Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

This entry is part 1 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

Always a story
         beneath the cold and quiet—

Always a nest being refurbished
         under the springhouse eaves—

Always the smell of mud at the edges,
         the window finally come unstuck—

Always a gnarl in the fabric
         where the fibers knotted—

Always a smooth new trail
         tracked around the village of scars

Luisa A. Igloria
03 20 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

This entry is part 2 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

Cream and magenta on asphalt, the blooms that ripened
early on the dogwood now loosened by sudden rain—

Do you know why the couple touch hands in the Van Eyck
painting? Their decorum holds the house pillars up,

plumps the cushions, velvets the drapes for commerce,
theirs and the world’s. See how the mirror repeats

and reflects them back to each other, though crowned
by a rondel of suffering. In her green robe with its

multitude of gathers, she casts a faint shadow on the bed.
And the fruit on the window sill might be peach,

might be pear, might be apple– something with glimmering
skin, like the lover and the scar he wore like a badge

to the side of his throat. Fickle nature, cold and grainy
as the day that spills its seed above the fields, indiscriminate,

so things grow despite themselves. And there was the one
who said never, but turned from you to rinse his hands.

Who else loves his own decorum as I do? The names
of trees are lovely in latinate. I can’t recite those,

can only name their changing colors: flush
and canary, stripped and rose; or moan like the voice

of a cello in the leaves, imitating human speech.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 21 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

This entry is part 3 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

Can’t I change my mind, can’t I raise
my eyebrow, can’t I wriggle out of this
one by being charming or cute or contrite?
But really, can’t you change the way you’ve
apparently mapped the rest of the script, all
cuts and white-outs, implacable as a sky
hung like canvas backdrop (so fake, so
obviously without verisimilitude, don’t
you know)? Can’t I go on vacation, can’t I
stay for as long as I want, can’t I sleep in
then decide I’m no longer returning
to you? Can’t I say fuck to structure
and schedules and pearls, can’t I fill
my pockets with stones? Can’t I tell you
it’s you, can’t I take you with me? Can’t I
choose this over that and not burn
for the blame? Can’t I husband and wed
and verb but only belong to myself?

Luisa A. Igloria
03 22 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

This entry is part 4 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

And once, in a book we read together, we paused:
not when the nurse reads to him or his ghost from a book
on permanent things in a room in a ruined villa, not

when his plane goes down in flames in the middle
of the desert—  Not even when, finally, he carries
the woman in his arms and leaves her on a smooth

rock ledge in a cave, whispering he will go for help
and return very soon, my darling
— but there after she
has already died, in the middle of the cold and dark,

at the part where in his grief he is moved to enter
her once more— does he not?— and there is only this
place left in the world to which he’s been sentenced,

this fastness far from anything but rain
and the last words she spoke, drifting into
the perfect darkness like smoke or ink—

Luisa A. Igloria
03 23 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

This entry is part 5 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

The dog is scratching at the door
to be let out. The window sash
begs to be lifted, the walls want to toss

their shadowed murals out into the yard.
The water wants to drain away
from the yellowed tub. Do you hear

the high-pitched whistle of waxwings
passing overhead, the lower registers of air
wound through a labyrinth of trees? The child

creases the paper once and once again—
There are mountains and valleys, somewhere
a sea; chalk-white sails that one can hardly tell

apart from the crested foam of waves.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 24 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

This entry is part 6 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

Dear doppelganger, where in the world
have you been traveling? When I am
cleaning house, sometimes I come
upon bits and pieces of your wardrobe:
crystal teardrop earrings, those pumps
of sumptuous leather, that airy, off-
the-shoulder frock. And in the back
of the closet, what are those old
letters tied with ribbon, from Diego
and Hans, and Frank? Here, today,
there’s heavy frost, bare dirt in
the garden— though I hope one of us
might have remembered sometime ago
to put bulbs in the soil. Motes of snow
revolve like lazy angels, backlit by
the sun. I make wishes, missing your
carefree laughter, your joie de vivre,
the way you entered any department
store and charmed the discounts off
the hapless young clerks who wouldn’t
know what just hit them. Come back
soon— I have a Mozart cake with three
layers of Bavarian cream, and I promise
not to work on weekends (unless there’s
a real emergency). I dream of water-
colors, the stippled backs of fish in bright
green water, myself a little raft sailing away.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 7 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

She rinses her face and smooths her hair. The street
comes to life, the smells of morning from the coffee bar.

Grab your ankles, press your forehead to your knees.
I used to be able to slide a raised leg along the barre.

Sometimes I’m seized with a longing for what I don’t know.
They indulge me when I sit in the dark at the local bar.

Just when she thought she’d cleared the tests, they called
her back. Don’t you know they’re always raising the bar?

His voice on the phone, now husky with age— how long
since he whispered in my ear in a college bar?

Thirteen cattail heads in the shallows, like swizzle sticks;
water clear as vodka— You’d think this was a poetry bar.

A couple wanders in; a blinged-out dude in cowboy boots. The street
philosopher, red-lipsticked waitress. All this in one night, in a bar.

The days are getting longer. Soon we can sit on the deck, drinks
in hand, watching the sun torch sheets of water beyond the sandbar.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 8 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

Dear silence, the deeper I fall into your
soundproofed well, the clearer I hear
these arias: beyond the window, a rapid
scrabbling of claws on bark; indoors,
a waterfall miming a moving drape.
The clicking of the laundry cycle, tinkle of
a brass bell in the shade of the dogwood tree.
Has the reaper come, has the harvest
started? Whether or not I am ready, the grain
explodes from its golden husk. And still I crave
the warmth more than the amber in the cup;
and still I am in love with the zest of oranges,
that opening of light crosshatched with blue above.
I’ve kept fingernails, eyelashes, hair; dried stumps
that fell shortly after birth from my daughters’ navels:
the smallest things that tether us tightly to this world.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 9 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

“They can be like the sun, words.
They can do for the heart what light can for a field.”
—St. John of the Cross

Dear fellow pilgrim, today the road seems
a little less cold, a little less clear as we inch
toward the warm mud of April. The hems
of our tunics are far from the earth, our jeans
are double-cuffed. For fear of rain, the cardinal
doesn’t want to hang her prayer flags in the trees.
A few stray flakes come down, like bits of frozen
milk: and I’m out of coffee. Where’s the nearest stop,
some diner where we might use the loo and get
a bit of soup, a knuckle of bread? I know we’re not
going to the Alhambra to walk in the gardens or catch
the view from the Mirador de Lindajara; we’re not
even on the famous road to Santiago de Compostela
where the saint’s remains lie like a star, his bones
unfold like the thorns of a compass rose buried in
the depths of a field… Groucho Marx knew that nights
are dark as the inside of a dog’s belly— but isn’t that
why book lights were invented? I don’t give up easy.
I’m fumbling around for the light switch, for the power
cord, for the fuse box. And there’s got to be something
with which to jimmy the skylights— think of how
we could open our mouths to evenings of falling stars.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 10 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

From a nest on the mountain, from the skirt
of the nearest pond— something has flown away

in another time. Currents spill their salt
and the earth changes garments. And yes

it is a different season, but somehow the same.
What returns arrows silently through the trees.

Fear does the same things over. And love?
The heart resolves to face, or not to face.

The head says keep, the heart says bend.
What can we do but begin.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.