Dogslandia

Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sonnet #199

Consider the African sand of the Sahara
How it blows across the sea and spreads
Across the sands of Mexico, all the dead
Bones of Egyptian Slaves, the salt of their
Brow, trapped in sand, swirling up above
And over, the dust of lions and ancient trees
And how the desert spreads, even now, we see
The encroaching of death, the wasteland, love
Lost in dunes, desert sand storms; the locusts
Traveled over oceans, in their swarm,
To islands across the ocean, swarm
On water, drown and eat the drowning, trust
The destiny of movement, the flood of doom
And send these drops and drabs of death, and soon

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sonnet #198

Good be not kind, though some would think it so
Consider all the brides who lost their oil
They ran late to wake the merchant and blow
their lamps back to life, upon return to native soil
The door was shut -- the heavenly host proclaimed
I know you not, though hours back there was home
I know you not, you used to be a guest and remained
all day, you thought you belonged; No one
let you have a little oil - nor helped with your mess
These good, holy heavens, locked you out to atone
For such tiny sins -- a fizzled fist of fire, late, a dusty dress

Shed tears if you like, all lost relations feel like stones
Thumb home in the dark and forget those who convicted
at their miserly feast --
                                     Prefer, instead, the kindly wicked.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sonnet #197

The bad trees are cut down, thrown into fire,
For the fruit is no good. The fig tree that fails
is cursed by the lord, withers and dies. All liars,
All thieves, all men who profit from what ails
the world, will be cut down. God will cut you down,
who grows thorns and spits thorns and bitter,
bitter words, words that harm, hate sewn
with a taste; God will cut you down. Better
be making the good fruit. However, the worst medicine
tastes sweet, I think, while the bitter purge heals
We live in a kitchen of sugar and adrenaline
The fruits are too chemical, so wash all your peels.
And what is good is not always what is sweet
What is good will hurt, bleed out, cure surfeit. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sonnet #196

First the dust swarmed off the decaying grasslands
Where heat and drought and construction
and all the ruined places will function
like a dust storm; a blistering, swelling band
of hot, hot wind pouring up from the south
with clouds behind them, a sweeping summer
storm, first dust, then fat drops, the shimmer
of a rainbow somewhere, the sudden truth:
This should be a reprieve, but it will be worse
The sun is back in minutes, the water hurts
the breathing more, now, and where the burst
should have made us cleaner, the coarse
sand sticks damp the oil is lifted up to slick
But won't wash, like little hope, it makes us sick

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sonnet #195

They fall, those little whisps of grass,
As if the tiniest of deaths is less than whisper
There are no ghosts of grass, just fire
And when it is through, new grass, seed, grass
Lean out into the field where every sliver
Of green contains the lineage of eternity
The common sea of so much gras, it's easy
To forget that every individual is peacefully
Contemplating nights and days, and every
Blade, every insignificant little husk rises
Back, look back long enough they are us
Then lean forward at the grass to be a tree
There is a narrative and spirit in every grain
There is a birth, a death; joy, striving, pain

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sonnet #194

The mountain climbers know each other by the handshake
There's a weary eye, a roughness in the palm
The smell of heaven rests upon them like a psalm
hovering at the edge of hearing, there's no quake
about their steps, a lean and narrow trajectory.
They know each other in the street and cafe
They may not speak much to each other lately
But there isn't really anything to tell a story
There was a mountain, once, it was high and proud
The climbers mapped a route, gathered supply
They put one foot after another, until the clouds
Were underfoot, until the wind was a war cry
The echo of empty peaks reverberates below
Mountain climbers meet each other and they know

Tales from a Talking Board, in which I play a small part, coming in October from WordHorde


I've got a short story coming from an anthology edited by Ross Lockhart, TALES FROM A TALKING BOARD (WordHorde 2017)

Mine is a fictional twist on a true story, from back when I was marching drum and bugle corps. I was a contrabass bugle player for the Blue Knights out of Denver, CO, in 1997, 1998, and section leader in 1999.

I don't play anymore, these days, but once upon a time, I did. I never really wrote about it. It's definitely a niche interest.

