Monthly Archives: April 2018

Zest Sonnet

The whole Cajun branch of the clan had spunk.
Zesty? “Yes, you better believe it, chère.”
(That’s what my grandma called me, in a funk,
when she wanted me to listen and care
about the old Cajun stories, but not
too much, because that was her job, not mine.)
She’d nod solemnly, pursed mouth, and then rock
back in the green and white lawnchair, sip wine,
shaded by our Iowa hackberry.
This was before indoor air, before shade
became redundant in summer, when we
carved our lives around weather, lemonade
and lime pie, water with a twist of rind,
storms that just twist, and old gals still sharp-eyed.

Ukulele Sonnet

Sally posts a tune by Mandolin Orange,
“Boots of Spanish Leather”, the song older
than either of the singers (adoring
flirts), but younger than I am, and colder,
as lonely as I thought I was last night.
I’m not the one who left, but I’m the one
who won’t come back, and leaves behind, “I tried.”
Let’s change the song, change the whole sound. I’m done
with painful done-me-wrong songs. Let’s hear Iz
and “It’s a Wonderful Life” on his uke,
(the husky voice, the bright strings), where he says,
“I like the dark.” I remember Friend’s Lake
at night, skinny-dipping in a corn field,
floating in warm waters, stroked by seaweed.

Luz Sonnet

Chiming, she walks, sways, carrying candles —
a platter of light. I know how some flames
gutter, dipping like fingers over names
(cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral,
coccyx) with rhythms that stutter, startled,
like breath inhaled. These beats aren’t aortal
or veined, but veiled. They do not pulse well spaced,
but with a raucous arrythmia chase
each whisper and shimmer from hand to hand,
and finger to finger, then linger and pause,
begin again. Candles still burn. She stands
hardly at all, never still, as if laws
insist that even at rest means weaving
breath and beats and light into believing.

Turkey’s delight sonnet form (but I think of it as a kind of sonnet form sampler pack.)

For the Unveiled Belly Dance Troupe of Ann Arbor.

Blue Sonnet

Ultramarine oil paint sweet with linseed
oil, streaked on canvas in thick angled lines.
Nicknamed “Bluebeard” at school because the bruise
on my chin after a fall (so much shine).
Cobalt blue glass bottles broken and beat,
worn smooth in Lake Michigan, where waves break
& fizz on beach sand, curling like feathers,
reflecting steel when the sky grays.
When sun comes out, the very same waters
turn serene with teal chrysoprase and ache
with emerald (patterned peacock, blue sky
malachite), marbled with clouds and shadow.
I knew that blue day was too low and slow
to be anything other than a lie.

Busta Sonnet Form

Walking the Dog Sonnet

Pooch pulls at my arm like I’m a Barbie
and it will pop right out of the socket,
stretching the leash tight, darting toward the street.
He means no harm, I know, but my daughter
says her Great Dane handles easier
than my tiny guy. She says, “Mom, never
again. Just don’t try to get a big dog.
I can’t take the strain.” I think about it.
I think about what if he got away;
what if I was distracted and he ran
into traffic, chewing a pizza crust
left in the street gutter at the corner.
I think of the actress, run down last week.
All she was doing was walking the dog.

Visser Sonnet form.

Question Sonnet

Shivering is a question. That’s where it started.
Shivering, pallor, wide eyes. Green is a question,
too. How are you? Are you alright? How thick is the
thickest fog? Pea-soup, you know? This can be a game
we play, a riddle song, answers that are questions,
questions that are answers. Do you know that you have
some unusual beliefs? Do you believe that you
are unusual? Are you sorry? Have a question?
Of course, you do. We are all made up of what we
don’t know: the porcelain that shatters when it falls,
the tempered glass that bounces on bricks. A question
for you. Has this ever happened before? How do
you feel? What level is your pain? Interesting.
How can there be no pain? There are no bad questions.

Another poem that is a day late. My apologies. I will catch up, even if it means going into May to do so. I had started writing this last night, when I heard a crash in the bathroom. My son had fainted. We ended up in the Emergency Room until almost dawn, and the poem was left unfinished. That changed the poem. This is not the poem I originally set out to write. Perhaps that will happen another day, another time.

Orange Sonnet

Fresh from the fridge, the orange is cool in hand,
stays cool despite its warm colors. I’d planned
to eat it, but now, I wait, holding on
gently. Let it rest until it sweetens,
warms. Juice rises under the skin, softens,
and as it heats, the peel becomes supple,
loosens. Now, I help it open, ruffle;
remember once it was a flower at dawn,
each virginal petal held up, apart
from others, scent so sweet. Now, juice is tart,
yet, as I bend my face to peel ‘petals’
(eyes closed, inhaling), the scent is still sweet
but more vibrant, vivid, warmed with my hand’s heat,
than it was. This scent sticks, stays, and settles.

Modified Rosarian Sonnet form.

Couch Sonnet

Twenty years old now, so threadbare
I had to flip cushions, patch holes.
The store I bought it from then barred
its doors, a couple years ago.
I’ve even saved a jelly jar
full of buttons that have come loose
from the smocked back (greens soft and dark
and light, pale petals fall profuse
and shy, hide under leaves). It’s time
to replace it, so I bought one,
but my son uses it, not I.
Another sits in the hall, undone,
waiting for assembly. I’ve slept here, well, tried,
for five years now, ever since my mother died.

Jaguar Sonnet

for Carla M.

Something sizzled on the air as wild things roared
with laughter, shouting over the greedy wind
that pressed our shirts against our breasts (as if
it’s an indecisive teenaged boy-virgin
“grab first, think later,” changing his mind over
and over). This was flying with my eyes closed,
hair whipping into my eyes and mouth and nose,
while (rippling like water at the beach’s cusp)
your hair, cropped short, lay flat back as mown sedge.
Wheels growled over asphalt, gripping at the edge
of each moment as if this is the one, the ledge
before the last. I worried wind could slam wasps
into us at high speed with a hard jolt, POW,
but you, your smile relaxed, just quirked an eyebrow.

Modified Grammarian sonnet form.

Kaguyahime Sonnet

I grew up fast. Too fast, my mother said.
Too fast, the neighbors said. Something happened,
something must have, but what? My face trepanned
and the light poured out, mouth open, lips spread,
my eyes shading from dark to bright and back
like the moon. Everyone noticed, but me,
and all the men noticed me, wanted me.
I learned to vanish, was saved by my knack
for flying away with fluttering sleeves
and hair through wet grass and over trestles,
falling, and hiding again. A vessel
is coming, I will leave. My mother grieves.
Light and shadows fold themselves around me;
feathers brush my face, erase memory.

Italian or Petrarchan sonnet form.