Hermetic Problem | Problem of Lapse | Problem of Great Wealth


poems by John Gallaher


Hermetic Problem

The milk man, I’ll place in a plane
and it will be fast as the policeman I outfit with many large eyes
and all the rest arms and legs.

It’s a good morning
for quick milk
and everything in its place held fast.

The knives and forks of the wealthy
have bits of us stuck to them.

They demand we apologize.
We apologize.


Problem of Lapse

They are hanging pictures along the hall
and decide not to stop,
because they’re enjoying it so much.

They’re hanging pictures all across
the countryside. They make boats
to cross the rivers.

Because they like windmills
they wave their arms while they walk,
hammer in one hand, pictures in the other.

Everyone they’ve ever known
is a face nailed to a tree,
until they’ve known everyone.

These trees are like dreams
occurring within you, they say to the trees,
while waving their arms,

and everything disappears
when you close your eyes.


Problem of Great Wealth

The wealthy have proven themselves
more virtuous than you.

Their promises are worth more.

Here’s a magazine where
you can cut out their pictures
and make them dance.

They like to dance
and would do it gladly.

They thank you in their dancing!



John Gallaher