Forbidden Sonnet, 3

“… the request SHOULD NOT be repeated.” RFC2616

To wrap a rainbow shawl around my blue hair. To say no.
To say yes. To say, be my guest. To shimmer and to glow.
(It’s all about zippers and buttons and snaps. About loss.
About locking up desire, dropping hints. Trace lines across
the unknown bodies to guide eyes from face to hidden place.
Follow the seams. Wrap ribbons around my wrist. Come on — race
with me. We have somewhere to be.) To be us. To catch snow
on my tongue. To eat apples. To say such words. Say I know.
To paint my shoes with glue and glitter (red, vinyl, high gloss).
To rescue Dorothy. To stand up for myself. Be top boss.
To answer the question. To ask a question. To ask for
an apology. To step on toes. To waltz, scuff the floor,
let my limbs flow, and fling my body into the heartbeat.
To ask. To ask. To ask again. And to demand. So sweet.

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Forbidden Sonnet, 2

“Authorization will not help …” RFC2616

It is not allowed to eat meat in Lent
or on Fridays. Some can’t eat milk or bread
or peanuts… Allergies. It’s just crazy
the things we can’t have, between bodies (lazy
and dysfunctional) and cultures, of sorts.
The bottles we can’t bring into airports.
I can’t leave the table without eating
my vegetables. It’s not allowed — leaving
the house without makeup, with makeup, in
a short skirt. What’s short? You hold my jaw, cupping
it in your hands, squeezing my lips into
a pouting kiss shape, leaving fishy bruises.
It’s not allowed to walk out, into the hall,
to make a very important phone call.

Forbidden Sonnet, 1

“The server understood the request, but is refusing to fulfill it.” RFC2616.

Black rice has a certain reputation,
you know. Steam rises from it, light and hot,
and it is said to relieve frustration.
(I am speaking with words that slant and knot,
as one does when speaking of illicit
matters, so we can keep secrets hidden
while we reveal them, consent implicit
in the coded curves of meaning.) Women
do not ask for this food. To ask implies
hidden heat, intentions that can be judged
by others. Stigma lies in this dark prize
legend says emperors fed their beloved.
I laughed, but one taste, and that night my dreams
carried with them the heat of writhing steam.

Ice Storm Sonnet

The whole countryside shivers and crackles
this dawn, phones lit with alerts & warnings:
Trees down. Power out here. And there. Grackles
ignore the empty buzz, the doves’ mourning,
the cardinal’s cheerful swoop through the gray skies.
Thin branches shiver, glitter literally.
Lichen glows fervently green under ice,
feverishly so, while the terminal
buds practically bleed with joy,
bright red stamens frozen in mid-burst,
as if a supervillain was annoyed,
but it’s probably climate change, which is worse,
somehow, because it’s our fault the buds fall,
wounded, and dusk’s late slow thaw fails to heal.

Written upon learning of the loss of Sam Hamill.

Vermin Sonnet

Buzzing of teeth against lips, a burning
in the throat, as if a thousand dust mites
scrape the skin with each breath. There is yearning
carried in the sound, the jangled sound bite
as a jingle singer hums personal
ads written for letters, voiced and unvoiced.
“Fricative seeks friction, bilabial
preferred.” But alveolar disappoints
(or not, if you only give them a chance,
the tongue moving in the mouth so sweetly).
The word flirts, and courts you. Don’t look askance,
What could make such a crude word more discreet?
Or at least more delightful, the tingle
vibrating and voiced in a gasped jingle.


NOTE: This is a kind of love poem to my favorite word.

COMMENT: Last night (the actual 13th) I was working on my daily poem when my son came downstairs in shock, having received a phone call that one of his teachers had just died. It was almost 2am before he felt ready to sleep, and since Friday the 13th was way past at that point (and the poem I’d been working on felt jarring and inappropriate under the circumstances), I left the poem and the day incomplete, and went to sleep, hoping to write two poems today. Which also didn’t happen, but I’m still planning to catch up with the 30-in-30 for NaPoWriMo before the 30th. There’s still time! Although I don’t think I’ve ever written two sonnets in a single day …

Necromancy Sonnet

Start with the dead things, she says. The stink bugs
that hid under the floor boards and shriveled;
the spiders that starved blanketed in rugs
of their own soft webs. There is a brittle
delicacy in exoskeletons
prepared to shatter with a puff, the grace
of dry bones, the so tender elegance
of perfectly still lines in a limp face.
Perhaps it’s a little shrew tucked in
under the snow. Perhaps it’s a dark star
in a black sky lit only by the light
it released with its final gasp. We swim
in the dust of dead things, beautiful char,
abandoned pain, and emptiness of sight.

Robots Sonnet

Don’t bleep the beep, or tighten the lugnuts. Those
are just stereotypes. Don’t judge a bot
by its skin. Just like you, we buy new clothes,
except by ‘clothes’ I mean eyes, ladybits,
and windup toys (like expanded memory
or a processing speed upgrade). I could
change things up — delete sleep, max energy,
grab me some modular squid arms with good
traction, swap out rollers for a blade-footed
bounce. Get the idea? Ever wonder
just what a drag queen might look like without
gender? The evolution of difference
means something else when I don’t care if I
look like you, don’t care that I don’t care why.