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
02.05.2011

*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
02.04.2011

In response to today’s entry at Moving Poems.

Spell

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
02.03.2011

In response to today’s entry at Moving Poems.

Thaw

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
02.02.2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Waking

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.

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.

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

*

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

*

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

*

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

*

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

*

F
I combed
the seashells
out of my hair,
would my songs
change?

*

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

*

H,
how I learned to hate
that chair in the hall!

*

I
stare
at my
paperwhite
reflection, my
starry
I

*

J
hides
in my I
and waits to be baited.

*

K
Kisses
go straight
to the
point.

*

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

*

M
Primal letter MA
with her mountains
of milk.

*

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

*

O
the moon
approves
all round
and endless
pleasures.

*

P
plays tennis
on the side.

*

Q
Shy,
left-
behind
one,
you make
a quiet
coda
to this
parade.

*

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

*

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

*

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

*

U
Upturned
like a mouth,
like a well
under the stars;
upended,
umbrella
deflecting
asterisks
and commas.

*

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

*

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

*

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

*

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

*

Z
We glide
from one axis
to another,
in order to
begin again,
defying
zero.

***

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
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).

Recurrence

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

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

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.