Saturday, February 2, 2013

Postcard Poem: THE SUMMIT

At the February 1 Spiral Staircase Poetry evening, Maryland poet Laura Shovan read a few of her postcard poems and then engaged the rest of us in a postcard poem audience participation exercise.  We each took a postcard from the collection she brought.  She then led us through a series of prompts to help us form a poem based on the image on the postcard.

The postcard I drew from the stack was from La Cumbre restaurant in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  The front of the card has the name of the restaurant, its address, and phone number.  The restaurant is perched at the top of a rather steep hillside overlooking the city (the name "La Cumbre" is Spanish for "The Summit").  In the photo, you can see the restaurant's patio and a bit of the roof on the right hand side.  The foreground of the photo is mostly vegetation, some flowering bushes, but mostly pine trees.  Tegucigalpa is in the distance.  The back of the postcard contains the following:  "Enmedio de Bellos Pinos/con un ambiente fresco/con una vista panoramica/Su futuro lugar favorito!"  Over the years I've picked up enough Spanish (or rather learned how to recognize words that are similar in English and Spanish) that I was able to understand this caption.  I love the audacity of the last line:  "Your future favorite place!"  That line essentially became the entry point for me in thinking about this poem.  Rather than grounding it in reality, it would describe something imagined.

I looked up the restaurant on-line and found its facebook page and a number of reviews.  The reviews were all good.  The restaurant offers a variety of meat and seafood dishes; apparently one of their specialties is jagerschnitzel!  That was a surprise-- a typically German entree in a Honduran restaurant.

So, without further ado, here is my poem:


We bask on the restaurant's sunwashed veranda,
the aroma of pine trees and grilled meats
mingling at the summit of our imaginations.
We are here, in our future favorite place,
savoring each other,
feasting on the chance to be together.
Oh, I know that this dinner eventually will end;
that we will come down from the heights
and return to the crowded city that is life.
But, for now, let me savor a dream
and get lost in a vista that is only you.

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