Poetry from Jack Galmitz

Hail Mary

I took a boat to an unfamiliar

street. Looking out, I

began to sing Ave Maria,

the music not the words.

I derived pleasure from the sounds

in the world and my own.

I saw a mother and her daughter

waiting for a light to change. I hoped my voice

would reach them and from it

they would find hope. They did not

turn, which was no surprise,

though a bullet broke the air in song.

Take pity on us who live in despair.

Be for us that place we yearn for.


Poetry from Jack Galmitz


The pitcher of ice water is nearly full.
The refrigerator is stuffed with containers.
There are mice nesting somewhere
in the room. I think behind the oven.
I've laid traps and poison stations,
hoping to end the intrusion.
And I'm making a fish stew 
for my wife who'll return later.

I'm not one to add to what
I find here. It's enough for me
that the spatula turns the potatoes,
the corn, and the tomatoes with the pollock.
There's satisfaction in the fact that the cumin
has come from Mexico or the Indian subcontinent.

Poetry from Jack Galmitz

He Is Risen

The rising man
the showman
the big shtarker
did a turnaround:
moved the boulder
clear of the cavemouth 
and bowed in three
directions to applause
you've never heard
the likes of; maybe
once before when
Horus rose from the dead
and greeted the sun
as anyone would after
that torpor the cheers
were louder.  

In the bars, they only talk
of their guy who came
after as the one and only
to shower with gratitude.
And damn the unbelievers.
And don't be mentioning
Asar in these quarters

March With The Zapatistas

There's something to think about
in the movement of the marching
toward a goal that's distant enough
to become uncertain of its outcome.
The men are tilted forward
as if leading horses onward.

The women are devotion, their arms folded
in the creases of soutanes placed as columns.
Determination is depicted. It is a color. Red.
White moon. Blue of moonlight in the mountains.
They go to fight. You see the swords. There's no 
deception in it. Their figures are their speech.

Though wearing peasant dress they're contemporaries
and we slowly merge with them without distress.

Evasive Action

It's all we've got so let's keep it.
Wouldn't you run into a burning building
to save a child? You wouldn't pour gas
on it. Let's get together and make an impact.
Give up those old clunkers you're still driving. 
Sell off the cattle you're raising in your garages.
They're dooming us to extinction.  Beans 
are much better for you and so are bicycles. 
Take a walk with your child and have a conversation
without lighting a cigarette. Purchase
solar panels, buy green tags, adjust your thermostat. 
Throw yourself to the ground to stop a convoy
of tanks slowly emitting CO2 gas in the countryside. 
And get those B-2B's out of the sky. They're GHG murderers.

Poetry from Jack Galmitz


Steve was energy. No denying it.
There it is in the photograph
taken in his backyard; the mouth
is tense as speaking consonants
without vowels is his arms are sharp 
and his torso turns
to attend or demonstrate 
stilled now by the shutter's click. 
There is motion blurring
tending to the barbecue he is
charged as a downed wire in a down
pour. His guests sip Genesee
beers gripped by the necks and chat
of texts and signs and the many

Poetry from Jack Galmitz

A Poem For Paul Pfleuger, Jr.
For Paul 

Sometimes it's like a wrecking ball
breaking the cohesions we rely on.
Lions and tigers and bears, oh dear,
in the  neighboring climes. Weight
shifting back and forth. Pauses un
expected. Loud clashes. Soft sensations
of sound the mimesis. This minute.
Here you stand steady as a sailor
in an angry sea of plastic trapping
mammals. Not a hero. Not here
to smash the tablets asunder.
But here to play the recorder.
Here to express the rebuilding
of the infrastructure and record
the tremors of the past collapse.
Carry your canoe to the river
of rocks and set it down.
The sound is memorable.

Poetry from Jack Galmitz

it would be late 
for you to come
to my bed
wake me
brush my forehead
and say belatedly
"I'm proud of you."
Maybe that's why we die.
When it's too late.


Shadows are elongated today. I
am slouching the other way toward an art
supply store to pick up some canvases,
tubs of paint, pig bristle brushes and charcoal.
It's cold. The earth won't yield to my weight.
A stray dog and I look at each other.
Neither of us can decide whether we're right
for one another. Then we separate.
A woman hides behind her window curtain.
She's beguiled by me, my smile.
I agree with David Hume. What I see
are the ideas I work with. The row houses
to my left are appealing. As are the pinnate
leaves in the gardens. As are the people.


You have to have a barn. The warped red wood
the sunlight through its slats the straw that's left 
on the ground. It's required if you want to write
a poem to a country meant to last.  You 
just say what you see. You are a cirrus cloud.
You are a witness. Like the scarecrow there
in the dry brown field wearing the farmer's hat
who has left to work in Long John Silver's
restaurant in town. The supervisor
is strapped to his back. He plows the people.
He fetches bags of fried fish and hamburgers.
His mule is now a tube of glue for children's projects.
He makes about 20K a year. Enough
to make repairs to the home he built to last 
for all his years.

Poetry from Jack Galmitz

where out of black
by a small stretch of sand
the moon grasps
the breakers unawares
I feel like I've gone back
to the beginning
when I sat with a pail
and packed it with sand
since then what passed
rolling in the radiant grass
touched by moonlight
and hand and a breast
heaved towards the low tide rocks
by the bridge span
how right Euripides was
in that
I lean on a cane
who wanted to crawl back
to the beginning
and do it again

a man lived here
until his wife died
his children left
and all he had left
were television shows
of comedies and commercials
(he had seen the massive
wings of fascism spread
and briefly landed)
he had worked, had lived
had suffered and grew
old like the rest
and when there wasn't
anyone to talk to
he resolved to go
I saw him leave
without a wave
except he bowed
unto the trees
and the birds

and the rain


the light is what
you're reading
and where it is
not is also there
in its places
at night a stag
moves between
trees silent
as the shadows
the trees have surrendered
the hunter moves down stream

and safe is wanted