In a Hotel Lobby, near Midnight

This entry is part 55 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011


Pick-up Lines

You’re 50; I’m 50. So what do you want
to do about it? Even Emerson had cabin
fever. Being in the woods so much,
you’d like just once to feel the mud.
All that walking about, carrying the soul
like glowing embers in buckets. That’s
too big a responsibility. And when
something’s hot like that, it’s better off
meeting something just as hot.
How about we try for some joy?


Correction, I’m not quite 50. And mud is no
big deal, since women have typically more to do
with it than fussing over how their boots have gotten
dirty (have you tried to get it off denim or canvas?)
—Walking, walking, with no destination or design,
no pressing agenda other than reflection: now that’s
something I’d like to have the leisure to do. Scribble
in a notebook, pause, scribble again; look up in the trees
where the squirrels run like thoughts as yet unbound;
then come in at no set time to tea, or rum; or more quiet.
As for those glowing embers we carry around in buckets–
I’ve come to love the way they burn like gathered stems
of flame willow, like fiery clusters on flame trees: staunch,
insistent, not so easily summed up or dismissed; vivid
hurt against silver-white canes of the ghost bramble.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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5 Replies to “In a Hotel Lobby, near Midnight”

  1. How about we try for some joy?


    Mud as fire extinguisher? Bloody overkill, I say.
    Douse it with a spit of brandy and gin chaser,
    and off to a cabin at the edge of the woods! Huh.

    “How about we try some joy”? A blowhard’s line.
    How about a walk in the woods, mud and all,
    and answer old questions left unanswered:

    Is love most nearly itself when it ceases to matter?
    What is need that it remains unsatiated, unmet,
    when lovers seek ardour to brim beyond fulfillment?

    Ah, let’s slosh away in the mud where mud is,
    and we might yet find a balm for this burning ember
    we carry around like raw marks singed in our palms.

    What joy is there where union is not communion?
    What need is there for glowing embers flaming out
    of buckets? I would rather we danced in this muck

    of mud and find our freed fears become the dance,
    our only dance, before the stroke of midnight,
    before the convulsions of laughter turn to pain.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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