“Last night’s wet snow…”

This entry is part 56 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Last night’s wet snow sticks here
or there, creating alpine trails
beneath the shadow of low walls,
leaving blank spaces where the wind
has drawn its hasty maps and then
like some cartographer unsure
of where the continents might lie,
erased them… In one of these
pockets drawn as wintry latitudes,
bergamot heads confer, a little
brotherhood of toques blanches.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Monday Landscape, with Clocks Borrowed from Dali

This entry is part 55 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


“Caeditur et tilia ante jugo levis…”
(“A light linden-tree also is felled betimes for the yoke…”)
–Virgil, Georgics I

Inside, all the clocks are blinking,
as though even time could not fully
wake to Monday morning. Should I walk
down the hall and flip each limp clock face,
counting and stretching in succession?
They droop along the mantel’s edge, unstuffed
quesadillas before the hot comal and the salsa picante.
Did you know that if you put ham and cheese
between two flour tortillas, you have instead
what they call a syncronizada? Cut into pie-
shaped wedges they might resemble six
two-hour bites of the clock, which might explain
the reference to time-keeping. Or perhaps
it’s simply from our habits of always
keeping time, watching the clock: no more
than three minutes in the shower, five
to grab a coffee and banana, an hour to get
the kids to school and ourselves to work
if we should be so lucky; an hour for lunch,
a morning for sifting through the flour
and meal of correspondence… Who
has the time anymore to notice the squirrel
tunneling back into the icy snow, the neighbor
walking to his truck a quarter mile away?
Above our heads, the rough-hewn hours
shift into shapes of ploughs. Soon,
along the avenues, leaves will mottle
the linden trees: whole libraries of green
lifting their faces in a chorus to work and time.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Ghazal of the Open Water

This entry is part 54 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Bird silhouettes go up and down the laddered
dogwood branches; in the ditch, a strip of open water.

How do they thrive upon so little?
Their shadows ripple like blooms upon the open water.

Riding back from the city on a train, swaths
of farmland, then the flash of open water.

The days, so cold and riddled with damp rain.
And still I’d rather have the clarity of open water.

These months and years have strung their tears
and prayers together: o grant us passage now to open water.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry (via Blackberry).

Vanishing Point

This entry is part 53 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


“Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap
or gather into barns…”
Matthew 6:26

The sky and ground are the same
flat white, as if for once the sights
trained by the worm low in the earth
and that of the bird dangling from a branch
have merged with one another, and now
there is no difference between earth
and heaven, duty and desire. Your mother cheers
the squirrel bounding over the icy crust; and mine,
by text from thousands of miles away, reminds me
of small creatures that do not glean or gather,
and yet increase. In a book fallen open
on my lap, a poet I’ve just met* has penned
a song of sorry lovers, who’ve whispered
“Take me. You know you want to.” In this world,
how are we supposed to know how all these bridges
connect to one another, why it is that some exact
a toll while at others, the way seems clear as bright
ribbons of space and light, merging with the horizon.

Luisa A. Igloria

*Kelli Russell Agodon, “Song of the Sorry Lovers”, from Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room (White Pine, 2010)

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Dim Sun, Dim Sum

This entry is part 52 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Dim sun, your soft
floury edges today
make me think of steam
clouds under a wicker basket,
pillowy mounds of dough
pulled into a pucker
atop sweet or savory buns…
Let the glittery icicles
on twigs and branches trade
their hard-edged, fishnet-
stockinged gossip above us all,
here at an oilcloth-covered table
in a little hole in the wall
where the air is fragrant
with ginger and scallions
and dark plum sauce.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s entry at Moving Poems.


This entry is part 51 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


With every pass, the old broom sheds
pieces of straw. Across the porch,
a covering of snow. Chop wood,
carry water, kindle fire.
Remember the charm that pulled
the town back from under
a river of bubbling porridge—
At the edge of the wood the girl
twirls in her skirt of feathers:
ruby-red, pomegranate-red,
calling out danger.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s entry at Moving Poems.


This entry is part 50 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Fallen branches ring
the dead cherry, each bearing

a row of teeth. The air
is soft now that the rain

has stopped: milky gruel,
thin salty broth we drink

and drink from the rim
of the bowl. So many nights

to have gone without sleep.
So many days we have walked,

fingers curled tight into palms.
So much sound in the crackly

air. We are so hungry now.
We are so eager for the dish

of melted ice in which to dunk
the loaves of dreams.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


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

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Letters Upon an Arc of White

This is a chain of poems composed in the comment thread to yesterday’s Morning Porch entry. Pittsburgh-based poet and master of enigma of Bob BrueckL started us off — inadvertently, I think — with a poem about the letter A in response to Luisa Igloria’s poem in response to my entry. Luisa followed with poems about B and C, at which point I jumped in and continued down the alphabet. We keep adding to it throughout the day and into the evening, with interruptions to fix supper and the like. In what follows, I have done only a bare minimum of editing, and have chosen only one poem for each letter — there were a few for which we each wrote one. The original thread is also worth checking out for the contributions of regular Morning Porch poet-commenter Albert Casuga, which were in a slightly different spirit but also fun, and one contribution from late-comer Barbara Case.

What is A?
A is A.
It opens, non-
blurry mercy,


And B.
B curls twice
into itself.
mercies — it tucks
the corners into bed.


I miss
you already;
should have kept
my arms closed.


isn’t D
prived of
another half.
Its smile is full,
its single string
is taut with D


E, so regal
in upper case,
it’s easy to forget
how the commonest letters
can close their fists.


I combed
the seashells
out of my hair,
would my songs


Gravitas is
the gooseneck lamp
above the foldout desk,
the grizzled poet poring
over goldenrods or


how I learned to hate
that chair in the hall!


at my
reflection, my


in my I
and waits to be baited.


go straight
to the


begins with E—
like F, except
it keeps what F loses
and thus becomes
so much lovelier.


Primal letter MA
with her mountains
of milk.


was the last
time I clambered
up a slide and
rode it, rapid
down— which


the moon
all round
and endless


plays tennis
on the side.


you make
a quiet
to this


Half rebus,
half hieroglyph,
hoisting its one
good wing.


We were both lost,
though heading in
opposite directions.
“Have you seen my white eye?”
“Have you seen my black?”


Tell me
I’d like
to hear
not two-
way signals
tilting in
the wind.


like a mouth,
like a well
under the stars;
and commas.


In the anatomy
of the ear, this is
the part called
the chantarelle.


Window shaded
with accordion pleats—
wistful is the one
who leans out;
watercolors in the distance.


Whenever the numbers
go on strike,
here’s your scab:
four strong limbs
ready for any value.
No pesky head.


I yield
to you
as to warmer
wind— the two
top buttons
come undone.


We glide
from one axis
to another,
in order to
begin again,


Bob BrueckL: A
Luisa A. Igloria: B, C, F, G, I, K, N, O, Q, T, U, W, Y, Z
Dave Bonta: D, E, H, J, L, M, P, R, S, V, X

Landscape, with an End and a Beginning

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

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