Waking

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 49 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Persistent voice, you tug at my ear
in the dark— against a snowy field,
the modulated click and swish
like metal filings finding each
other on a plate, their movements
careening into some coherency
or form. Beneath the sleeves
of trees, wintering arms
are dreaming of all kinds of things—
sleet, raindrops; the blue-green
sheen of eucalyptus leaves.
A silken cord passed through
a needle. The pungent spray
from spiraled rinds I peel
away from blood-oranges.

Luisa A. Igloria
02.01.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Landscape, with an End and a Beginning

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 48 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

In those days, we too looked to the sky
for omens— away from the burning effigies,
the barricades, the soldiers whose phalanxes
we broke with prayers and sandwiches made
by mothers, teachers and nuns passing rosaries
and flasks of water from hand to hand.
The city was a giant ear, listening for news
of the dictator. Sound travels swift through
a mass of suffering bodies. Snipers perched
like birds on the peripheries of buildings.
Thickening contrails striped the sky.
Two ravens flew side-by-side over the abandoned
palace, trading hoarse commentary. When night came,
the people scaled the gates. What did they see?
Papers of state whirling in the fireplace. Masses
of ball gowns choking the closet, shoes lined with satin
and pearls; gilt-edged murals above the staircase.
Days and nights of upheaval, their new history
alive; the old one writhing on the floor
with a blur around its mouth like hoarfrost.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.31.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry. (Remembering the Philippine “People Power” Revolution, in the light of current events in Egypt).

Matins

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 47 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

From under the cracked
bark of a dead cherry,
a titmouse fishes out
a sunflower seed. Sing twice,
small herald of mercy—
once for the husk
that housed the kernel,
and one more time
for the milky heart that blesses
your tongue and gut.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.30.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry (via Blackberry, twelve minutes after my post!)

Recurrence

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 46 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

“That stick in your hand is tracing mansions
in which we shall always be together.”
—Anna Akhmatova

In the dream I am always on a raft, always
floating downstream, the river a voice just
beneath my ear, the heat and haze a coppery
taste on my tongue. The sky is a scroll
unwinding above, blue film cut through
occasionally by green fronds, vivid drapery
on rock walls. Do you know what it means?
I don’t. I am alone, of course. I have left you
behind, or you have left me. But today is another
morning. Where bodies have lain, the bed
is still warm. Outside, it’s snowing again.
I know why the blue jay keeps returning
to the same high limb to eat snow, as if it can’t
find that exact flavor anywhere else.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.29.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Intercession

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 45 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

“Adoro te devote, latens Deitas,
Quae sub his figuris vere latitas…”
[“I adore you devoutly, O hidden God
truly present under these veils…”]
—St. Thomas Aquinas

The silence of falling snow perhaps is like the hush
that lives somewhere in each moment of great
preparation: as for instance in Pieter van der Borcht’s
medieval copperplate engraving, when you would not know,
unless you read the captions, that the fierce and terrible
mangled faces of the lion and the lioness are from
their desperate expenditure of chi so that their stillborn
cub might live— under the gnarled cypress and rock,
see how its body writhes, stretching and coming to at last
under the double blowtorch of breath. And what of the meal
that the pelican gathers for her young from the cabinet
of her own breast, bright speckled clusters of blood from
the vine? Feathers fragranced with cedar, the phoenix
bursts into flame then crests from its ashes on the third
day; the unicorn comes to lay its head on the virgin’s lap,
and the foliage glistens like a page of illuminated
text. Orpheus knew, afterwards, the dangers of looking
too closely at the silence, of doubting what it might bear.
Think of him ascending from the depths, not hearing
her voice or footfall, not seeing her face. This morning,
also by myself, I bend to attend the furnace’s smolder.
Three deer digging under the wild apple tree
in the garden startle and run down the slope.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.28.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Spun

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 44 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Through air leafed with snow,
a large white bird— albino crow, lost
seagull, emperor crane: emissary
of what secret life or mystery?

Today was promised sun, but nothing
even faintly smolders except the tiniest
crumbs in the toaster tray. Impermanent
visitor, infrequent lodger, you stencil

your mirage on every dissolving thing:
salt, sugar, steam; the spiderweb
of lines upon each palm, the starry
tracks that streak the iron dark.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.27.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Sentence

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 43 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

My own, I am I know my hardest
and my most exacting prisoner,
most watchful sentinel braced

against the threshold— And so
in wakefulness sometimes I much prefer
the randomness of sound unpinned

from any explanation— the beeper
of a quarry truck trilling distant
like a digital alarm, the vowels

spelled by dueling chickadees
in the air. Even the ragged fringe
along a line of trees reverses

the abrupt shear where ridge
meets rain-filled sky into
a kind of noise.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.26.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Landscape, with Small Flakes and Far-off Bandoneón

