Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2013

This entry is part 1 of 28 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2013

Do you know how much honey remains in the hive?
The wind teaches the body to tuck in its corners like sheets in a hotel.
Neon signs lie— in those furtive cells, not all things revive.
Do you know how much honey remains in the hive?
Open a jar and consume its contents; but leave me a sweet to archive.
Did you love that house, all honeycombed; its molecules and golden bell?
Do you know how much honey remains in the hive?
The wind teaches the body to tuck in its corners like sheets in a hotel.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 2 of 28 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2013

Your mouth has left
the faintest stain

on the rim of the cup;
now I want to look

for a bungalow, a cape
cod, a craftsman

with wide bay windows
looking out on the river

over which birds fly
at this time of year,

not wanting to stick around
for the cooler weather.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 3 of 28 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2013

“Let us stay here, and wait for the future
to arrive, for grandchildren to speak
in forked tongues about the country
we once came from….”

~ Tishani Doshi, “The Immigrant’s Song”

What comes out of my mouth’s a tinny sound,
whatever comes out of yours is gold.

The mat my hungry sister wove three months,
you pay a handful of pennies for.

The dress that’s draped, metallic sheen
on shoulders of the mannequin, is cheap

as her perfume. Her legs, splayed open
in the dim boudoir, tell time rented

by the hour. You did not live that decade
when tanks rolled over bodies in the streets,

when martyrs lay in blood on concrete fields.
You did not see the bridges fall, the sky

explode with ashes. My solidarity, you cry;
you try to mimic, like a bird, the sounds

the fallen made. You gather stories not
your own and pin them to your breastplate.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 4 of 28 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2013

The sugar houses tilt; through open windows,
catch the drift of wine-dark voices in the rain.

The clapboard shingles drum a faint tattoo
and fences sag beyond the driveway’s rough terrain.

A clothesline hung with linens might swing
the distance from one windowsill to the next.

But space is paramount and plaster does the trick;
and paint’s the cheapest blanket to prime the deck.

We’re told a home’s no longer a place to live
until you die: we’re told the savvy thing is flip

the property before it turns into a crooked house—
So take possession, but mind how all is still a tenantship.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 5 of 28 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2013

Silent as a thief, the sun climbs through the trees:
it takes the shadow from the weather vane, erases the film

that presses on the windows of new homes. Each one’s
identical to the next, from color, trim, to gable;

they’re sided in aluminum that’s made to look like wood.
Square footage’s under 1600 feet. Between each unit

is a gap of air; interior panels are soft wood (spruce,
or pine, or fir). I might hear you scrape your chair

away from the dinner table, or yell downstairs
for someone to take out the trash. Each one

that lives here now paid more or less the same coin
from their coffers— Or rather, has had their credit

scrutinized and been approved for thirty years’ indenture.
But all things new invariably deteriorate, just as the bread

which starts surrendering to mold after the first hot kiss
of air. The man in Unit B is missing the quarter round

mouldings from his bathroom tile: the rest run through
his rooms and hallways, ending at the beak. In Unit D,

a family of mice has burrowed through an air leak:
from their nest behind the eaves, in the quiet house,

you can hear the mewling. There’s always something more
to sand, to fit, to finish. But some contracts are impossible

to rewrite, restructure, refinance: so let it go
when the sun goes down, torching the leaves in exit.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 6 of 28 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2013

of makeshift covers, of inner tubes
that keep the clapboard houses
from scattering in mildest wind—

Give thanks for light, unbilled,
that comes through holes drilled
into iron roofs and plastic bottles
filled with water and bleach—

Give thanks for the width and girth
of flood tunnels underground,
where the homeless can lie down
on castoff furniture and pallets—

Give thanks for the forgotten sentinel
hoisted on a pedestal outside, who opens
her arms of chipped paint and plaster
in mercy above the Blue Angel Motel—

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 9 of 28 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2013

That trick we learned in late
childhood from a dare or taunt: to pass

a finger quickly across a spurt of flame,
lighter uncapped or taper lit— Enough

to feel the singe but not the burn. Next,
thin parchment rolled and tamped and passed

from hand to hand, communal draught
of dry ash, duff inhaled: one of us said,

It’s just like inhaling paper! —some kind
of picturesque notion in her head of how the leaf

now lived or moved inside, its spirit curling
around our heads like wreath or wraith,

bequeathing secret visions to new
acolytes, sophisticates.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 10 of 28 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2013

Once dressed in green, no hopes
fly south; instead they burn
their orange prayer flags.

*

The mallet and the string,
the shawm and the oboe. The single
reed that stirs when the water stirs.

*

And the cornets of brass, bright
relatives to the sickle: its rusted
bronze curve leaning against the wall.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.