Landscape with Sudden Rain, Wet Blooms, and a Van Eyck Painting

This entry is part 2 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011


Cream and magenta on asphalt, the blooms that ripened
early on the dogwood now loosened by sudden rain—

Do you know why the couple touch hands in the Van Eyck
painting? Their decorum holds the house pillars up,

plumps the cushions, velvets the drapes for commerce,
theirs and the world’s. See how the mirror repeats

and reflects them back to each other, though crowned
by a rondel of suffering. In her green robe with its

multitude of gathers, she casts a faint shadow on the bed.
And the fruit on the window sill might be peach,

might be pear, might be apple– something with glimmering
skin, like the lover and the scar he wore like a badge

to the side of his throat. Fickle nature, cold and grainy
as the day that spills its seed above the fields, indiscriminate,

so things grow despite themselves. And there was the one
who said never, but turned from you to rinse his hands.

Who else loves his own decorum as I do? The names
of trees are lovely in latinate. I can’t recite those,

can only name their changing colors: flush
and canary, stripped and rose; or moan like the voice

of a cello in the leaves, imitating human speech.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 21 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Always a Story

This entry is part 1 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011


Always a story
         beneath the cold and quiet—

Always a nest being refurbished
         under the springhouse eaves—

Always the smell of mud at the edges,
         the window finally come unstuck—

Always a gnarl in the fabric
         where the fibers knotted—

Always a smooth new trail
         tracked around the village of scars

Luisa A. Igloria
03 20 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 95 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


“…When you lose something,
it’s so you can learn how to search.”
—Dean Young

No sign of the spoon— and the fork and the knife
on a string— that he lost as a child

No sign of the furry brown bear— with the real
glass eyes— that I took to bed at night

No sign of the phoebes— they came to dip
for water— that were here yesterday

No sign of the robin— it rang and rang— that embroidered
its banner with song then fell strangely silent

No sign of the little stone buddha— and his necklace
of rosy children— that cracked on the pavement
when it fell from my pocket

No sign— but blue scales on the kitchen floor—
of the fish that jumped from the bowl by the open
window, startled by the barking of the dog next door

No sign of the moon— though I know it’s about to poke
over the horizon— big like a woman with child

No sign of the cordillera— though I glimpsed mountain-
and-valley pleats tattooed under the poet’s collar

No sign of the fog and its blue signature— I cannot see
my own breath— curled beneath noon’s yellow shawl

Luisa A. Igloria
03 19 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 92 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


My parents owned an inexpensive set of china
showing a world glazed in blue and white: a few
three-tiered pagodas, thumbnails of gardens
planted to peach or willow trees. Villagers
crossed footbridges presumably to the next
town beyond the rim of the dinner plate,
and fishermen dipped their nets in placid
water. A woman sat at an upstairs window
reading a book, or doing sums, or writing
in a journal. A man cooled his bare feet in
the shallows, not doing anything much.
It was always dawn or dusk, and small birds
flew toward a miniature sun above the trees.
They could not have gone too far
from the periphery, nor pierced the convex
glass of the dome that rested on the plate—
so then what is that smudge on the sill,
what has become of the woman who once
sat there with her inks and scrolls?

Luisa A. Igloria
03 17 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 93 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Today a poet read these words transcribed
from a different language: “Mi destino intermitente”
—and a door opened into a garden where the weather
was overcast and damp, but things were growing:
for instance, new leaves of lamb’s-ears looking delicately
furred, alive, alert. We passed through and touched
the dark veins of flowers pulsing on the vine, caught
our spindle-shaped reflections— fusiforme
in puddles of water. Sometimes the world bends to
your position. The wasp returns to its nest and
finds it in tatters. Sometimes it is enough to live
in the complicated arc between losing and finding,
enough to gather what sweetness remains.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 16 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 91 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Evening of the first day, the man who owned a truck yard
next door laid out plywood sheets on hard ground and said

