Sunday, November 30, 2014

That you may yet still


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Drachenthrax Farewell

To My Dear Readers

As with all things, there is a time to cease and dissolve. That time has arrived for the “terrible dragon” I created and named, Drachenthrax. It has been a journey documenting approximately one-sixth of my life, thus far, though it represents only a fraction of the total volume of my output during that time.

Much happens in the relatively small space of a decade. Within the pages of this 10-year archive, begun in November 2004 while living in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge, is a collection of some 446 postings consisting primarily of poems along with accompanying photographs mostly of my own creation.

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Here can be found tributes to lost family, friends, and loved ones; over-indulgent paeans to endless longing as well as sentimental poems of love attained, feigned, and regained; photo essays and ranging remembrances of people, places, things.

Nature and animals feature prominently throughout this past decade as do forays into labyrinths of wonder, doubt, regret, conjecture, gratitude, loss, acceptance, and the many expansive vistas of personal success and failure.

A door closes, a window opens.

I will be building a new and proper website, under my own name, that will become a repository for future original music, art, and the written/spoken word. When complete and duly hosted, I will update this last posting with the embedded link should anyone stumble upon this blog and choose to follow this venture into its new web presence.

I wish to thank the many readers over the years who visited Drachenthrax and tendered their valuable time reading and perusing its pages. To date--whether purposely or by accident--there have been well over 37,000 visitors from around the world. It is my hope that some of you found respite and reflection here and that, from time to time, you may yet still.

I thank you all sincerely and hope to see you at the new website
sometime in 2015.

Joseph Gallo
November 30, 2014

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Friday, November 28, 2014

A place to perch

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What Brings A Bird

What brings a bird may not bring a bee.
Fusion and space to make that happen.
Eruption of a seed and a place to perch.
Coniferous parsonage, temple of nectar.

What brings a bee may not bring a bird.
Fusion and space to make that happen.
Catacombs for new unborn to become.
Pollen, hierarchy, communion, obedience.

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What brings a bird may not bring a bee.
Sky and treescape, hedgerow, cliffside.
Nestingness, a place for fragile things.
Vigilance, parentage, nightstars, warblesong.

What brings a bee may not bring a bird.
Sky and treescape, hedgerow, cliffside.
Enduringness, a place for soft things.
Diligence, design, dance, springsong.

Joseph Gallo
November 23, 2014

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Every lost and wandered thing

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What was silent in the father speaks in the son.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


He wants to tell me something.
What he knows of impermanence,
the perseverance of chased quail,
four ways to summon regret, the
misapplication of punctuality, how
to craft tombs for waiting boys.

It will be a busy morning, this.
Easy to imagine him as he once
stood outside my door, Bermuda
shorts and cowboy boots, holding
a sack of meatball sandwiches, the
surprise at my surprise at his surprise visit.

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And now, nine years later, he
waits still for me to visit, just
once, with some cut flowers
swaddled in tissue bunting to
lay on the grass above the plate
that bears his name into oblivion.

I will go, I tell myself, again and
again, the camera pulling back to
reveal the shouldered son shuddering
alone on the ground, dead leaves
tracing every lost and wandered thing,
the pull of branches inevitable as winter.

Joseph Gallo
November 24, 2014

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Where the world wants in

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You Who Do Not Weep

You who do not weep will not know the dawnfallen
sorrow of an extinguished star, the nonet of a nightcrane
grieving in the shore reeds until the dream was forgotten.

You who do not weep will not know Scarlatti played
in stone shadows carved by where the world wants in,
the stillness required for such unseated movement.

You who do not weep will not know the deglaciation
of departing November, autumn extended fully within
the withered flourish of every green thing granted you.

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You who do not weep will not know the ginger owlwalk
that does not flush from the oaktop, that settles a deviled
silhouette to burn steady as rising Sirius on the horizon.

You who do not weep will not know these words,
the music heard by lovers come ungathered in history,
the sweet ruin of time’s inscrutable harlequinade kiss.

You who do not weep will not know the weeps you
might have had in a quiet summer house seasoned by
everything you cannot imagine required for this to be.

Joseph Gallo
November 22, 2014

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

If they would be enough

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At The Core Of Discovery

I will not say anything that has not
been said before. I’m not that clever.
Nor will I try to be. But another jay
won my gaze and an oak limb fell
during the night; a hawk held its own
like a range fence some hare might pass
beneath without snaring a single barb
or flushing a single unnerved wing.

These are the ways of our days, the
immutable rhythms that syncopate
and cadence every beat we step to.
I dreamed a woman handed me a
canvas bag. “Take this,” she said.
Inside are all the heartbeats you’ll
ever need.” I took it and wondered
if they would be enough, if I would
use them wisely, misspend them,
scatter them about like dropped
irons in a steely unstoked mill.

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I dreamt Oregon, too. I was moving
back and was saying: I told myself
I would never leave California, trade
persistent sun for perennial rain, that
drought was a part of life and nothing
should be always evergreen at all times.

