Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sonnet #24

Come out, come out, and stand with me in twilight
Look to the south and to the east and to the storm
Witness the way the setting sun paints delights
With a dirty, heatblast sky all humid warm
The stillness of the air we feel, the weight
Everything waits and braces, then like banshees
The vanguard wind whoosh harsh, berates
The dry dust slaps the face, the leaves of trees
This is the wind of change to anger and pain
Stand with me as long as you can stand here
Where the trees flicker and the clouds shout rain
The crack pop and fizzle and electric groans
Come out and stand with me, in the sunset and storms

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sonnet #23

Upon the tile, in dust, it caught my eye
I held the tiny mace aloft, and thought no worse
Then I knew a rodent's paw mold and dry
I flinched and felt what did not strike me first
A dessicated vegetable, a forlorn branch
Another mystery of homes with dogs and cats
But, no, a rodent's paw, no wishes grant
Except the mysteries: a mouse? a rat?
How long it had been there I do not know
It was just another muddy twig upon the floor
Where's the rest of the creature? The dog would know
This is horror, this fear, I feel at gore:
I can't stop thinking is a mouse inside a wall
It's wiggling tail, lost limb, a blood trail crawl

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sonnet #22

Digging up the weeds below the water spout I found

A single relic of a former gardener's memories
A piece of trash, to me, because the plant was drowned
A metal sign of chocolate mint that long ago dies
Everything will die, and when they do, the signs
We keep will be the Anthropocene bones
Metal, plastic, stone, and etched with names
Of planted, died, dissolved into the stones
A memory of chocolate mint, lettering stained
With memories of water - rust - twisted up, interred
The bent and ruined sign was barely legible
Poor gardeners call their signage cemetery markers
I prefer to think of them as Ozymandian heads
Once there was a garden here, a gardener, flower beds

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sonnet #21

A Tribe is just another word for story
These metaphors and allegories wrap
Around a common sense of place and glory
We pick the signs and boundaries that strap
The histories, become the players' rosters
We follow how the story says to map
We talk the way our heroes speak to monsters
We dream in terms defined by what we think
Of what is possible for players on this team
We never lose the uniforms, we drink the drinks
We laugh and cheer and dance with what it seems
Our story's just another word for finding glory
A tribe is just another word for finding glory

Friday, July 22, 2016

Sonnet #20

If life is just a dream and we the dreamers
Then butterflies are souls and frogs are bards
And any moment we could find these sleepers
Transformed into a chorus for a God

If life is just a breath and we the breathers
Then nothing but the breath will last of us
A spirit wind, an energy, a whisper sliver
Of all we pushed and changed against all cusps

If life is just a night awaiting morning
Then find me sleeping late and lost to dreams
I prefer to be dancing than mourning
The moonlight's loss to daylight's scorching beams.

If matter dictates matter, and all directions
Then I will be unimpressed with dull creation.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sonnet #19

Everybody wants to change the world
I'm just happy if I change a single day
For someone else, who feels the fray
Where the black sirens burn a knurl
A single smile is better than a thousand
Raucous cheers, shouting single names
I'd prefer to be no one, Here's the game,
Quietly, bring peace to just one man
Quietly, a hand over hand, a lift, a chair
A stoplight politeness, a tree fresh fig
An unexpected gift in the mail, a glare
When a child is doing wrong, a wig
Allowed to be real hair, Just be there
When the phone rings. That's the jig.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sonnet #18

When I think of Texas, all I see are highways
Interchanges, bridges from the sky from vein to vein
to wide lanes, six, eight or even twelve lanes
Cars and trucks brimming with empty space
So much space for each person in their car
Alone. Drive-through corporations pawn shops
Gas stations in neon colors, strip malls, rest stops
Texas is a highway, don't stop, drive far
People don't think anything of crossing town a day
Or driving over cities to get a specific dinner
The parking lots are vast and hot, the causeway
vast and hot, the sun like a city skinner
The air so vast and hot, the junk we throw away
The blowing trash; the deer and bird trails thinner

