Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Julian Gallo's A Symphony of Olives

Julian Gallo’s chapbook, A Symphony of Olives is published by Alternating Current's Propaganda Press. Isn’t the title marvelous? It is brought by the poem’s title in the collection and is also in the line of another poem. Mr. Gallo lives in New York City as a writer/musician and painter with many previous books published such as Standing On Lorimer Street Awaiting Crucifixion published by Alpha Beat Press in 1996 and novel November Rust published by Lulu in 2007. This particular collection of poems runs from light-hearted to critical and ranges from personal relationships to whimsical scenarios. Below are a few of my favorites:

Afternoon Delight

Like a red-eyed scavenger you
devoured my thoughts one by one.
You sometimes sit with
predatory hands, waiting to snatch any
Word that can be used against me.
You hear me but you never listen;
for that would take too much effort.
You are not what I always thought you were.
No, you are just one of the rubber gloved elite,
an aging debutante peering at the faded portraits
through your own weathered prism.

Interesting juxtaposition of the title to the poem itself! The lover sounds like a buzzard in the beginning and at the end is an aging debutante, opposites are engaged throughout the poem giving light to the conflict in the relationship yet the title indicates affection. Very clever surprise.

Rules Of The Game

And I try to teach myself many things.
A professor of the self, incessantly searching
for the right way, the only way, in fact
for me to get on with things.
Apart from the myths of today’s age.
Apart from the standards someone else has set.
Apart from the rules of the game
that I don’t want to be a contestant in.

It’s not an easy thing when you tell someone
that you don’t feel like playing.
They will try their best to make you play,
for they will not tolerate any insubordination,
any insurrection of any sort.
There are rules to this game and you must abide by them
or else be disqualified and forever withheld the dice.
It never occurs to them that you never wanted the dice
in the first place.

It never occurs to them that
one is just simply not willing to play.
You must conform, must be part of things.
Nothing else is tolerated.
They want you to play so they can try to beat you.
They want to win and badly
for this kind of success is most desired.
Otherwise they may have to face the extreme
Failure of their own.

This could just as easily have been titled “Society” don’t you think? I have always felt the way the poet describes himself here, I’m sure most of you have as well. Whether it be office politics, family or friends’ gatherings, there are unspoken rules to be followed and those who do not follow are immediately punished. I like that the ending says the game really has nothing to win which is obvious to all but the rule-followers who refuse to face reality.

Silence Over A Bridge

All of this of course is silence over a bridge.
Or a papal bull.
Or a royal decree.
All of this is everything
and nothing.
Oil. Lather.
A codex of blood
written on towels.
A piece of a symphonic bible
kept hidden in jars
under the sink.
All of this of course is bullshit,
designed to project something
lost in childhood reverie
which itself was lost
with dust bunnies under the couch.
Sexuality is the power you weild
Designed to ensnare the more
deceived among us.
But I am not fooled.
I know better.
It is
nothing more than the tap of phlegm
in old rusty spittoons.

I like all the strange imagery: “codex of blood/written on towels” and “symphonic bible” and then it shifts to the poet revealing these words as “bullshit” and that all things people use to fool one another is “nothing more than the tap of phlegm/in old rusty spittoons.” It’s a strange poem and that is why I like it.

If you enjoyed this sample of poems please note there is a wider range of subjects and that this chapbook can be had for a mere $5.00 at Propaganda Press where a free chapbook from the archives is included with your purchase. All poets receive royalties and I am a huge advocate of poets getting paid for their books so I hope you’ll support this small press and be amused by this collection of poems.

Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…


Julian Gallo said...

Thank you for the very nice review! :-) It is greatly appreciated. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I'm a huge Julian Gallo fan!

Anonymous said...

Great poems. I have it and enjoy it any time of the day. Rules of the Game is a society complain Michelangelo , a great one that has to go with a red flower bouquet to the love one. Fallible Gods is a song for any couple, or should be.