Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2013

This entry is part 1 of 31 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2013

Annoyance upon annoyance grew—
a half-inch, an inch of rue; and since

I’d let them, a whole field, a mountain.
They occupied the furniture, took over

all meals, travel plans, the weather—
At night I rocked their sleepless

siblings and fed them all remaining
rations from my day: and still they howled,

opened their mouths to bare hungry gums,
the blinding whites of pointed teeth.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 2 of 31 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2013

“… One must glitter.
One must swim through the day.” – George Szirtes

They’re stretching the surfaces, dead cells sloughing off; they’re breaking apart the wrappers of rubbery grey that held us indoors, marooned us in the questionable comfort of sad beds. See those first creamy islands of pink and white pushing like familiar hurt against brick, hear the bird calling more insistently every day above the repetitious wheezing of the laundry machine. It might be cold, it might swing straight from not even spring to summer. Lint in the pockets of each coat, dust under the armchairs. Heart like a listening ear, uncurling like the lines scribed on a nautilus; little bareheaded snail emerging tentatively from the only door of its cramped house.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 4 of 31 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2013

Does it mean the gods are always watching,
does it mean You there, don’t get too happy, too proud,

too comfortable, too far ahead of yourself? Does it mean
abandon all hope for no good deed goes unpunished,
and only the fat, well-heeled, well-fed, undeservedly

happy are sure to get that reward plus bonus they don’t
even need? Perhaps I have thrown caution out the window
and forgotten how to be circumspect. Perhaps

the bittersweet blooms, the new buds of hydrangea pushing
out from winter’s brown bramble have plucked at a nerve—
and also the speckled blue eggs only big as my thumb

that some snake, trawling the garden, must have found.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 6 of 31 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2013

Rice grains in the pot,
emerald skins of peas; fine
mesh of steam under the lid—

In the hollow around
the light socket, cobwebs
thin as sewing thread—

Assortment of buttons I saved
in a box; cracker crumbs
to thicken the soup—

Beads I looped
on my daughter’s broken
violin string: bracelet

of new-found things.

 

In response to thus: For all that is lost.

This entry is part 7 of 31 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2013

It’s raining again, and cold.
The herons we saw return to their nest
want their tree back, dry and green.
The neighbors cleaning ivy overgrowth
from their fence have long gone in.
But the hired girl stands in the yard
tying up leaf bags; she does not mind
the rain— Every so often she tips
her chin up, drinks from a can of soda.
.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 8 of 31 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2013

Proverb: “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”

What if a covey of quail skitters into the marsh grass?

What if the spider weaves a ladder that spans the distance plus half?

What if the egg yolk rises and does not settle in the bowl of water?

What if the tree lowers its one fruit but I don’t want to eat it?

What if we made a crepe paper limousine and burned it down to ash,
but father insisted on walking all seven hills to the other side?

And what if the messenger was mistaken, and delivered
the letter to the wrong house? What then?

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 9 of 31 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2013

For we are like olives: only when we’re crushed do we
yield what’s best in us
, reads a line from the Talmud.

Is that part of the song, barely audible, of the bird in the boxwood?
Such a long train of years: it’s traveled so far from the station of childhood.

Don’t pine, don’t yield. The waves come back, sometimes with driftwood.
Darker and denser, the colors and strands of old life in the heartwood.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 10 of 31 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2013

The high school boy with the skateboard comes by the café where his mother is having an iced coffee with her lover. Bees buzz among the potted daffodils, and yellow canvas umbrellas shade the tables on the sidewalk. He is tall and lithe, he is lovely to look at with his bronze curls, his freckled tan, his worn canvas shoes and rumpled graphic tee. And his voice, when he speaks, balances on that boy-man threshold, especially when he asks his mother if he can spend the night somewhere with his friends: just a movie, shoot some pool, something like that. I cannot hear but see her refusal, the shaking of her ponytail, her finger twisting one end of her crocheted vest into a determined ball. He doesn’t want to whine but pleads again— to no avail. The young French girls in off-the-shoulder blouses and gauzy tops who are always in a huddle at the café, chic expatriates, are laughing and gesturing with their hands. They talk fast, very fast; they light their cigarettes and smoke, not paying attention to anything or anyone else. They don’t even glance up when the boy stalks off in a huff, then leans away into the curb on his board.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.