Come— And all the neighbors came, bringing blankets,
sheets, canvas tarp, burlap— The very young and the trembling

old slept in vehicles, windows cracked open for air—
And the night air was notched with metallic smells but also

something almost sweet, like flowers— I did not want
to think what kind– And the following day it rained,

and then again the next, so between aftershocks we collected
water in pails and tin drums— Someone had a kerosene stove

and lit it in the shadow of the broken shed where the honeysuckle
vines were a vivid green interspersed with orange— And still

we refused to go indoors, though gradually we crept
back to those parts of our homes still standing— Porches

were good for sleeping— When the sun glimmered
through thin clouds we heard news of a few places

where we could walk to line up for bread, rice,
canned goods— And someone had busted a water pipe

near the park (just a little they said) and people went
with cans and plastic tubs for water— And the men

came back weeping, having dug out bodies from collapsed
buildings, from vehicles overtaken by landslides

on the mountain road— And strangers offered
rides, and helicopters hovered in the sky— And we heard

lamentations and questions on the lips of everyone— Faces
streaked often and easily, eyes filling with tears and blinking

not from the sunlight but from what they could barely endure—

Luisa A. Igloria
03 15 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Landscape with Red Boots and Branch of Dead Cherry

This entry is part 90 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


In a photograph, a woman sits on her haunches
amid a sea of debris. Her feet are bare. A pair of red
rain boots caked with mud perches neatly at her side,
the way they might rest in a parlor. The sky is the color
of rain, the color of heaving things: water a wall
surging over highways, toppling cars and beams
and lorries. The past tense is already active here—
fields have lost their stenciled borders; there’s little left
to read in maps. Above the burning cities, snowflakes
scatter, wandering back and forth like spirits. I watch
one explode against the branch of a dead cherry.
Croak of a raven making the shape of a thousand names.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 14 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 89 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


What would you give up or do for others
this season of sacrifice, penance, and fasting?

asks the Catechism teacher of the fourth
and fifth graders. A boy in the classroom
writes, his struggles with spelling equal to
those with theology and science: “Lint
is an elemental metal that is light and
durible.” Oh merry mixed-up strand
in the middle of all this gravitas, yarn
twisted in domestic hue— Lint, he said:
lint from the undersides of sleeves; pillings
gathered in the pockets of our coats, fur
left behind by the feral cat pressing
its belly to the grass— all the little
parts that come off, that we shed as we
scrape through the surfaces of days.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 13 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 88 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


“Mira: you will never see faces like this again” —C.D. Wright
And so therefore yes, every [expletive] poem is a love poem.

Sunrise: from a thousand feet up, the cry of a lost shorebird, circling the long brown waves of hills. Picturesque, no? Almost like a Breugel. Do not ask what it is grieving for, but why. And Obi-wan Kenobi sensed the destruction of Alderaan: “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.” See if in another part of the frame there is a figure falling, fallen, drowning, drowned; if just beyond those hills, that smudge is the smoke of cities burning even as they churn into open water, the land a cracked template that will no longer hold. What are those bodies doing on the rooftops of buildings? For whom do they open their mouths and cry? Prayers and lamentations, oaths, pleading. Who has not lost anything? I would be the dog that wants to embrace its doggy life, would want to suck on the gristle right down to the bone; I don’t know about you, but that’s what I know of immanence. I would be the horse that wants to scratch its behind on the tree as long as it still could. The children want to skate in a pond at the edge of the wood because there, the trees light up like fire; and the cold that stings their faces and the thin patches of ice make the blood beat hard in their chests. What do you love? What do you love? Everything that can be given, everything that can be taken away.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 12 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

After Hokusai’s Thirty Six Views

This entry is part 87 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Above the tree line, a cloud bank edged in indigo.

Once, a woman unrobed to show the scars she bore as she ran down a road long ago, a child with her mouth open, ash falling from the sky.

Water thunders in every ditch. A freight train wails.

Ships have disappeared into the sea, tugboats, frailer craft. An airport is submerged in water.

So still, as if the world were tensing for another blow.

The ground is mostly bare again. The wind is salted with fine flakes.

And if time is the enemy, what is the name of the wind that blows
fine sand into my eyes?

Poised in the hollow of the wave, the fishermen huddle. You could count their heads, smooth like beads on an abacus or a prayer chain.

And after the blows, the softening.

The gnarled parts often contain water, hardened through the years.

So you say you know the Chinese character for “squander”— but I want to know first what there is to spend.

A hand raised in greeting is a cup, a well, an oasis.

And yes, every poem is about love.

Scientists tell us there are fine tremors in the earth every day that we do not even feel.

Think of so many of these in any given moment, especially the ones that feel completely still.

Luisa A. Igloria
03 11 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.