What happened to those happy hours
And where is the sweet bouquet of flowers?
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
So I celebrate that lone failed hunter here, that
Anonym who first separated the wheat from the chaff.
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.