porchlight

it was as if all of every summer’s heat
had sunk into the worn boards of the porch

twenty years ago and I would do more
than simply sit beside you and tell tales

but here and twenty years backwards, I’ll admit
to seeing the lapsed possibility of home in you –

how the porchlight cradles your laughter
and not so much the door I can’t rush out of

without thinking if I’d only known you then
we would have been that much more

even in leaving, you’re all and everything
though everything arrives too late

even my feet, in finding their way away,
feel the impossible promise of you

© Sarah Whiteley

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assembling the fire

remember afternoon sun cures morning’s
damper specimens

for a bigger blaze, find an ally
to help gather

wet pieces can also be cured
by sharing laughter

but only if you share laughter
long enough

some pieces show more promise
than others

but do not discard dry grasses
as useless

recall that these encourage
a better burn

as with anything in life,
start small

and be wary of smothering,
when adding more

be mindful where you place
the most weight

and if you find that your fire
is faltering,

return to the simple honesty
of grasses

when all finally burns bright
beneath the dark,

sit beside the most kindred mind
you can find,

share the amiable heat of your labor,
and pause

to remark upon the enormousness
of the sky

© Sarah Whiteley

2.18.2015

there’s nothing quite so fine
as drinking prison wine

sitting on upturned milk crates
with an aging Boxer dog

and the best red-headed smartass
I’ve ever had the pleasure

of not completely falling for –
not like all those others

some lovers leave and others
you just can’t shake,

but none of that matters –
there’s comfort in the heft

of a good friend’s laughter
and forgetting in a bottle of rye

for those times when time
doesn’t go quite fast enough

and you can’t leave that burden behind

2.12.2015

snippets from the past few days

the snowdrops have been stepped on by some unwary foot – they are closer now to mud than to sky – but the crocus persists and the daffodils are showing their greening tips

I had to side-step several puddles of blood on the sidewalk outside the office one morning while the police tried to tape them off – a man stabbed apparently kept right on walking – I felt like I could relate

I wake most mornings at 2 AM with my heart thrumming like a sparrow trapped in a 50 gallon drum – and it is the strangest sensation to feel empty except for the beating of frantic wings – on lucky days, that goes away

Knock-Knock has learned a new vocalization that somewhat approximates a soft bark, not unlike what Freyja sounds like when she calls the crows – I am intrigued and pleased by this

Coyote has been extra amorous with his mate, and in another few months, I will hopefully have a new blue-eyed fledgling or two that he will let me photograph

I briefly met someone at the office whom I strongly suspect is a very shy, closeted smart-ass – this makes me want to invite him to coffee so that we can enjoy the comfort of being smart-asses in like company

three gin & tonics and eight pieces of sushi with raucous friends is better than hours of therapy; a peaceful hour spent painting is just as good

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.