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Lost In Our Creations,
We No Longer Believe In Falling
The starlings are quiet in the look of things.
The trees are not breathing.
There’s this place you’ve got to get to,
where the lovers are not looking up.
There’s this thing you’ll never know,
though you might listen to both sides of the argument.
And though you meant to stay,
these aren’t your people.
Though you practiced your balance, and your special walk,
the rooms are askew.
Voices go by too quickly.
The gestures are intricate, and just past memory.
So let’s play the adult game, where you get to start all over again.
Some days, today for instance, you’ll close your eyes.
You’ll go out and lie in the garden.
You’ll begin covering yourself in earth.
No Encores. No Autographs.
When I was little, and could float,
I made up my mind to touch everything
on the way. Here I go and
Yes into the red leaves, the winter logic.
Waving seemed so sad
when I was mild, and could hear
the sounds of the house
growing into the hill. The eternal workings
of the going-to-be,
while out to the left
there’s a hole in the overcast. A little hole.
It may be growing,
it may be shrinking. Hard to tell.
Either way, it comes back to now
It comes back as people I knew once,
fading in and out of buildings and trees
in a north wind,
while, full of spider webs, the porch
glistens in dew and first light.
A foggy translucence covers the world.
You can go out and read the argument
in the grass.
Just take off your shoes.
You can call yourself a pilgrim,
noting the texture of matter.
You can go from here to here.
In The New Age
In the new age tourism is the answer.
It’s cinematic meditation.
In the new age everybody sings over the fields.
We have a very repetitious soundtrack.
We will go to the mountain when it’s all the mountain.
We will share one name.
It will be long, in the new age.
How can I mourn its passing when everything passes?
I’m becoming a mystic.
The question of the unmovable question.
The guess of the missing words.
I’ve already gotten your point, so here’s a new point.
The sun is bright and hot in the new age.
The trees blow about.
On Your Brilliant Escape
In the city of the made-up city,
you can watch them meet.
Desire in the backyard.
Desire down the lane. Wallowing.
You can press
your enormous eye
to their window, and see them
taking it up,
becoming little red birds.
And you can demand they hear you,
there at the light switch,
a fist the size of the opera house,
I’m small. I fall soft,
they could say.
I’m lovely. I know you.
*all poems reprinted from “The Little Book of Guesses” with permission by the author*
John Gallaher is the author of Gentlemen in Turbans, Ladies in Cauls (Spuyten Duyvil, 2001), The Little Book of Guesses, winner of the Levis Poetry Prize, from Four Way Books, and Map of the Folded World, forthcoming in Spring ’09 from The University of Akron Press. And is currently co-editor of The Laurel Review and GreenTower Press. His poetry has been published in Boston Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, FIELD, jubilat, The Journal, and Ploughshares. He holds graduate degrees from Texas State University and Ohio University and lives in rural Missouri.