Atlantis Rising

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 12 of 18 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2013

 

We live on the coast,
where it floods each time
a hard rain falls—

Streets turn into rivers,
rivers push past front doors,
enter through garages and mews.

At such times, a boat or kayak
comes in handy. So when they read
the news about the imminence of ice

melting far up north,
at the pole, the locals shrug:
the whole planet’s self-winding.

The clock’s set to alarm. Come
shuck an oyster, raise a glass
topped off with foam.

We’ll all put our bones to bed one
way or another— salt marsh,
wet clay, turf, ocean floor.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Anamnesis

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 13 of 18 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2013

 

Axis of smells gathered in the knot of a compass, windmill churning in the absence of wind: if I say panaginip, it means dream split open. It means heat causing a mirage of tender feelings, or rain falling in sixteen hour shifts. So much moisture is good for the soil; and such weather is perfect for a meal of beans. If the insects have had their supper, why are they lined up at the sill? On the continents of yes and no and maybe, there are thresholds that cannot be crossed, and there are those that blur beyond recognition.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

In the Ablative

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 14 of 18 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2013

 

With care,
with enough sunlight,
with the quiet that transcends
movement when a door hinge cracks like an eggshell—

In the summer,
in the first shallow drifts of autumn,
in the terrible seasons of rotting fruit
when we rush to embalm their sugar in pastry—

Where the assassin bug skates lightly,
where the deer have gone into the thorn,
where the wildness loves what’s
hidden, without shame—

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

The wren in the lilac cycles through its songs at breakneck speed—

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 15 of 18 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2013

 

And why not sing? And why not burn a track
from the tinder of the branch to the furnace of noon?

The maw of that which will devour us all,
that gapes beyond apartments and old strip malls;
the rusted iron gates over which the neighbor’s ivy creeps,

unpeopled mansions built
on mountaintops exposed, tracts of sand
over which armies of boots grind children’s bones

to dust— And why not empty
all the vessels of the throat,
the glittering receptacles of blood;

and why not break
the hundred glasses in the room
with the sharpest facets of that joy,

that long-lost twin of sorrow?
Hurry through one more refrain, as if it were
the thread in the labyrinth that could save you.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

If the future is a bird headed for a summit too far away to tell:

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 16 of 18 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2013

 

If for every word I lay down, someone else throws two soda pop tops up in the air where they glisten, false metal hard in the sun; and the crowd says oooh.

If somewhere a hand snaps a cloth around the mouth, tightens a blindfold, tucks the glistening, form-fitting spandex around the body, checks the buckles of its expensive shoes.

If the moth trembles in the eaves, it is for every story lived that someone else appropriates: reconstitutes with plastic, fiberfill; turns into amuse-bouches.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Urgency

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 17 of 18 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2013

 

What is meant these days when critics and reviewers say this or that poet’s work has the flavor of urgency? Do they mean the urgency of the package that must be delivered not because of its contents, but because the sender has paid the more expensive rate? Do they mean speed: to beat the next two cars to the mall exit after hours? What do they mean when they praise the killer line and the break: do they drop a kick turn sharper than the boy skateboarding in the empty parking lot? Do they mean the sudden singed smell and the hank of hair that comes away in the grips of a hot iron as the teen makes her YouTube beauty tutorial? Even this late in the century, there are fields that hum at the edges from their proximity to barbed wire or an electric fence. Where can one walk where there aren’t bones buried underfoot? A man I went to school with was abducted three years ago as he waited in the early hours for a bus to take him into town. What the stones would say if they had tongues. How the smallest animals know when the merest shadow has crossed the yard.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Tending Fire

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 18 of 18 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2013

 

Back then, when this was possible,
the sky might have filled
at dusk with wood-smoke, wispy
evidence of leaf-burning—

Domestic issue, those little fires
fed carefully in the yard
by mothers or grandmothers:
sentinels, furies, not one

of the immortals and yet
they watched to tamp
the headstrong flame,
conscripting fire

to interrupt the process,
consume the rot that creeps,
threatens to take hold
of the green and growing.

But there’s a cost to this
sort of tending, of waging
constant war against decline
which wants to have

its way, always—
Leave it alone a second,
turn aside; believe in its warm
disguises, and quickly rue.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.