Untitled Sonnet

So, you do what it takes because, well, love,
you know? Because love. And because love, we
let them go. And then howl, losing them, not
like they howled, no, all alert and proud of
a job well done. Slow and rough opens grief,
then grief, door-like, snaps closed, snaps a snapshot
of life before, and sets the camera down.
We have been promised a tunnel of light,
a safe haven, a destination, but
not for them. Doves in flight caught with a bound,
squirrels treed above, a long straight road bright
with sun and dust, to rove down or run, cut
loose and free, as if there’s another place
to be … we stay, and they run a new race.


Form: AA 12-Step Sonnet

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Of Numbers, Names, and Weeping Things

Over and over and over again.
Cycles and circles, creatures and crawling.
The howling that haunts the space between throat
and skin (“let me in” / “let me out”), shouting
its name. Of course it has a name, because

all things have names. That’s what we do, humans,
ever since Adam. We name things. All things.
More and more things. Names that emerge, whispers,
climbing on bones of names that came before.
Names that slide slickly down the hunger tube

as if they can satisfy. Names so still
we don’t know they hold shivering inside.
Names roaring like wind in the ears of those
falling, too far and too fast to survive.
Names like little boxes to live inside

but can never redecorate. That’s what
poetry is for. Stripping the purple
from the crocus, plucking the gold. Swallow
the minuscule piece of poison that’s left.
It’s all dose dependent. It’s all context.

The winged things that called to me as a child,
singing on the sidewalk in front of home,
as if they were weeping, as if they were
so tired of weeping, as if grief lifted
their feathers, separating and spreading,

as if grief was joy and beauty and love
twisted in time. As if only nameless
beings could open the boxes, break them,
remake them. Do numbers need names to be
friends at ease with each other, to become

blue and yellow, pink and turquoise, to take
up space and shape and form and to delight
each other? They tip like balance, a scale,
float like bubbles or petals, quietly
amused. Numbers sing weightless in the air.

Burial plots for frogs: a micropoetry exchange

Every other site this was on has now disappeared. I found (with considerable work) an archived version, and am planting it here just so I can find it! This work was originally done in 2009.


Four months ago, over at Identica, Patricia F. Anderson and I traded poems based on recent news stories. I started off, and we alternated thereafter. I believe Patricia kept a list of links to the news stories we drew upon, if anyone’s curious. —Dave

The mayor of Kiev raffles off his kisses & sells burial plots for frogs. He greets protesters with a song, saying: only God sings better.

*

A Renaissance monk scribes the sacred and the sexy, chortles with courtesans, singing “you are all that is left of me.”

*

Imagine how reporters for the Life Morning News felt when they found their distributor had been taking it straight to recycling.

*

Life, death, that’s right – the morning-shift warehouse worker sliced in the cardboard recycling shredder. It’s over. He is.

*

Exiled from mainland Singapore, the seashore bat lily & pink-eyed pong pong tree take refuge on a manmade island of garbage.

*

Pollinate the elastic plastic, yeah, trashman, jazzman, your absent music haunting the gyre like twisting in the guts.

*

In Lahore, the Movement for Decency bombs juice shops where couples cuddle. Now illicit whispers hide behind Koranic ringtones.

*

In Chicago they resell the chill graves of urban children. Babyland, Babyland, where is your lullaby? Where are your bones?

*

Japanese scientists studying turtle embryos pinpoint the moment when the body wall folds in, origami-like, to make the shell.

*

The embryo folds a tube 2 create the spine. Folds & knots another 2 shape the heart. Some things unfold that are not stories.

*

Even those who bought leases below the cancelled storeys wax wroth at the lost value, no longer the tallest tale in the land.

*

Cher Monsieur Butterfly with his devalued pearls, his mythos worth so much more – the bodice rippers, the diva, so delicious.

*

The Colonel bristles at the word “drone.” Real people control it, he says, be it Predator or Reaper. Let’s not dehumanize them.

*

Buzz was second, but no drone, a real person, he says, touching down on another body. No romantic, he pissed first, he says.

*

On the 40th anniversary of “one small step,” astronauts in a space station unit called Destiny repair a toilet pump.

*

Make destiny a bit closer, space a bit smaller. From YouTube ask astronauts questions. They answer like God from the skies.

*

The wind has died, its spots have cleared up, and the only thing now marring the sun’s perfect day are these 8 circling gnats.

*

The sun naps in the quiet between storms. Jupiter, our bully-proof big brother, wishes we’d learn celestial self-defense.

*

The winner of the Ernest Hemingway contest at Key West, sweating in a sweater, says he only writes checks and text messages.

*

The moveable feast has become transparent film, memory slicing the century into pats like butter. Never enough, the chef says.

