the side porch sessions

earlier, a hummingbird busily
inspected the bricks, perhaps
mistaking them for other,
more sweetly yielding reds

and now Charlie, incongruously tattooed,
the color of strawberries and cream,
leans against the rail and half laughs
about the man who tried to kiss her
down at the bar

two gin and tonics in, and the dusk
rises to dark – and down the street
something has disturbed the crows
into scolding wakefulness

I am fresh from my first bad dream
of the man I’ve been seeing,
feeling frayed and fragile – but not
seeking any reassurances

a year ago, I wouldn’t have wanted
to know my neighbors this way – and yet
here I am in the middle of another side porch
session on a warm night with too many cigarettes,

trading not a few bottles and bad jokes
between these strangers who have become
somehow (sneakily) a half dozen friends
and one just-fallen-in-my-lap lover

who leans against the ivy-covered wall
and catches my eye in that all-knowing way
that says he knows me in ways
I don’t even know myself and aren’t we
just the luckiest fucking ones

© Sarah Whiteley

Hoping I don’t need to apologize for the profanity in that last line – the intent isn’t to offend, but to capture what these warm nights spent on the side porch are really like – crass, and vulgar, and full of drinking, smoking, playful banter and some surprisingly deep and meaningful conversations.

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12 thoughts on “the side porch sessions

  1. I knew that drinking, smoking atmosphere quite well, many years ago, and the effing patois is definitely a part of it. The f-bomb serves in certain circles as all-purpose adjective, adverb, verb, noun and punctuation. I had never used it until I took up with a certain social group, and now that they’ve all died,(I gave up smoking after twenty years, two packs a day, and they didn’t!) I hardly ever say the word unless I’m really furious, and no one is around. I do remember conversations we thought deep and meaningful into the night, but not what they were about…It was demon rum made them seem profound.
    This poem certainly captures a time and place, Sarah. No apology needed for the profanity, it’s intrinsic to what you are describing, and that is part of art.

    1. Would completely love to have you join one of our side porch sessions! You’d fit right in I think – we have engineers and a naturopath and a social worker and writers and musicians. The youngest of us is in her 20’s and the oldest 60 – quite the range and yet we all find ways to connect. We argued over iambic pentameter vs. free verse the other night and then moved onto where dogs come from.

      Glad you can see the value of a well-placed cuss word. 🙂

  2. The poem reminds me of similar events in my life….perfectly captured…no apologies necessary for language used appropriately in the poem I would think.

  3. ahhh really my favorite word when no other will do 🙂 love this snippet of time, can feel the relaxed atmosphere with the noisy crows in the distance, the condensation of the glasses and the scent of the dusk closing in – would love to drop in one evening for a drink – wouldn’t that be fun!

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