Friday, October 31, 2014

A place for the silent things

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The Oak

You may come here to remember, to forget,
to deny it ever happened, to see what limbs
and shadows might offer, branches of comfort,
leaves of change, acorns of hope, the triumph
of trunks twisting over a persistence of roots.

Here owls might convene to tell stories, their
tales left in talkless feathers among pellets filled
with the fine bones of spent quarry, wrong place,
wrong time, careless paths taken by cruelties
of happenstance, hunger, predation unmasked.

One might suppose there are many ways to
speak of such things, and to be sure there are,
but I cannot know how I do what I do in this,
this approaching of a barbed perimeter where
dark bark and scattered light pierce the holdfast.

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Voices refuse to carry beyond the outstretch of what
might heal here. This is a place for the silent things
of this world, wherein the unspoken might find
a muted eloquence: part forgetting, part reliving,
part banishing, and the brutal necessity of embracing.

That there are places like this is testament to the
underlying wisdom of our natures, one enduring,
one given to the seasons of its shared passing,
sky and substrate, rain and mud, breath and the
blanket of bone all things must bear in dear time.

Joseph Gallo
October 8, 2014

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Burning lapis on a black hook

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Berlioz On The Moon

On the first night, he had a dream. They were driving
the lunar rover and they came across tracks left by another
vehicle. They radioed Houston to ask permission to follow
them and were granted. So, they traced them awhile as
stars moved horizontally overhead and a blue globe hung
in the far distance like burning lapis on a black hook.

After some time the tracks led to a rover remarkably
like their own and there were two people in it. They
had been there for thousands of years, inhabitants
teeming with questions, proprietors of their own alien
culture. It is fitting that a man would have this dream
in the first sleep cycle on the empty grey lunar surface.

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In essence, we have been there for thousands of years,
millions, if you count our elemental make-up. And he
brought Berlioz with him, a Symphonie Fantastique
that spoke Moon to the austere beauty they held together
in a place without sky, synchronously locked to a blue
sphere just within reach in the near absence before them.

So the day broke and out they went. One of them, in his
exuberance, ran and jumped and fell on the moon while
four cameras filmed it. Sound cannot travel in a vacuum.
How then music? You may well ask: Is there anything
in the world sadder than a train standing in the rain?
I would offer: A bowed cello on the moon.

Joseph Gallo
March 3, 2008

 photo Berlioz-Moon1.jpg

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

News from the world

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I have this need
To scatter seed;
That birds may feed
That birds may feed.
~Aucassin Verdé


In the Atacama, wildflowers begin their trek up
steep canyonsides, seasonals that will last for as
long as they last. Hummingbirds in the Altiplano
weather the deathly night slowing their hearts to
survive through to the light-warming dawn.

Reptiles resurrect from winter torpor to
rake the Outback sand, sign their cursive
names in the red clay shadows of Uluru.
New eggs huddle in the birks of songbird
nests, settle into rhythms of motherfeather.

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Here, where sea meets northerland, drought
rules the ground as it always does at this time.
Autumn blooms to begin the business of dying.
Jays and quail, robins and phoebes, sparrows
and tanagers scratch scree for scattered seed.

I watch through glass, summerless windows that
surrender all the sun has asked of them, open
now to grateful invitations of cooling air, the scents
birdmusic peppers from a score of limbs on breezes
that carry up vital news from the world beyond.

Joseph Gallo
October 21, 2014

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