*

A man in a gorilla suit runs out the back door with the hibachi chef’s cleaver buried in his arm.

*

Mother of grief cradles her babe in hairy arms, gives suck, turns away from death 2 rub her sturdy flat face against new life.

*

Chernobyl: doves and palm trees on the walls of an abandoned flat. Irradiated wolves chase irradiated deer through the streets.

*

Reject unborn children, damaged children, the damaged thyroid & liver. Reject Pripyat, tanning beds, power plants. Reject.

Tags: collaborationlinked verse Posted by morningporch November 03, 2009, 12:14pm Permalink

Placeholder Sonnet

This is not a proper reply to your letter,
or the stunning revelation which followed next.
This is just a note to say, I am so impressed
with your fierceness over wings and rings. It’s better

to be angry than numb or afraid, I’m thinking.
That pigeon / swallow / sparrow / mourning dove sinking
into its nest hacked the system meant to control

its choice of loves. Oh, brava, brave bird, so clever
and creative. Who would think to take weapons hexed
against you, hide there from your enemies to vex
them? To preen and breed and feed, to tether pleasure

to that ironic consent thus implied, deny
the wound that was intended? This comforts, consoles,
and inspires such secondhand pride in their shy sigh.


Form is a modified (12 syllable line) Alternating Sonnet

Postscript 1

Stories seem as tall as the lake is deep,
say the news reports. They’re looking again
for Nessie, this time with genetic sweeps.
I recall wading in mud, silt. Back then,
as if warm waters held whispers of sweet,
of gentleness, tenderness — invisible
seaweed stroked my ankle, cool in the heat,
while silt filmed my foot, and (immiscible)
floated away on the currents, settled,
then rose over and over in journeys
expected, erratic, like one petal
falling after rain. Some stories (Nessie’s?)
grow with each telling, while others scatter,
dissolve, as if washed away, or shattered.

Bobby, Billie, and Blue

Them with their spate of the blues, or us dancing our own
alphabet soup in tandem? (Just a jump to the left.
And then a hop to the right.) Yeah, you bet it was hot.
How hot was it? So hot I learned sweat can suck the blues
right out of my hair, and blotch my forehead with old griefs

and a new map of continents I’ve not yet seen, still …
blue. And blue. And turquoise. And blue moons. Billie
crooned out her loneliness years before I was born,
her jazzy call for a swing-step foxtrot love of her own,
bedazzled with saxophone, trumpet, and clarinet
dancing step/step/rock-step over the piano. That’s hot.

Kiddo’s been playing Flash Fire Fever (also jazzy),
and Sandy posted about her new poem, “Dijon Sky,”
“a little hot on the tongue (this dog has panted out).”

That hot. That yellow. That blue. Dancing robots, and us,
old cyborgs that we are, all the broken bits and cracks
and worn out weakness that washes away in waters

rinsing today’s laundry; doing what has to be done,
doing the things that carry us one day closer to
when we can do nothing, with no one. Time to let go
of my own leash, at least to think about it. Sandy
also posted the last lines of Adrienne’s “Splittings.”

Hard to believe, but I don’t remember ever reading
this one before. All the things I’ve missed out on, the time
I’ve wasted. Time to oil the Tin Man until he shines,
give him that new heart he keeps bellyaching about,
and see what happens. Step/step/rock-step. Maybe a spin.

Pause, Rewrite, Repeat

I hear you, at least I think so. Not sure,
cuz I’ve got “nothing left to lose” buzzing
in my brain as an earworm; been drinking
too much cold coffee too late in the day.

Janis thought feeling good was easy, but,
well, easier for some than for others.
Not so easy for me. What about thee?
I can’t call this my Bobby McGee piece.

I’d thought of “me and my shadow,” but that’s
a bit subtle, when really it’s just me
and my PTSD strolling down the street,
my brain playing the egg game — a smooth shell

for show, the white behind frothing up with
what-ifs and worries, and in back the yolk,
relaxed and safe and rarely seen. My kind
of Trinity on this so doctrinal

summer Sunday. (Lawn mower buzzes past
the window. I picked up some lemonade
at the corner store, gave the dog a bath.
Practical tenderness. Boyo and I

went beep-boink head-butt before walking in
to watch Infinity War. Affection
performed roughly.) I know the story that
kept me locked up. Sometimes we need to write

our stories out, sometimes we can’t find words.
Sometimes we need to rewrite old stories,
or let them rewrite us, writing over
whoever we thought we’d be. I dunno.

Maybe life stories need editors, or
autopilots for mid-flight corrections.
(I confess, though, as a rewrite, I’m not
fond of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”)