Tag Archives: GloPoWriMo

The Z Sonnets (A Cajun Crown)

Original version links:
Zest
Zing
Zipper
Zodiac
Zombie
Zydeco

Eh voilá, l’assemblage complète!

THE Z SONNETS (A CAJUN CROWN)

* Zest

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.

* Zing

Storms that just twist, and old gals still sharp-eyed,
but we’re going to twist away, blow their minds.
Let them pop! We’ll Lindy Hop side by side,
step and slide, glide and grind, until we find
the bang-a-rang zing-tone ringing out loud,
the glue that got Colinda in trouble
with mama, ‘cuz dancing tight’s not allowed.
No bad boys, bad girls? Just stick close, double
trouble, we’ll find a way. I’m shifting gears
from Blue Moon to Atomic Turquoise. Sway
with me, I say, whirl. Mama isn’t here
now. You know what she’d say. Dance anyway.
Whisper in my ear. I’ll whisper in yours.
So many ways for two to fit through doors.

* Zipper

So many ways for two to fit through doors,
but simplest is to hook arms together,
the way cotton bolls can stick to the bur,
the way zipper hooks catch on each other.
My grandma picked cotton. My mama, too,
summers, when she was little. My grandma
cooked for nuns; sewed zippers in cashmere wool,
blue satin, wine red jacquard, black broadcloth.
The broadcloth was for her, but the others
were for fancy folk. She saved up the scraps
to make dress-up clothes for my dolls, covers
and coats, wide brim hats and ballgowns with straps,
snaps, & ties instead of zippers. Make do,
do what needs doing. Those things she knew.

* Zodiac

Do what needs doing — those things she knew.
She knew not to talk when the stars were out.
To set the table, make salads, and do
the dishes, but nothing else. Never shout.
The alligator lay down with the goat,
and the goat cried. The pelican flies off
without hearing. Nuzzling, then spurned, the shoat
wanders into a trap. Cottonmouth scoffs
loudly, hisses with rage. Mosquitos whine,
the possum hides in a bucket buzzing
with flies. Swamp music and vines carve a sign,
a sky littered with critters, just busting
out full of danger and awe. The goat cried,
keeping quiet such a long time, dry-eyed.

* Zombie

Keeping quiet such a long time, dry-eyed
and wet-boned, gone all limp and loose and lost.
There’s the little cave they keep you in, tied
to bricks so you won’t float away, arms crossed
over your chest. Is that to hold your heart
in your body? Does it really matter?
Some day, you’ll get out — a black arts jump start
for all the bits and pieces in tatters,
or do you even need that? It feels like
the nightmares that surround you don’t let go,
and bad dreams alone could raise you lifelike,
guide you along an astral tether, so,
right back to where we began, in a park,
with a shimmy and a shiver in the dark.

* Zydeco

With a shimmy & a shiver in the dark,
let’s dance a two-step while the squeezebox curves
in the light, ripples with movement, with sparks
that bounce & sizzle. Sweaty dancers swerve,
missing other dancers, tent posts, and chairs.
This is music made out of leftovers —
hay rakes & spoons, washboards & croons, old cares
& new wounds, cut & cut down like covers
& quilts. Nonc Pee-Wee had a Cajun band,
but grandma grumped he sang more like a frog;
said, “Only dirty people speak French!,” and
lost her cool when grandpa muttered, “Coon dog,”
(except the word he actually used stunk).
The whole Cajun branch of the clan had spunk.

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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.