Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sonnet #325

 I found the lamp; the genie came and granted

The three wishes, and I thought about my son

Who is not yet three, and what could be won

By one so young: to have his moment supplanted

With whatever whim he has, a tv show perhaps,

A giant garbage truck that changes colors on command

He pretends to cook ravioli so he’ll have that on demand

And in thirty years, he would tumble through his mishaps

And ache at all the pain he brought upon himself

By spending all his power on the whims of youth -

I have the lamp; The universe is mine, what else?

Control of others? A power to change the truth?

Just toys and fancy. Hold mine unspent, three prayers

I am too young, we are all too young, to wish into the air.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Sonnet #324

We call the hard ones strong but they 
Are not. The jagged cliffs are shaped by sea
The wind blows down all the mighty trees 
And we sit upon the beach and sea spray
Tickles our noses where the wind catches
The drops, and we bask in that cool water
And swim among the reefs, fish scatter
And they are so small, so delicate, patches
Of light glistening and alive and so small
And all our strength all our hardness breaks
Upon the beach, where tiny sand’s pull
Gently holds us up and swallows us, takes
As much as it carries of our skin cells,
The tiniest worms devour the mightiest who make

Friday, September 11, 2020


No sonnet sits upon this place to make

a little sense from senselessness, no
poem dances out the poison, shimmy shake
The Tarantella is not needed her, so

too the military march, there is no poem

standing here, upon this moving mark
And so abandons pages, forgiveness, and pain
And carry all the things I might have heark-
ened in my brain, I let it all remain

I shattered up the rhyme scheme because no poem

is here, just scattering denials and words
that scatter into more words and a bit absurd
How we just line things up and say the words
And pretend that you can hear me speaking the absurd

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Sonnet #326

From all the darkness that I gather

All the moonlight reflected, all the stars
I find the center of the warm dark, the bars
of the cage of the world of me, were 
I in sun, I cannot think for long, 
There's too much light, too much beauty
I have too much to live, too much duty
To the living world, but the dark song
lingers in my chest, the knowing what comes
For if it can be taken from me, it is not
me. If I could lose a hand and still be some-
one, then my hand is not me. If I could stop
My heart and pull it out and put another one
And I remain, eternal self, let all flesh drop

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Sonnet #325

 Nothing prepares us for a restless night

We expect — we always expect — to dream

Expect to wake refreshed and stretch the light

But when the air is still and calm and we seem

Unable to breathe inside of it, unable to settle

It always comes as such a surprise, a gift of time

In darkness, a gift where we are left to wrestle

Out the ransoms of the daylight, scrape the slime

Off our psyche, read a book, go for walks, be still

Here is the restless hour, the long night, ticking clocks

Alone in this limping, humid storm-swept swell

To think and think and think until the mind is locked

And the windows finally shut, and night guests ramble

Until their voices stop, after the party, and words untangle

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Sonnet #324

 For love, I trim my beard outside,

So little hairs don’t clog and mess the sink

I use the sliding glass as mirror where I think

The neighbors cannot see me, as I hide

Without a shirt, electric clippers whine and chew

And soon my beard is through, this bits of me

Tumble all about the deck, and they blow free

Where I know the birds and mice will gather through

And make their nests in my lost beard, I’ve seen them

Tossed them from an old galosh I forgot in the porch

Swept the empty nests away from under pots and when

I see the sparrows in the field and know how we touched

The field mice in the cinderblocks bravely

Stealing in my garden, we are connected, all of us

To I who plant and mow and shave and live and rust

Monday, August 17, 2020

Sonnet #322

All the places I have slept are always here

In the Dreamtime, I can feel the ache of camping

And the unsettled damp of motel mattresses where

I could not quite escape the musk, also stamping

down the exposed springs of dormitory beds

my body remembers every couch and hospital

Amy body, in the Dreamtime, knows when instead

Of waking from my dreams, I stay in them all

So ask me how my back aches and my knees groan

And I will say that when I sleep all sleep remembers

The lost lovers, whose beds became so cold, the stones

Beneath my back when I napped in a park, December

Comes, and my dreaming power grows, every memory

Of mattresses stacks upon the pea of self, I wake from every

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Sonnet #321

Soon every mountain will become a carved thing

A head or pressing heroes or marching men with flags

Every face of rock is just a canvas, ready to ring

the greatness of the dead forever out of rocky slag;