But there I was as the cold bit and
the coat snapped, the river snaked and
the slow slopes of the high hills lifted
the trees up to see volcanoes set against
unbreachable blue, salmon sneaking past
just below, the grey grime of winter already
curbed in the empty streets, the ghosts
of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
speeding the great Columbia towards
calamity and fortune, canoes and barrels
filled with suspicion and unbelieving,
my own atoms hesitant and unstable.

This is the way of what we cannot know.
This is the way I came, the way I will have
to go. Like you, the choice merely seems ours.

Joseph Gallo
November 1, 2014

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Monday, November 24, 2014

In the wound of knowing

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Along the fenceline, my headlights sweep across
a coyote with a favored front paw tripling the
scurry in his hunt to merely get through this night.

Rabbit will not be his to chase down, nor possum,
nor raccoon, nor ungated dog, wary feral cat. For
these brief seconds I see him, it does not look good.

Rattler bite, some rival or tribal canine exception,
who can say. A misjudged jump over a creekbank,
a cancerous pox embedded deep in his given gait.

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Orchards settle themselves into the contour of
mist-blurred hills, hunker against any possibility
of the sky bearing fruit of unblossomed rain.

Coyote lopes along until my turn loses him to
the night. The world cannot concern itself with
so small a thing for there are tragedies enough.

Days go by go nights go by go I into the dig and
drag of a running life that will not cross his hobbled
path again, but in the wound of knowing he is there.

Joseph Gallo
November 5, 2014

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Friday, November 21, 2014

In this ancient way

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Two Crones

We come upon them as they amble up from
the Permian, fish-coated, flower-hatted,
small plastic bags filled with sandcombing
treasure thrown up by a sea seething with
plesiosaurs and crest-skimmer pelicans.

They are a color study in smiles thrown out
in two nets that reel us in as we stop to ask
what they’ve found. Over coldbitten fingers
stained black by the indelible tars of living,
one of them holds up her open bag to show us.

“Some nice shells here,” she says, “a good
day on the beach, look—even some seaglass,”
as we nod our heads in carousel pony approval
to whinny our admiration at such favoring
fortunes under dark, umber-gilded clouds.

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The other begins to tell us how long they’ve lived
here in this tiny beachtown, their beacon smiles
the only sun we’ve seen all day, the both of them
utterly invisible to everyone else that stream past
us to get what little the remainder has to offer.

The four of us speed through the Ages to arrive
where we are, the way iguanas race across rock
spalted by relentless evolution and the persistence
of things settled just enough to inhabit this lifetime,
the one we find ourselves in now, here, together.

As we turn to continue our walk, they drop
goodbyes in slivers of disposition seasoned by
summers gone into carryless sacks we didn’t know
we had, small treasures of what it means to be
alive now, here, with them, in this ancient way.

Joseph Gallo
November 20, 2014

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What to reach for

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We snake in and out of the coastline, stitching
a templated pattern where the road retracts under
clouds kept gray with a sense of mornings more
ancient than this one might strive to be.

For this poem’s purpose, we are as old as it is,
clever as otters at bask in unobserved inlets
hidden by a blue lack of asphalt, perfect as
things are without so little as a human gaze.

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Try to hold the million days it took to bring us
here, eons without a thought of who we might
come to be, red and black skies, fleshmass washed
up on dead beaches, the first genesis of flowering.

Above the deep sandbeat you take my hand,
reminding me of what to reach for, what never to
hold too tightly lest we surrender bones, give over
to what pressures are required to build a tomorrow.

Joseph Gallo
November 17, 2014

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Saturday, November 01, 2014

Something you cannot know

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One day you wake up to this: quail
scratching the afterrain ground for
seed, anchored columns bent over
by their own impossible weight in
a double-rainbow across the meadow,
the air stripped of summer as drops
come now to sheet your shoulders
with this moment as a scrub jay lands
atop the desiccated century stalk you
fixed to the cruciform trellis with a
blue bungee cord so that jays and
white-crowned sparrows and black
phoebes might take a surveyful rest
before your gaze as you scout for
something you cannot know you are
seeking, something in the near and
far distances that have bridged every
world you’ve discovered or abandoned,
every world burned down or built up,
worlds without, worlds within.

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And now the irony of rain and sun
arrive together in that mysterious way
they do, the one science says is so
very common you forget that it’s so
each time it happens, so you don’t run
or shelter, instead you T out your arms
and turn a slow spin before all the sun-
scrubbed orbs above you that also spin
to rotate their wonders in all you cannot
see but know are there, the violent beauty
of things from a distance, shared forces
that move whales in your heart, scatter
birds in your breath, speed driver ants
through the blood tunnels that riddle
you with sorcery and dark magic, move
you out into something that only seems
outside yourself, a mirror meant for such
madness if you will but reflect there.

Joseph Gallo
November 1, 2014

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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

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