1. Intention

    “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.”

    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
    01 23 2011

    [PS – Dave- seriously? 20 feet?!? ]

    1. Easily 20 feet, and in virtually a straight line. I checked in a track book to be sure, but partly by process of elimination, I’m 80% sure that it’s a white-footed mouse.

      1. His feet would be white if he walked in Ontario this morning, -36.

        I love your line “the snow is my newspaper”

        1. Now that’s cold! Looking at my thermometer, I see that -36 is the same in both Fahrenheit and Celcius. So cold, a cup of coffee tossed into the air turns to ice before hitting the ground, according to a YouTube video I saw the other day.

          1. I am outside harvesting it right now. throwing pots of coffee into the air. Picking it up and putting it into a freezer until summer to sell to my Parents customers from Tyrone, Altoona, Stage College and Huntingdon area..

    1. That’s a good article, but I’m not sure it’s been proven that the killer was in fact deranged. One can be very confused, angry, vengeful or resentful without suffering from any mental illness.

  2. 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 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.

    1. Luisa’s last line here describes my preference as well. It is the given line (the proverbial ligne donne) and the “magpie’s shiny stuff” and the “winking language” and the interplay of contextual images, that trigger “the desire” to create that “Porch Poem” with all its complexities. Nothing stolen, nothing imitated really. Almost like consensual in vitro pregnancy.

      I, too, am planning to write more extensively on this process when the “surprise pregnancies” I am experiencing level off to a gestative hiatus.

      Bravo for the ars poetica, Luisa. See you on the porch.


    Now I may wither into the truth.
    —W. B. Yeats

    The lass on my lap
    Said: I won’t play with snow
    Today, abuelo.

    Even snowmen
    Will freeze, will crack in two.
    Can’t play tomorrow.

    On the frozen pond,
    Dead frogs and birds on icy
    Snow are broken, too.

    O, look the mouse jumped
    Into his hole in the wall
    To keep his tail warm.

    Inside, a fireplace
    Crackles, a heated teapot
    Is on the table.

    A soggy paper
    Of old and current events
    Says: Cold kills homeless.

    Use paper for fire,
    Abuelo, the lass offered.
    Nodding approval

    I muttered wryly:
    The snow is my newspaper,
    Your eyes my fireplace.

    Mississauga, 1-23-11

  4. Dave,
    In #4, that should read:
    To keep its tail warm.

    Brain freezing at -37 C over here. It’s cccccoooollld. Thanks, Dave.

      1. You’re right, Dave. His. Consistency. And I would like to maintain the gender line. Thanks, mucho. Please? (-37 C will not be blamed this time!) :)

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