Tuesday, 5 May 2020

2 Poems by Louis Gallo

THAT NIGHT

What happened to those happy hours
And where is the sweet bouquet of flowers?
                        --The Shirelles

We oiled ourselves with Sloe Gin

And Bloody Mary’s as the calliope

Of the U.S.S. President blasted out

“You Are My Sunshine” before leaving dock.

Later on the upper deck we could faintly hear

Fats Domino at the piano in the ballroom—

“Blueberry Hill,” my favorite.

How we spooned in a cloud of moonlight,

How we stumbled when trying to dance

As we watched a trio of pelicans swoop

Across the river en route to Algiers.

What do I remember aside from these

Poignant images?  Not much, just a feeling

Of perfection and fulfillment and

The scent of magnolia.

I don’t quite remember who you were,

What you wore, though it must have been fancy,

I in a white tuxedo.

The occasion has slipped into the crevices

Of memory, the year, the destination

And return, the anchoring, the drive home.

Who were you?  Who was I?



OUR DAILY BREAD


Wheat fields may be beautiful in their way

Though one could mistake them for weird grass

Run amuck, yet some primitive genius thought,

Hmmm, I can make bread out of this stuff.

He was probably a nerd, outcasted by his

Mighty, manly fellow hunters—couldn’t hunt

Worth a damn—but the bread caught on and

Issued in civilization and usurped the hunters

Who soon caved in to the farmers.

No one knows that genius’s name or when

His eureka happened—not as with Guttenberg’s

Printing press or Edison’s light bulb or Eli Whitney

Or Henry Ford.  He remains an anonymous

Visionary, long gone, though the bread lives on.

I like to think also that he sang poems (no writing

Then) to his children about bread, lyrics, maybe odes,

Since the process alchemizes one thing into another

The way mere words transmute into beautiful artifacts

About love and death and time and every now and then

Bread.

              So I celebrate that lone failed hunter here, that

Anonym who first separated the wheat from the chaff.


Bionote

Two volumes of Louis Gallo’s poetry, Crash and Clearing the Attic, will be published by Adelaide in the near future.  A third, Archaeology, has been published by Kelsay Books; Kelsay will also publish a fourth volume, Scherzo Furiant, in the near future.  His work has appeared or will shortly appear in Wide Awake in the Pelican State (LSU anthology), Southern Literary Review, Fiction Fix, Glimmer Train, Hollins Critic,, Rattle, Southern Quarterly, Litro, New Orleans Review, Xavier Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Texas Review, Baltimore Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ledge, storySouth,  Houston Literary Review, Tampa Review, Raving Dove, The Journal (Ohio), Greensboro Review, and many others.  Chapbooks include The Truth Change, The Abomination of Fascination, Status Updates and The Ten Most Important Questions. He is the founding editor of the now defunct journals, The Barataria Review and Books:  A New Orleans Review.  His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize several times. He is the recipient of an NEA grant for fiction.  He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.

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