Porch sitting

Wood Storks Close Up

I practice the art of porch sitting,
with my exposed heart outside my ribs
while black banded wood storks
glide to arboreal landings.

The folding of their wings catches me
tucks me into their bird-boned bodies,
integrates me to feathers.

Wind shifts, branches quaver.
A bird startles. Releases
me into the humid, fecund air.

I gentle down into my rocker,
as my heart beats from the exertion.

The Song of the Moon

Baby-shoes-on-slate-with-red-ribbon

The water calls.
I walk the streets in densest night.
The moon creates dawn before the advent of the sun.
A pathway to heaven lies on the water,
As I walk, it beckons.

There’s a drumbeat.
I’m pulled by the fullness of the moon
and urged by the lapping of the harbor.
An insistent rhythm of
African drum tones
In an ancient pattern
Goon/godoe/godoe/goon/godoe
Bass tone alternates with song tone
male and female. A timeless thrum.

Treasures lie in my path.
A baby shoe by seawall’s edge
empty and wet with dew as if the baby
had jumped over into life
and a primal baptism.

Sprinkles of oyster and mussel shells
glow in the moonlight.

A red ribbon. A manmade river of blood
drizzles the pavement.

Now I hear the silent city
as it accompanies
the drumming of my soul,
and the song of the moon.

 

Many years ago, I wrote the progenitor of this poem when at dawn on a full moon, I walked along Charleston’s High Battery and found these objects. The entire walk was a journey of many miles, in just a few short steps. The poem formed itself then and have gone through several reworkings. The photo illustration is one I created to accompany the poem.

August Night*

August palmetto moon

Heavy air
hangs in darkness
surrounds
the sleeping world.

Unconscious,
they miss the smells
carried in the womb
of the night.

Gardenia and magnolia
wax myrtle and ginger lily
pluff mud and marsh.
Native and import.

Fetid smells;
ripening garbage
horse piss and dog piles
mingle with the sweet.

Charleston at night
sultry and quiet
creates a landscape
on the edge of morning
in the density of night.

*I wrote this impressionistic poem many years ago after walking in the historic district in the hour before dawn. The still, humid air amplifies all the scents. Wax myrtle has a wonderful spicy aroma. It was used by colonists to create bayberry scent. The ginger lily is incredibly sweet; some would say cloying, but I love it. Same for gardenias and magnolias. Mix the “bottom notes” of the scents of decay and feces and urine and you have the scent of Charleston in the heat of summer. I took this photo one recent August morning while out for a pre-dawn bicycle ride.