Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2013-14

This entry is part 1 of 23 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2013-14

Yesterday frost, today warm rain, imperceptible
changes in the air—
Underfoot and overhead,
creatures caught in the theatre of absurd
weather. And in the night, I too tossed
off the coverlet, dreaming of summer. You
grazed my nape, breath splitting into colors
I had forgotten lay there.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 2 of 23 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2013-14

What is it in the blood that quickens
again to the pulse of song, these bodies

hurling their small, inconsequential voices
against the larger expanse as though they

could color the wood back to green, as though
the sorrows of grey branches could be dressed

in other raiment? We went to bed on the longest
night of the year, exhausted by the accounting

for what we missed of opportunity and what
we meant the stars to guide us toward.

And now, at first light, we fold back the linens,
touch the place where the tears laddered down

our cheeks as we slept; we take up the thread
and sew our bones back into their flesh.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 3 of 23 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2013-14

“Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem
… I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.”

~ from “To You,” Walt Whitman

And now we’ve eaten of the roasted animal, the goat, the lamb, the calf or suckling pig; we’ve put our hands into the gunny sack to draw out twine and spangles fallen from the stars. We kissed each other beneath the trees until our teeth echoed with the salt of our desires. We washed away the aftertaste of meat with milk and cinnamon, given each other sweet after sweet after sweet. The trees are tipped with amber and with smoke, and the birds left there are startled into calling— they call out after the day that flickers in its easy goodbye, its love long as arms and shadows. And I too stand on the threshold before I close the door: Come back, come back; I love what I am, emblazoned with your tenderness.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 4 of 23 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2013-14

The trees turn white, the way the flesh
of some fruit, cut open down the core, is pale
past the robust coloration of their skin;
the way the inside of a porcelain bowl
looks glazed with milk or lapped
with some translucence borrowed
from another world— And so I am
suspicious of the claims made on behalf
of stillness, as if there were no
momentum to be perceived in an angle
or a curve: nothing seems to move, and yet
two lines make a ledge midair; and a hollow
traces the curve of light’s eroded trail.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 6 of 23 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2013-14

One thin cobweb dangles from the ceiling until I wind it away with a stick.

No gunshots here; it is quiet in the street whose one end faces the river.

The rain hits the window ledge poorly wrapped in metal; it makes a sound like tiny ball bearings on a tray.

I wanted to look for a bamboo water dipper, I wanted to carve a little well in the biggest stone I could find, and set it by the back door.

In a book, Lu Hsieh tells me the metaphor for the ideal poem is a bird.

No more wings, for the hour is late: nothing but the sound of distant propellers high in the sky.

But if I dream they will gather, shading the horizon with their soft white and gray.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

This entry is part 10 of 23 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2013-14

A flat white sky; no wind.
Blank page; not a scroll or squiggle.
Canvas unprimed; no ochre outline.
Doorway; no one can find the key.
Entrance to the underworld?
Fringed curtain: clear sign.
Ginger-roots: not one without knobs.
Havarti hosting flourishing mold.
Ice sheets plain as card stock.
Juniper branches: crosshatched on the hill.
Know all malaise by its prescience.
Little girl with the crooked bob, come in.
Mittens go on the hutch, galoshes by the sill.
No one here cares how long you stood there.
Oatmeal cookies instead of thumb in the mouth?
Patience is a virtue, yes, but
quarrelsome stoics are a different issue.
Revising yet again: but who doesn’t have to?
Stop bemoaning what’s in the filing cabinet.
Take delight in the sharpened graphite,
unopened boxes of color ready for use.
Vellum or plain paper: ecru’s nice too.
What did the old masters see in their dreams?
Excerpts are fine: sometimes the whole enchilada
yawns too large, looms like a monster whale.
Zen is your best friend; and raking the garden.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.