One Day, That Room

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

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


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

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry and an article at, “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.

Landscape, with Cardinal and Earring

This entry is part 39 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


The man walking his dog notices that under the bridal
wreath bush, a cardinal flickers like a pilot light.

The woman at her window sees the moon not yet
completely faded in the sky, half a pair of pearl earrings

she still keeps in her drawer though the other
has long gone missing. What parts do we need

to complete each other? Sometimes the day
wobbles like a cart with one wheel.

Sometimes it arrows like a train through
the countryside, even though we don’t see it.

We hear its rush onward, its insistent
push toward the distance. The cold

is intense today, and hard to withstand
alone, out in the open. The man gestures

to his dog and retraces his steps.
The woman turns away from the window.

In the bushes, a tiny red brushstroke
wavering in the cross-hatched branches.

Luisa A. Igloria
01.22.2011 (via Blackberry)

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Ghazal of the Dark Water

This entry is part 38 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Tell me again that story of the woman by the well,
and of the wanderer who asked to drink from the dark water.

On the banks, river stones gleam like cut topaz, like milky agate or
ovals of smooth amber— such contrast against the dark water.

In the kitchen above the shed, the stove comes to life and a kettle
whistles. Tea or coffee grounds swirl, darkening the water.

Squares of paper hang like laundry on an indoor clothesline.
Someone is waiting for prints to batten in trays of dark water.

Small birds migrating from sleep cluster near the windows—
Don’t eat the merest kindness, like bread thrown upon dark water.

Juncos fill the lilac, nearest cover to the stream’s unfrozen section.
Five or six at a time, they flutter down to drink from the dark water.

Who keeps filling this earthen pitcher? Once and for good
I’d like to break it on the hearth and pour out all the dark water.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Landscape, With Darkness and Hare

This entry is part 37 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


There are still some places on this earth
where, driving into the hills just ten miles
from the nearest town, if you killed
the engine and turned off the headlights
you would find yourself at the bottom
of a well of darkness. Perhaps it is too late
or you don’t realize I hadn’t planned
on coming this far down the road,
but here we are. We could have taken
the other exit, the one littered with rest
stops, vending machines dispensing packets
of sugared goods all day and night, glass
vaults offering the sliver of a chance to lift
a cheap stuffed animal out of the felted pile—
But whether or not you really meant to sign
on for this ride, we’re too far inland now.
Cell phone signals come through only
intermittently, and on this stretch the houses
are three or four miles apart. Who’ll break
the silence first? Back there, I saw a painted shingle
that said to watch for deer crossing. Even in this
desolation, so many signs of life, as though they
didn’t require our noticing. If we sat here
through the last icy hours of night, we might see
at first light, juncos on the snow between
the cattails. Or Dürer’s young hare, soft brown
in watercolor and gouache, still for a moment
before disappearing in the grass.
With all my heart oh how I wish he
would take all the darkness with him.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 35 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


If what we had grew stronger, if words
did not forget the shells that shook

them loose, if last night’s rain did not fall
in a soft staccato on the ground— If,

despite the clamor of figures on the street,
we could stay tethered to this space—

But the light is always changing,
and the edges of the porch blur and color

with fine snow. In her own footsteps,
the feral cat walks toward the garden,

tracking moments that preceded it.
See the clear imprint housed

in each old crater, see how water
changes to other forms of water.

Ferrous water washed away by salt,
leaving blue silhouettes of stalks and algae,

heart-shaped leaves; unfinished shapes,
bodies pressed close on the muslin sheet.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 34 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Icicles at sunrise: no even-toed ungulates
come plodding to the cherry, therefore.
But a titmouse lands there, the peachy-
brown streak in her breast the same rust
in a tree sparrow’s cap or a broomsedge stem.
Some days are copper-lined, are meat and wine
and crackling logs the little match girl strikes
flint after flint to enter. I’d take her hand
and sit her on our laps, wrap her in a tufted
comforter. Small songbird, acrobatic forager,
you’ve buried your hoard of morsels so long
in the ground— pine and beech, oak, fruit
of the candleberry. My desire is also quietly
eager for spring. Nothing much yet on the ground—
but pry open the secrets in each gravelly seed;
carry them aloft, bear some to the one I love.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 33 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


“Everything changes, nothing remains without change.”
—Gautama Buddha

All day I moved from task to task— washing and dressing, raising the shades, putting away clean dishes and utensils from last night as we waited for our youngest daughter to eat her bread and cheese and jam. We piled into the car and drove to church; there too it took some work to listen and tune in to the service, to homilies of being lost and found, the shuffle of collection baskets making their rounds. The wheel of standing-sitting-kneeling, attended by hymns and prayer. After church, we stopped for coffee and sandwiches, the Sunday paper; then went to the Asian grocery for rice (we like the “Milagrosa” brand), sweet bread and tea, mustard greens, and bitter melon. I bought three tiny good luck charms for the lunar new year: fingerling gourd with a buddha hidden in its hem, small brass urn, three-tiered pagoda. At noon, the streets were still surprisingly empty, not even harboring their usual noise. When the wind moved, bands of blue moved east and closed just before the sun could enter them. Everything grew still. When the wind died, it was completely quiet for fifteen seconds. I thought I saw a thousand-armed goddess step through the clouds; just one slight gesture of her hand multiplied in the air and prismed. A truck rumbled past. A siren blared. All around, colors fractured and glowed like pieces of stained glass.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.


This entry is part 32 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Philavery /fil-a-vuh-ri/ n. An idiosyncratic collection of uncommon and pleasing words.

Unable to sleep till late (or early), I dithered
and tossed in the abstemious dark then clicked
on the lamp switch and sat up to read, finally
settling on my red-bound copy of Foyle’s Philavery
(a present from my daughters two Christmases ago).
I’m not sure how it is that my mind drifted
to the issue of consonants— specifically those
that bump up in threes in the middle of words,
like castaways on an island. They sit shoulder
to shoulder and pass the coconut shell dipper
from hand to hand as they count sharks’
triangles in the morning and punched tin lights
overhead at night, having given up any real
hope for rescue. By then I’d begun to find more
and more of these words– like “esssse,” which
was the way some medieval 14th century texts
spelled what we know today as “ash”; or, more
familiar: “rhythm”, “craftsmanship”, and “ironclad”
(the latter reminding me of the Battleship Wisconsin,
berthed at the riverfront not even a quarter mile
from where we live). So when my husband, grumbling,
asked if I would like a ham sandwich (notice the three
consonants snug in the middle there, not even needing
any mustard or mayo?), what could I do but nod my head
absently and muse aloud how it would be great if we had
some schnapps to go with that. While he was downstairs,
I’d drifted to Chelmno, a little town in Poland (its name
derives from an old Slavic word for hill), then wandered
some more afield, picking up a few hitch-hiking doubles
to keep company with the others: one sweet-talking
beekeeper, one slightly facetious bookkeeper, one gay
gypsy who’d been to Albuquerque. When morning
arrived, they marveled at the sight of a snowpack
glowing in soft light. I knew that a dog was barking
somewhere in the hills of Pennsylvania, and hoped he
would not cause an avalanche. When snow and ice melt,
they feed the rivers and the streams, but sometimes
cause flooding. You wake when you hear a resonant
knock in the dark, even though it could be only a woodpecker.
But then it could also be the sound of a new door opening.

Luisa A. Igloria

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.