This entry is part 54 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011


What was that thread of music I heard just now,
what was the sound of my name, my secret name,
the one the elders bestowed on me in childhood

under the aegis of a spotted moon to confuse
the gods too generous with their gifts of fever
and blood and the blisters than ran up and down

my limbs like steps to their dollhouse-sized temples?
It comes back as the warbler lisps at the woods’ edge,
as the green-feathered trunks run dark with rain

so I think I hear old tunes on an upright piano—
my father and uncles gathered in the living room,
singing “Wooden Heart”, “Begin the Beguine”,

“Let Me Call You Sweetheart”, and “Besame Mucho”.
And the self that was me is still there, scribing
time under the bedclothes, fingertip to broken skin.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Slaying the BeastIn a Hotel Lobby, near Midnight →


One Reply to “Measures”


    Add to those old songs that they would sing
    when carousing and laughter were still good:
    “Historia de un Amor” and there was “Stardust.”

    Are the beats of these melodies the measures
    of our lives, when we count them we mark
    time when we are still and yet moving?

    In other rooms, other voices, other selves,
    even a moment can be a lifetime, a lifetime
    moves in intensities only old hearts follow.

    We are most ourselves when we are not,
    or are there when we no longer occupy space,
    of what use then are these phantom measures?

    Like life measured in teaspoons, is love most
    real when counted in so many ways? Songs sung
    as memento mori linger as life’s true measure.

    Remember how the song goes? “…the melody
    haunts my reverie, and I am once again with you.”
    Old tunes, old songs, are really only our old selves.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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