Thursday, January 7, 2016

51st Letter: Certainly

I joked with my friend Edward
that you and I
were the Emily Dickinson
and Walt Whitman
of the 21st century! --
you, sharp-witted hymnodist
of the rarest commonplace;
I, bluster-tongued apostle
of rough-hewn exuberance.

Perhaps we're Marianne Moore
and E. E. Cummings:
you, patient recorder
of luminous taxonomies
in intricate rhyme-shy stanzas;
I, subversive formalist,
quirky playful soundsmith
not minding his p's and q's!

Or maybe I'm Robert Lowell,
electric-nerved and slightly crazed,
and you're Elizabeth Bishop,
summoning my restless soul
to the serenity of particular things,
of details carefully observed
with a deliberate, painterly eye.

But certainly, certainly,
you are Elena
and I am Thomas:
a circumstance I find
most satisfactory!

50th Letter: Dark Colombian Roast

A mug of Folgers dark Colombian roast;
the bright light of the kitchen, half past four.
I start to write to the poet I prize most:

You're nicer than a slice of buttered toast
sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, even more
exciting than a dark Colombian roast!

You're my dear friend. Pardon my humble boast.
(I send handwritten pages by the score
to the wise young poet who's the best! The most!)

You live 900 miles from the coast.
I just might walk the whole way to your door --
after I finish my dark Colombian roast!

Or maybe you'll come here ... and I’ll play host
in my untidy flat on the third floor
to a guest whose gentle voice I'd welcome most!

I'm pestering the gal who brings the post:
"Where is Elena's letter?" Pity poor
me, as I drink my dark Colombian roast.
(Yours are the words that gladden me the most.)

Monday, January 4, 2016

49th Letter: Teach Me

Teach me,
dear friend,
the poetry
of waiting,
the prayer
of patience,
the grace
of silence.

Teach me
the mercy
of listening.

Teach me,
how to live
attentively:
how to notice,
how to breathe,
how to rejoice.