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sonnet #17

And this is how to make a loaf of bread
Begin with patience, time, an oven, flour
Water, salt, and yeast. A sturdy bowl, to knead
Put everything together bit by bit, hour by hour
Begin with just a little flour, water yeast, to rise
They call this Biga, feed it when it's foamed
Add a little bit of everything until you find
The dough is rich and thick and grown
It should feel like clay that won't let go.
Let it rest. Read a book. Write a poem.
Punch it down, the hot oven, the stone
Write another poem, leave the oven alone
When it's done, it will sound hollow with a tap
Like a cabinet sounds, wait half an hour to unwrap

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sonnet #16

I never talk about the work; I do it
Make the work, make the art, hold it tight
Inside my head so that I have no outlet
but to make the work; I do it

I do not draw the plans; I plant them
I see where each might go in light and shade
I take my time to find where flowers made
The plans are in the soil; I plant them

The king of all the sparrows knows far better
What to give the birds for meat and drink
The mountains have no gardener, but are sweeter
And more beautiful than anything we make

Trust the glaciers; trust the slowly rolling ice
Trust the geologic destiny and tides

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sonnet #15

They say an olive tree can live a thousand years -

The pears, down here, if fireblight hardy, live
at least a thousand, too. There's oaks that shrive
for centuries, and mesquites with roots like spears
into the earth. The trees we plant in yards
last longer than the houses underneath
When the buildings go, the roses wreathe
The hedges grow into each other's disregard
The roots push hard, the concrete fails
The wasps and sparrows linger in the rafters
It was always their house. Always smaller
creatures - insects, snakes - their tiny squalors, 
We just made a mess before and after

The Anthropologists seek pioneers' ruins
From the sky, searching pear trees in horizons

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sonnet #14

We never speak about the things that make us real:
The diadems of dreams, the wind through hair
at night when we wake from a dream falling fear
Confusion in the dark, the empty night feel
The dread of what we do not know that steals
And our consciousness is centered in the tear
Our knots, obsidian stones, a boiling prayer
Hope when it comes like a catherine wheel
Hope when it leaps in the dark like a child
pick me up pick me up i want to be held
Hope sucking stuck minerally molasses kiss
Hope please not now, please not for a while
Hope let love come from the gods of the field
We never speak about this, never ever speak this

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sonnet #13

Beware the swell and churlish slur of State

The patriotic person pumping oil 
And fracking gas and broken dinner plates
And medicating sorrow preaching toil
toil and suffer and toil toil and suffer
someday to acquire the money to retire
Never look anywhere but towards the future
Where the past must be rebuilt, it was better
Back then, remember? Let's build it again
The sins of yesterday are the soil of tomorrow
The oyster cracks for the hard working men
The pearl, elusive, lost in the sturm and row
Never live for today, only yesterday and tomorrow
Never be happy today, only yesterday and tomorrow

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sonnet #12

The cage, the towel, the tranquilizer dart

The scalpel, the vaccinations, and release
For the feral creatures it must be a start
To the civilizing influence of of peace
By civilizing, of course, I mean of violence
The will pushed over will, the surgical scar
The anger comes with futures pushed silent
All that is desired gets sealed into a jar
Cast into a basket, bask in it like caskets
Cats, dogs, and accidents gone violent
The child is lost; the anger is ecstatic
It carries through the warning of tales of giants
The community remembers, the fear is inscribed
In quiet songs that bind them into tribes

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sonnet #11

They say he died for our sins but everyone dies
When bullets and nails and rope and rogue cells come
The measure is not what death and what price
There is always a price, always a lake and a millstone

He was only a man, what miracle was great enough?
A few people suffered less, that's not nothing, but
the suffering of trillions in time, hurt raw and rough
Give me the miracle that ends all pain and debt

They say it's coming, that miraculous day of peace
a marble dropped into a sea, a rippling wave
I say fly away, pretty bird, fly away, find the place
Where the juniper grows through storms, be brave

Fly away, pretty bird, fly away where sunlight sings
Fly away, pretty bird, fly away, where find your rising