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 42 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

“Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.”
—W. B. Yeats, “The Wild Swans at Coole”

In today’s paper, an obituary for a scholar
who’d once taught in our midst— he died
Sunday, nearly two weeks to the day his wife
passed, just a few days after the new year. I knew
who they were but didn’t really know them:
might have seen them at the local coffee shop,
reading the news and eating toasted bagels; or
walking past the laundromat, melting into
the crowd of couples out for brunch. I’d never
thought too much about what it might be like to grow
old alone, or lonely; had more than once declared
that travel solo might be the better way to go—
no expectations, no one to have to pick up for
or after, no epics to endure and survive for dubious
reward (roots like mangroves’ anchored
in marshy soil… ) But even when the narrative’s over,
when the loggers have loaded up the rig and rolled
out of town (inaudible hush, low clouds
suspended above the highway), something in the air
will shimmer, something will always catch.
I stick an arm out, and white motes dot my sleeve.
I lean my forehead on the windowpane and feel my
bindings loosen. I want to hear the air puffed out
the sides of a bandoneon, to master the tangled
slide of paired legs across a polished floor.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.25.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

One Day, That Room

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 41 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

Consider the sun today, which sparkles more
like a wheel of tin instead of burnished bronze—

Consider the burdock which, though squat
and uncomely, casts a thin and graceful shadow—

Consider the brittle branches whose pencilled forms
yet bring to mind the musk of summer magnolias—

One day, syllables snagged so long in the throat
will marry bright crystals of salt—

One day a mouth will press against another like the curve
of the moon on a hillside, like a homecoming—

One day the world will be that room,
and that room only.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.24.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Intention

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 40 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11

 

“There is a silence in which there is nothing, a silence in which there is something; and finally, there is the silence of no-self, and the silence of God.”
—Bernadette Rogers,
The Experience of No-Self

Absence of proof is not proof of absence,
said Carl Sagan on the possibility of intelligent
life— a line quoted in an opinion piece about these
latest rampant shootings, about how easily one
could walk into a supermarket to buy bullets
just as if they might be cans of tuna or bottles
of shampoo. The writer reminds that guns,
not knives or garrotes or poisoned arrows,
were used in some of the most famous
assassinations of our time: Martin Luther King,
John and Robert Kennedy, John Lennon,
Benigno Aquino; and that people like you
and me loaded ammunition into the chamber,
pointed, clicked, fired. It may be more
comforting to think, as Sagan might,
that if there are aliens out there in the far
reaches of space, they’re not necessarily
checking their crosshair sights every day,
getting ready to nuke us— because they have
intelligence and therefore (or so we want
to assume) the empathy required to see
how we would really much rather stay alive,
despite our pains and miseries…
Who really wants to hear of another
suicide bombing, another body sailing off
a bridge, another random group of friends
and strangers perished at a food court
or mall? This morning the cold, unscripted snow
is my newspaper too: in the bitter night,
a white-footed mouse bounded unerringly
from the corner of the wall to a hole 20 feet away.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.23.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry and an article at Inquirer.net, “The state of the state of Arizona,” by Luis H. Francia. The epigraph comes from a comment at The Morning Porch by Bob BrueckL.

* * *

Additional comment by Luisa:

All of this makes me think about the gleaning and gathering process that goes into the writing of poems— whether or not they’re ostensibly collaborative projects, whether or not they’re part of any desire to rise to any mandates to write poetry on a daily or other regular basis. Just speaking for myself, I try to bring as many levels of experience as possible to the process of creative germination and writing— they range from whatever I am physically doing (or not doing, since memory very much is part of the process) at the moment I sit down and begin to compose, whatever I am reading or have just read or seen, what I hear, what I smell, taste, touch… There are poems that people call “found poems” in that they’re like collages snipped and pasted, bricolaged, whatever you call it— into some arrangement pleasing and/or meaningful to the one who’s playing with these pieces. I like to do those too, because like a magpie I’m drawn to shiny stuff, language winking at me. I’m inclined to think that this is really the area where we work hardest to mine that “originality” that is so highly prized. All this of course has something to do with notions of appropriation, and can often lead to the question of how comfortable writers might feel in “taking” or “taking over” lines, words, language priorly or in some other form used by others. Someone famous was once reputed to have said, “Good writers imitate; great writers steal.” It’s a tough job because all our cultural and other conversations are so rife with intersubjectivities and intertextualities. I think I much prefer what happens to my writing when an interesting bit of information, an arresting line or image that I’ve found, triggers the desire for a deeper kind of poetic engagement and I find some entry point, some latitude to invent and explore its complexities further.