John Gallaher




Neighborhood Institutions

It's a project, isn't it, this version of wandering the forest
with the purpose of getting lost and being found at nearly the same time, and in
    proper order,
until a tree or something comes between them
and you're no longer certain which is lost and which the peonies,
or if it matters, really, to the project.

Like Albany, for instance, or when you were first on your own
and every little hint of possibility was a blissfully painful scab
you couldn't help but worry
in a careful, focused way, as if all offers were real offers
and no was every bit as thrilling as yes.

And what about the windows?  What about each car
along the road?  The yard is full of them, and we're calling it heightened, and
out there on the porch waving and jumping up and down,
as we go on with our deliveries and postcards,
the artist and the model, equally seen, and the one of the bridge, or the one of the
     pink kitchen, as if
there ever had been a conceivable past, or near future
here in the project, walking the forest,
past the windows, the stuttering line of cars.

Imagine you could have it and keep having it, and go on
like that until it's all one thing swirled up into something you might call happiness,
     or cake.
The gloss of it, the impossible forgiveness of it.




Postcard from the Revolution

One of the further problems we had was how summing it up
came to stand for the thing itself, how we might say
a town of precious metal rising from the swimming pool in summer
is the same as "here's what's going on
this morning." This may have far-reaching consequences
for the way we think about decorating products, for example
books, furniture, or signs. After all, we all have plans of our own,
as standing here, consciousness mounts around us, until there’s nothing
to do but what we're doing. Things are passing by the window,
as I recall, or see myself recalling on one of those videos of that summer
by the infinity pool that we always say we're getting set to completely ignore
but for the trimmings, hammered out, and skirted around the yard
where we have to stand because they've set the cake on fire
so that the woman jumping from the cake
is jumping through fire. Weren't all of our summers this way,
as we approached from several directions, each of us
into one inch squares of light saying the city was this
and not something else? We used to see angels in the bushes, we said,
then they were birds, now we're thinking perhaps clouds, but we keep
promising, we keep being sure, so the city fathers name them
Angel bushes, as the brightness of the day assisted them, reducing
the thickness while expanding the area with a complicated
but subtle texture. We check out the list of demands and it's filled with things
we like but never used to like. It assists us greatly in our magic tricks,
hoping for a closeness that the crowd might find pleasurable,
while continuing into the distance, so that the ushers will have something
to talk about later. That, yes, and we make allowances for the things
we love, like the book and the cover, while pulling a rabbit from under
a further rabbit, as if our conversations with the mirror might leave room
for compromise, and all along the ornate past, a seam weaves itself
into the wallpaper so that this feeling is something to bear away
into some next address, some next idea of the objects
surrounding the objects that we can touch and feel whole.




In the File of Discontinued Things

It looks like no one's showing up,
again.  But let's do the show anyway.  The one called,
Lincoln.  Or, Ban the Bomb. 

There's a reason for it
as there's a reason for most things. 

The sunburn of old paint.  The floor
of overlapping shadows. 

Let's say the show is over, or everything
is over.  The next show or the other show. 

I'm watching television
while reading the Constitution.  Which is easy.  (We
the floor shine.)  (In order to
order faster delivery.) 

It's winter.  And snow.  Whole wedding gowns
of snow.  Towns under wraps
and we know all this already.  Hey,

let's be the town anyway. 
We are free for a limited time. 

We can go to the show where no one goes. 




The Swimming Pools of the West

Another summer the sun travels over this
swimming pool
and scattered lounge chairs. 

We take a break.

The heat of the air
and the heat of the concrete. 

"Let's take a break."

They're talking in the shade
of the portico.  They're talking about the sun. 
At this moment no one moves, these countable people
under countable clouds. 

They say the points are infinite, and blue
over the blue tile. 
The drowsy infinity of points. 

And the clouds do not move.  The streets and the cars
do not move.  The trees and houses and fields. 
Sun and wind.

Which is a goal, day above the day
slowly revolving. 

The filled space.

Blue flowers and red flowers,
white chairs.