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If a house has a lap, it’s the porch

that hauls you up to sit, sit, quick,

in woven furniture that creaks

under your weight. In a hammock

that stretches you between its chains,

its links and space that make you think

for minutes at a time, that love can be

like this. In bone-white rocking chairs

like seated skeletons you flesh out

with your body and the music you make,

pumping back and forth, away and towards.

Life is so simple on the porch. Like a stage

under a white lace proscenium arch where

you can say whatever it is, or stay quiet

and not chat. Or pray, or cry, in dry dock

but in motion; a porch is a boat, of course,

that pulls the house through the night,

both lap and eyes. Porch used to go with

church, a vestibule of the sacred, outpost

of the profane. A ghost could be at home

here where thin air is thinner, smoke is

welcome, you can pick your nose, loaf

and invite your soul, as Walt says. They go

together and your hangover can hang out

on the porch, this dressing room where

overalls, work clothes, were shed before

the house was entered, this space hung off

known rooms with names and designations,

like the tray strapped to the shoulders

of the girl – as she was called – in old films,

moving through the foyer calling Cigars,

cigarettes? like an offer of more than

nicotine, something you’re sure to need.



Aileen La Tourette facilitates a weekly poetry therapy group, and was previously a lecturer in Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University. Her previous work includes Downward Mobility (Headland, 2004), Touching Base (Headland 2006) and a fiction novel, The Oldest Girl (Ilura Press (Aust)2008).


Carol Ann Duffy says: I am assuming that Aileen La Tourette’s poem ‘Porches’ is set in the US, which has a culture of hammocks and sitting outside. Its description of comfort, and how we don’t always know what we need, or where we’ll find it, made me wish I had a porch with a white rocking-chair...


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