Since every stone will be carved to be memorials,

naturally, the birds and insects will evolve --

they dance already on the statues in arboreal

parks, and will someday specialize where stone dissolves

into faces, and every nostril is a nest, and every strong chin

overhangs a shadow, shelters stone birds and insects

these future natives of a country all built of memory, 

will erode it, in time, where excessive breeding breeds neglect;

The storms will come, and earthquakes, too, and scatter

all these great men dead in echoless shatters

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Sonnet #320

Dog barking in the night, I know this song

But I never sing along, because I think
Of Cinderella on her throne, queen of drink
Not pretty, now, and the birds and mice along
The walls are more loyal than the servants
That resent how she came from them and they
Will never be like her, the dust of cinder that they
Leave inside her napkins and pillowcases and ants
Allowed to crawl among the crumbs left on dresses
She swears they are doing it on purpose, but they 
Swear it is just the mice and bird caresses
For her whole life she lies awake at night, pray
To keep this place in life won suddenly say nothing
Hold all the night inside your chest, keep breathing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Sonnet #319

The squirrel thirsts enough to chew upon

The thickest pomegranate rinds, to drink
The tartest, not yet sweet, the hardest sink
Of teeth gets but a drop, and throw them down
After just a few swift chews, and in these ruins
Broken ornaments and desiccation of the flesh
I harvest losses off the ground, and press
The fruit, or shake it, just to see what drew in
Where the skin was broken, all those jewels
My poor pink quartz, my gemstones of mourning
All that glittering, and that squirrel, desperate fool
Will be trapped in this place a season, hoarding
All the treasures of this fence-line, the cool
Days come; to eat the pomegranate seeds, in this burning

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Sonnet #318

They’ll remember how you make them feel

Of course. They’ll remember what they think
Happened where the feeling cleans the sink
And washes dishes in it. The feeling peels
The dust back from the fans and spins the room
The feeling moves the furniture around
To dance the shadows properly and sounds
A lot like what happened, I guess, except the boom
Of it is all the work of feeling; Since feeling is first
Who cares to argue with it? Primary sources
Always seem the most reliable even when the worst
Source is the first source, and it pours and pours
All over the palace of memory, shouting and laughing
At the end of our life, the doors close with feeling

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Sonnet #317

On my porch, a cat has taken land that was not his

A feral Tom, young and lean, has fought 
And won, and gleans his meals from drought
In my neglected flower beds—poor anoles
My green friends hunting moths in citrus shrubs
And all the singing toads of twilight in irrigation
Lines, I fear for them. This wild young son
Who likely fought his mother, wants no rub
Of human kindness: but I try to build trust
I negotiate his favor with bribery and calm
Like the chieftain before him, the black wild crust
Of my sidewalk, who rolled gracefully into my palm
Only to bite, I will try to make peace, be friends
Kingdoms rise and fall, the earth abides, without end

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Sonnet #316

To love a wild bird is to love without
that love returned for birds are scared
of us, at best, or steal what we might share
Because we love the way they fly about
The place: they sing and paint the sky
But will we sacrifice for them? We will
Put out seed perhaps, or plant a hedge they fill
We keep the pets in at the fledging time;
Do we let the bugs swell in number?
They eat the bugs -- They need them --
Do we let the dead wood stay there
and fill the grass with flowers? When
mosquito sinks her tooth we spare her?
Birds eat them. They need them. So do we?
Would you dare allow the blood to spill for free?

Monday, July 20, 2020

Sonnet #315

Indifferent to the fascist state, the wild pigs

come before the morning twilight, to eat
among the food packaging left along the street
They have no natural predators, these pigs
Perhaps a car might strike them, or a hunter
With a strong gun, or a trap, but once they gather
In the fields, there's little left around to bother
And they wander where they will. Never
do they think of order, never do they think
That buildings can be made on purpose
By beings just like them. They sniff and sink
Their jaws into the detritus, and relish those
bits of food cast out between our teeth, our drinks'
melted ice pooled. Indifferent to fascism imposed.