unto the felled ruins of forgetting.

Joseph Gallo
August 5, 2014

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