Tess Gallagher Quotes
When the oracle said, ‘If you keep pigeons
you will never lose home.’ I kept pigeons.
They flicked their red eyes over me,
a deft trampling
of that humanly proud distance
by which remaining aloof
in it’s own fullness. I administered
crumbs, broke sky with them like breaking
the lemon-light of the soul's amnesia
for what It wants but will neither take
nor truh let go. How it revived me,
to release them! And at that moment of flight
to disavow the imprint, to tear
their compass, out by the roots of
some green meadow they might fly over
on the way to an immaculate freedom, meadow
in which a woman has taken off
her blouse, then taken off the man's flannel shirt
in their sky-drenched arc
of one, then the other above
each other's eyelids is a branding of daylight,
the interior of its black ambush
in which two joys lame the earth a while
with heat and cloudwork under wing-beats.
Then she was quiet with him. And he
with her. The world hummed
with crickets, with bees nudging the lupins.
It is like that when the earth counts
its riches—noisy with desire
even when desire has strengthened our bodies
and moved us into the soak of harmony.
Her nipples in sunlight have crossed his palm
wind-sweet with savor and the rest
is so knelt before
that when they stand upright
the flight-cloud of my tamed birds shapes an arm
too short for praise. Oracle, my dovecot
is an over and over nearer to myself
when its black eyes are empty.
But by nightfall I am dark
before dark if one bird is missing.
Dove left open by love in a meadow,
Dove commanding me not to know
where it sank into the almost-night—for you
I will learn to play the concertina,
to write poems full of hateful jasmine and
longing, to keep the dead alive, to sicken
at the least separation.
Dove, for whose sake
I will never reach home.”
The sleep of this night deepens
because I have walked coatless from the house
carrying the white envelope.
All night it will say one name
in its little tin house by the roadside.
I have raised the metal flag
so its shadow under the roadlamp
leaves an imprint on the rain-heavy bushes.
Now I will walk back
thinking of the few lights still on
in the town a mile away.
In the yellowed light of a kitchen
the millworker has finished his coffee,
his wife has laid out the white slices of bread
on the counter. Now while the bed they have left
is still warm, I will think of you, you
who are so far away
you have caused me to look up at the stars.
Tonight they have not moved
from childhood, those games played after dark.
Again I walk into the wet grass
toward the starry voices. Again, I
am the found one, intimate, returned
by all I touch on the way.”
“Last of his toothpaste, last of his Wheat Chex, last
of his 5-Quick-Cinnamon-Rolls-With-Icing, his
Pop Secret Microwave Pop-
corn, his Deluxe Fudge Brownie Mix next to my
Casbah Nutted Pilaf on the sparser
shelf, I'm using it all up. Chanting: he'd-want-me-
to-he'd-want-me-to. To consume loss like a hydra-headed
meal of would-have-dones accompanied by
missed-shared-delight. What can I tell you?”
- Date of birth: July 21, 1943
- Born: in Port Angeles, Washington, The United States.
- Description: Tess Gallagher is the author of eight volumes of poetry, including Dear Ghosts, Moon Crossing Bridge, and My Black Horse. She will release her collection of New and Selected Poems entitled Midnight Lantern in October 2011. Gallagher is also the author of Amplitude, Soul Barnacles: Ten More Years with Ray, A Concert of Tenses: Essays on Poetry, and three collections of short fiction: At the Owl Woman Saloon, The Lover of Horses and Other Stories and The Man from Kinvara: Selected Stories. She also spearheaded the publication of Raymond Carvers Beginners in Library of Americas complete collection of his stories released Fall 2009. She spends time in a cottage on Lough Arrow in Co. Sligo in the West of Ireland and also lives and writes in her hometown of Port Angeles, Washington"