Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998
Poems by Lou Gallo
From time to time I visit that monkey who
given infinite time will type out the complete works
of Shakespeare on his Olivetti.
He looked pretty haggard on my last inspection.
"Problem, friend," I said, "is that time isn't infinite—
It blossoms with the Big Bang and will wither
at the Crunch. You'll never complete the task."
The monkey glanced at me, smiled sardonically.
"You don't get it," he mumbled, while still typing—
I think he had produced a few lines from
Titus Andronicus—nothing from Hamlet yet.
"It's hypothetical. IF I had infinite time, or you
for that matter, everything will happen. No natter
that I don't. It's the trip that counts. It's that old
Greek rolling the stone up a hill. If he had infinite
time, he'd get there. And, of course, he also wouldn't.
You've missed the point and will only grasp it
given infinite time."
As I left the dusty, disarrayed loft (he still plunking
away), I thought I heard the keys pound out
"Enter Lavinia, ravished." And I thought:
Yet Shakespeare did jot down the complete works
of Shakespeare, infinity or not. Fancy that.
I like Rene Girard's notion that desire
is mimetic, that is, we desire whatever
solely because some else desires it first.
Surely this explains why I once craved
that MG convertible because my friend Tom
drove one or the cheerleader I longed for
because everyone else did . . .
but how then explain Original Desire,
say, that of Adam for Eve unless
God, who created her, desired her first?
a nursery rhyme
... hairline in the rib; the vein's thistle;
flaking lacquer of the skull; rivet in the brain;
rotten tooth; supreme, gregarious Other;
bruised magnolia leaf; Great Mother;
final quark and blackest hole; D-minor;
nirvana; punk on a street corner;
birds tacked on the skeletal, wintry tree;
a neighbor's cough; sine qua non;
charred wick; spiders in the groin;
possum stiff in a ditch; Sargon the Great;
the smirking non-thing-in-itself; too late;
one divided by none; an error, Sir;
the blur in your bloodless, blind mirror.
Louis Gallo is
Professor of English at
Radford, Va., 24142
Two full volumes of Louis Gallo's poetry, Crash and Clearing the Attic, will be published by Adelaide in the near future. A third, Archaeology, will be published by Kelsay Books. 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.