Ode To Morning


Ode to Morning

You promise less and less–
oh, there’s tea.
You still pull that
out from under your half-closed lids
like some energizing
brown rabbit=though now, my own eyes are so damned dry
by the time you wake me, and the whole thing so
old hat, that I leave cups
barely drunk–the leaf muck cold,
as the bag half-sunken, half-afloat, peers up
like a desolate manatee, blinding,
in a circular swamp.

Not like the way tea used to be,
I think curmudgeonly–ly,

which takes me to that first apartment,
its grey moldings trowel-molded by so many layers of paint
that even a Bic gouging at the jambs
(in boredom or plain old pique)
wouldn’t get down
to the wood–
the rooms about ten feet
wide, could fit
a bed. I’d sit in one at the top of Mott
looking over
Houston (I’m talking NYC),
drinking three cups at a shot, hot
and metallically sweet, my pink packets
of Sweet and Low on the ever-ready–
sweet and high–
not on anything, truly, but the sixth floor
of that crumbling walk-up,
and the way your light
was magnified by all the warps—you know, those windows

whose glass proves it’s a liquid, the kind that make the whole world
seem secretly fluid, no matter that it’s hard and shiny
as the hood of a yellow cab, a sunned fender bending
brake lights, calf-fitted boots or someone else’s
the sky sky-blue, best days, from upmost arc
to the pitch of those water towers, soot-black
as a witch’s roofed hat–oh, what

Habituated to the saccharine, I could not even taste
the fakeness of its sweet, just ripped and poured,
sipped and poured, one cup after
another, as if tea
were a talisman and talismen could be ingested
for timed-release–

I like to think that if I knew then
what I know now
I’d have done something
differently, but all I can come up with
is that I would have drunk
at least one
more cup.


Here’s a poem of sorts written for my prompt on With Real Toads, to write about something promising or relating to a promise.  Process notes!  Re pic–I tend to get English tea bags that don’t have strings!  That is supposed to be one of them above.  And I don’t have coasters–so I use an old program (that I never quite get with) to protect my night table.

Lastly, Houston–the street in New York–is pronounced House-ton, like the Doctor or a residence.
And, since I have your attention, check out my books!  (I’ve not done an actual author page, but that link will lead you to them.) Thanks! 


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29 Comments on “Ode To Morning”

  1. I – a loyal tea-drinker for decades – LOVE this poem. Tip: I used those chemical sweeteners too until I discovered something called XYLA, which is natural, no chemicals, NO CALORIES (thank you, God!) – and works really well. I love the scope of this poem, and the memories, and the shimmering glass……..sigh. I feel like – I just drank a cup of tea. High praise, LOL.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Thanks, Sherry. I’ve been cold turkey many years in terms of any sweetener but I suspect yours is xylotol made from tree bark, which is in a lot of chewing gums and super good for Your teeth! Makes sense that wise woman of the forest would use it! Thanks, k.

  2. I love the meander of thoughts following in from that cup of tea. I’m more of coffee person myself, and my own tea I make in pots rather than bags

  3. Polly Says:

    Love the Brit tea-bag…this is a poignant poem that made me feel sad—most effective.

  4. I love tea, and stopped taking sugar with it years ago – I now can’t bear it to be too sweet. I don’t even take sugar in coffee..
    I don’t have coasters either, but back home I do have this cute little teabag holder in the shape of a teapot, which I never use.. I just squeeze the bag over the cup and bin it.. lol

    Great poem, by the way 😉 (Getting distracted in my comment there! lol )

  5. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    You invocation of place here is so strong, I felt transported to the NYC of Capote. It is so alive in memory of apartment buildings and skylines, with the taste and smell of bygones retold. The momentum of the narrative carried me along in its stream of consciousness.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks–it is hard to write of such things in a poem, actually, as they take lots of words, and maybe goes with prose–I don’t know–but so glad that you got that flavor. k.

  6. Brendan Says:

    I read this looking for Love – or a lover — wasn’t til after I read it and read back and caught the title that, duh, this is about the promise that we all wake to, the promise of the next day … And paradoxically how we leapt up from the meanest circumstance back when full of a sugary desire that we have curmudgeoned out of our diets in the latter days. Hedge likes to tag that Joni Mitchell song, “I could drink a case of you,” — how we would love to slurp such sugary tea again! Loved it. I remember living in NYC in the mid-70s (just a summer) back when the Stones “Shattered” was melting the radios … such a feral, fallen, sprawling sort of desire …

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Hey Brendan–I hope you did not feel I was cheating at my own prompt! But one writes what one writes, and this was what initially came to mind for me. (And I really did mean for the prompt to be wide open-.) Of course, this is about morning and youth and tea, but also that time in NYC–I did not feel I could work in what that time was like, either on personal or city basis-so left as the poem was written in my head, and really, youth can be a certain way many places–thanks.

  7. Grace Says:

    I drink when I am feeling blue & nippy ~ I admire your thoughts are you reflect on the morning, its enchantment & muddled talisman ~ I specially like this part:

    and the way your light
    was magnified by all the warps—you know, those windows

    whose glass proves it’s a liquid, the kind that make the whole world
    seem secretly fluid, no matter that it’s hard and shiny

    And so it does, smiles ~

  8. Habituated to the saccharine, I could not even taste
    the fakeness of its sweet, just ripped and poured,
    sipped and poured, one cup after
    another…. that is brilliant

  9. hedgewitch Says:

    I too read this as a love poem and it took Brendan’s comment to snap me into another perception of it–but in a way, that is a time of our life that we do fall in love with as we age, when life was opening doors, possibilities, perfect mornings and the newfound joys of adult autonomy and depth of experience–in many ways a truer love than any between us and another. I have similar feelings for San Francisco, where i first spread my own wings. Two really excellent responses to your own challenge, k, especially done on the spur of the moment. I think the stream of consciousness feel to this works fine as poetry, though I could see it happening in prose as well.

  10. ZQ Says:

    A wonderful use of words and expression/experience.

  11. Susan Chast Says:

    Me too. I would have drunk another cup. I had no cynicism then. Love this: “whose glass proves it’s a liquid, the kind that make the whole world
    seem secretly fluid, no matter that it’s hard and shiny”

  12. Kim Nelson Says:

    There is no knowing then as now. We do the best we can with what we’ve got. If we are wise, we learn, move on and try not to repeat that which caused grief or disappointment.

  13. Marian Says:

    as if
    talismen could be ingested
    for timed-release

    That’s fantastic, Karin. I see Patti & Robert here, too. Very visual, very much place-and-time, love it.

  14. othermary Says:

    You really came full circle with the tea. It’s a wonderful, rambling, sprawling, yet completely on point piece. Love it!

  15. jazzbumpa Says:

    there are a lot of good elements here

    i especially like your take on window glass

    and the sardonic tone of the ending

    but the whole isn’t working for me

    less meandering and a tighter focus would help i think

    it does have promise


  16. Reflections, I don’t think on what I might have done, because in truth I more than likely wouldn’t have changed anything. I too have gotten used to the taste of sweet n low. Odd we would say, I’ll drink mine bitter.” lol

  17. ellaedge Says:

    I, too love the reflected quality of your dialogue. I like the free form and I love tea-the time out. I use Stevia in mine or go bold and drink as is~ I like the take on the window glass, too~

  18. margaret Says:

    One more cup. But mine is coffee these days. Used to drink tea – I really should heat up a cup tonight – it’s so cold her in NC. If we could go back, would we change? Probably not much.

  19. Love your drawing and so true…nothing so sad as a forgotten tea! That happens to me more and more lately. My remedy is an insulated cup…it stays hot for hours!! 🙂

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