Saturday, October 29, 2016

55th Letter: Third Mug of Folgers

I'm drinking the third mug of Folgers
at 3.20 am, and "working on poetry"
by reading it: Dylan Thomas, Marilyn Hacker,

and you. Often I wish you were more prolific
of poems and e-mails, but your silences
make me cherish your words all the more:

words that live, that help one to live,
that gladden and fortify, noble and pure
as candlelight vespers at St Ann's chapel,

wiser than politicians, kinder than a blanket
knitted over long months by a loved one's hands,
calm as a cloister in this loud leap-year.

54th Letter: Subtle Graces

I choose to search for subtle graces,
for sprigs of hope close to the ground,
untouched by the fumes of politics
and other toxic irritants.

And life bestows this blessing:
a friend from Illinois, an able hand
at poems, painting, music (gosh, what else?),
a soul unwarped by noise and news.

How often I've said it: I've learned to expect
the excellence of your unfrantic artistry,
but still, each new poem
is an induplicable joy!

53rd Letter: I'm alive in the dead of night

I'm alive in the dead of night.

Bifocals on the kitchen table
with the left earpiece broken off.
I'm wearing drugstore cheaters--
better for the laptop screen.

Mr Coffee recites
his litany of drip
in black Latin.
Enough for three full mugs.

Air conditioner hums
in the next room.
TV intones
its bland Nunc Dimittis.

Looking ahead:
at 11 this morning,
Emily the therapist
(nearly thirty, gentle-voiced
Korean-American
of the Irish surname).
This afternoon, I'll
clean the apartment.

Coffee's done.

Down sleepy Route 60
a lone truck rumbles:
resolute, industrious,
headed toward sunrise.

52nd Letter: Birds of Mrs Álvarez

Birds of Mrs Álvarez --
sun strong through slats
of venetian blinds.

I get up later than usual:
eight o'clock finds me still
in pajamas, unshaven.

I recall Roethke's line
I'm odd and full of love --
I've got that first part down!

Begin the day's doings,
I urge my old slow self
but linger at the keyboard.