Here's a link to the whole anthology, if you're interested:

http://wordhorde.com/cover-revealpreorder-tales-from-a-talking-board/

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sonnet #193

Inside every heart is a moment of silence
That is the actual beat: Without that pause
That space - that's how we measure because
the tempo is the wait between the tense

This silence, rising falling, spreading, waiting

Consider this: The world of the birds is larger
Than ours, the world of the whales is larger
For where we can only reach the wainscotting

They can breach above, below, follow tides
or winds until the whole world that is a home
is larger and wider and deeper than all of Rome
And the music that they make from where they hide

Connects all the kingdoms of the earth and we
call it silence. We call it empty skies, empty seas

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sestina #1


Braced against the skin of this watery rock
Every single person anybody knows their name
Is here, some apartment, some crowded room
Below our feet all the ground we'll ever hold
All that lives, and all that dies, wrapped in space
Endless space, and swirling suns and galaxies

I send my love to sing the galaxies
The rolling derbies of steel upon the rock
Where new kingdoms will carry our name
Where children of our love will make room
For more children, where the life holds
Warm and clean shelter, fill up this space

When you merely study this dark and space
You will not see just the empty glow of galaxies
Where no signs of life cling to ice and rock
You'll paint mythologies upon the stones by name
Therein pushing history and dreams to make room
For human bodies to rise into the dark and hold

This seedling I carry to our orchard, I hold
so close into my chest, the space
between the lemon tree and the galaxies
Is shaped like the absence of a rock
The absence of a history, of a name
And I stand between these two places, all room

I plant my love and my tree where there's room
For roots to reach and hands to touch and hold
We'll carry all these living things into space
And bring the wild earth to the galaxies
Where seedlings and insects dig into rocks
And make new islands, become new things, new names

I send my love to you signed by name
Will you let me sweetly into your room
Where, together, we may have and hold
And bathe our skin in dappled starlight space
above us sinking into our skin, the light of galaxies
Calling to our children down to our little rock

The universe in a conch shell, names in chaos held in rock
Where geologic time holds deep in our quiet bedroom
The skin of us, the tiniest galaxies of us, to fill all space

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sonnet #192

Be loyal to mother and father and child
Be loyal to god and to the holy wild
Be loyal to all children, all grands and greats
Abandon all loyalty to king and state
Abandon the store that would abandon us
And fill in the factories with slaves of rust
Abandon all loyalty to priests of the mind
Instead of loyalty -- be kind, always kind

For olive trees twist and the vines all falter
And the fig trees ooze sap in the place all bones rattle
Where the roof tops bend and carry no shelter
There is the place where kill comes for cattle

Loyal to only the wind of the stars,
And the shivering Atoms, life, alone, prays


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sonnet #191

And Solomon, what's left of all his glory?
His meticulously described temple is gone
The gold and olive-wood carving is a story
that contains the temple, now. All he has done
as a king, the wars and lovers, all, adrift
like wet books in large oceans, passing
from one wave to another, the slow shift
of rewriting wet pages and back into the tossing
Until the story, itself, only pretends at truth
There was a man, once, who would be king
In his dream, he asked for wisdom from a God
And, when he woke, the babe was brought in
Two women shouting, "It's mine! The child's mine!"
And, his mind burning, he held the sword of time

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sonnet #190

I used to know how to write a poem
Once upon a time I even knew stories
I see these ideas I built like ruined Rome
I have buried more in my worries
Than I have ever been able to keep
Once I thought I could change everything
Build parapets of paragraphs, war weep
To carry sorrow to joyful ignorance bring
Light to undiscovered continents inside
The soul of dreams. I wake up from this
The dust accumulated, buried streets wide
I stumble to work lost to the fabled kiss
Of forces greater than one little soul
I have forgotten more than will ever be whole


Monday, June 12, 2017

Sonnet #189

The castle is no place to be a man,
All that dust and draftiness, narrow stairs
And those tiny slits for windows. Escape plans
And siege equipment, and all those rare
Accumulated things growing mold
or hidden in moldy boxes, and the cracks
in the walls where mice, chewing on old
manuscripts. And there's all those people hack
coughs in the dust and race around the stairs
No, the castle is no place to be a man
The crown is an unnatural invention made for stares
That weighs the mind down. Will you stand?
I've never met a man in a castle - only jesters
Who seem unaware of the jeers of their betters.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sonnet #188

The day I knew I could never go home

Again, never again, was with a cookie
I knew in childhood, a humble cookie
And the memory of the cookie's grown
a mythology in my desire, a craving
irrational, at best, an addiction to it
Such that I must never permit
the thing to enter the house, and staving
off this desire is a fact I know as truth
If I give in and taste the cookie,
It is not so great in my mouth
As it is as a memory of the cookie
The taste is nothing but a dream
Old rooms in lost houses larger than seem