POET'S CORNER by Jeff Hartzer
#013: June, 2005

The Free Porch

My wife and I celebrated our 18th anniversary this month. We drove through our old neighborhood (the University area) where we were married on a roof-top in 1987. We noticed there were a bunch of flowers placed on a Silver Street porch. We knew the flowers were either there for a family wedding or for a family funeral. That porch will always be known as “The Free Porch”. Evelyn and Gene Abbott ran the Free Porch for 24 years. In 1985, I wrote a poem for Evelyn and Gene about their ‘free’ porch.

(for Gene and Evelyn Abbott)

There are days like this
when even grey skies are hot.
These are the hot ones
say the gas men
the litterpickers
the meter readers.
Hot ones.
They come like this in summer.

There is a porch
on our block of the world
the block where we live.
And on this porch
neighbors drop whatever they are done with
whatever they choose to leave behind
to pass on
whatever they choose.
And when they leave something
on this porch
on our block of the world
it will be gone by dawn.

It is rich
this block where we live.
Where we breathe and dance
and leave behind all the things
that were onnce so vital
so precious
And they are gone by dawn.

Evelyn Abbott died Wednesday, May 25th, joining her husband, Gene, in the Great Beyond. There is an old adage that you should die with your hands ‘fully open’. To do this, live a life of generosity with a reciprocity of both giving and receiving. The Free Porch was actually closed down in a big squabble with realtors over zoning codes. Perhaps nothing goes 'for free' in America. It is time to listen to that old Joni Mitchell song "For Free"; and sadly, it is a time to let go of Evelyn and Gene. They will not be forgotten.


Jeff Hartzer copyright 2005






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Written by Jeff Hartzer , The Poet's Corner appears monthly in Albuquerque's South Valley Ink.



Jeff Hartzer, MEd. presents a unique view of poetry as a magical gift waiting to be opened . Jeff is a poet, writer, teacher, and the Executive Director of the AirDance ArtSpace. ( 1-505-842-9418).

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