Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sonnet #278

The woods are a sacred place, but like all holies
The woods will take your blood, your body
It will drain you, and devour you slowly,
So remember to dress for this church, properly

Wear boots, and tuck your pants into them
Wear long sleeves, a hat, bring water, a small knife
Or, if you're really going on a pilgrimage, then
a big knife, a big axe, bring food, prepare for strife

We left these forests, once, recall, and we killed
wolves enough to scare them off, killed bears
enough to make them skittish. The trees will
welcome us home, but they will rend and tear

Where we hold each other. There will be blood,
Ticks. There will be the suffering of roots.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sonnet #277

Every sentence must be doing, being

Every thought we have must come in sentences
An actor or participant engages in a thing
We move. We seek. We scurry. We fence
ourselves, inside our minds, to moving, moving
Always doing. We think this way: get busy
living or get busy dying; as if death is a thing
requiring our participation, as if the hurry
is the sign of life; what did i do today?
What did you today? What accomplishments 
will line the walls of your obituary?
We need a new way of talking about existence
That does not demand anything of anyone
To speak without speaking, both did and undone

Monday, December 10, 2018

Fiction Coming Soon: "Tiger" in The Reckoning

"As a one-star Inspector General for the UN’s military police, I was uniquely positioned to assign myself any case that I chose, particularly after many years of hard assignments. I had chosen the matter of the mysterious Doolittle, a sort of multi-national guerrilla artist whose work I had encountered in my time amid the water riots of Bangladesh. The machines were dangerous, like wild animals."

Here in a week or two, my short story "Tiger" will be available in Michael J. DeLuca's The Reckoning 3.

Watch for it here:

This publication is eligible for awards for the year 2018, as well, so read well and adjust your ballotry accordingly.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Sonnet #276

If I am supposed to be a man, to earn
my place among the ancestor ghosts
who earned their place among the holy host
who earned their place when light was a burn
And every day was scratching and long knives
And still they found a way to love another
And still they found a way for peace to cover
All festering coals, I think I should live
a little leaner, then, and walk a little narrower
Where the barrows beckon and hard games
play hard ways until i fall down into the harrower
Let me be a man like they were, if I am to blame
myself for all my sins, allow me strength of scarecrows
To stand strong in the skyline, scare birds with no name

Monday, December 3, 2018

Sonnet #275

Before they burn in autumn sunlight, they
will feast on candlestick trees, golden yellow
as the sun where the flowers feed their fellow
firebirds, to burn without a puff of smoke, they
eat a feast of sunlight, fly to heat, burn with no clouds
Cloudless Sulphur on the wind, the beating wings
Flicker brimstone, dead oak leaves falling
And these little golden flames fly proud
About the place; to decay is to burn a little
To feel the energy being peeled to gone
And in this gentle, slow fire's spittle
New life follows seasons' longest song
Where the leaves fall, brimstone butterflies flicker
And the ruins' end comes quicker, quicker

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Sonnet #274

"We who own the wind," they say, "We own
the sky and ground. We own the wind, how it
blows through the canyons, how it screams, sit
down in a field that we own, too, and know
these men who came before you and took claim
of the water in the sea and the minerals in soil
We planted flags on moons and invented water's boil
We own the process of the boil, we own the same
things everywhere; nothing is new, nothing is not ours."
That is what they say, what they always say to us
That come after them into the canyons and valleys and fjords
That we owe them just standing. At first, we believe because
We have heard this song so much, until we shout
loud enough into their wind, and decide that no one owns us

Monday, November 26, 2018

Sonnet #273

In morning twilight, the moon shone bright beyond
the whisper clouds, a purple blue, a brightest white
I thought to snap a picture of the moon, but I
had left my phone inside the house, the moment gone
I knew, and would be broken if I went and came
again out here, beneath the orange tree; the range
of twilight colors, the shift of clouds, all changed,
the grandeur of this moment moon will never be the same

(At my mother's house, last week we scoured old albums
She said she was amazed at all the pictures with no one
in them, monuments and mountains, wasted ink, common
for now the things she wanted most were family, her children.)

The greatest meal I ever had, I think, was a glass of cool water
On a warm day in summer. Life's beauty lies in such simple affairs.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sonnet #272

The dead leaves and dirty ground will keep the roots
So leave the mess where it is found until the spring
Be patient, for until the music of the frosts unstrings
We never know what swell of song will stomp the boots
What keening winds will come, these broken ruins
Will bear the worst of all these songs to come
And leave beneath the grotesque twisted bones
The sweet of green wrapped up inside the cambium
Be gentle, be patient, leave all the leaves to blow
Allow the stalks to wilt upon the ground
Where fireflies root and salamander stow
Until the rise of sun and heat comes round
There the worms devour and there the toads:
A messiness is living when the symphony resounds!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Sonnet #271

The stone fruits in autumn are an exhaustion

I can understand: They pushed so hard
Into the light, reached every root until exertion
swelled into the bloom of life, a hundred new words

hang from every limb for weeks, and then they break
The wind blows, the dry times come, the storms
And the sun, itself, yawns apart, leans back;
What else can be done but decay a little, let the worms

among the fallen leaves, and let the leaves
we lost become the soil we eat, devouring self
And devouring those we welcome as thieves;
From the outside, we are sleeping, that's what they tell

But what no one sees is roots reaching, ever creating
The stonefruits and I look snowstorm still, roots reaching

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sonnet #270

The line between nature and man is easy
There is a trail along the ground and mowers
Come to clear the path, but tractors
Don’t travel into trees, so there, a line you see

It follows us home if we let it, where the line
could be anywhere, hidden behind a fence
In empty flower pots where anything's presence
Is allowed - spiders and ants and weeds, it's fine

Let the line fall over the night sheets, where dreams
and possibilities wrestle in the dark, wild places
kept and unkempt, a hidden shadow kingdom
where the eyes look out from darkness, faces
unknown by even us, carry this unknown seams
loosely in the daylight, be vessels for feral graces

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Sonnet #269

All the elders come together, all the young men
and women come, gather where the kings
will stand above the dais, where they ring
the new season of the lord, and we can bend

the ears of heaven with our sacrifices, our prayers
At the very top of lungs, where no king shouts
back and is heard above the din of our voices out
loud, where all the songs we sing are greater

Than all the noise of kings, the cymbals and din
of commanding voices, where no gunfire quells
the fury of the voices, we can shout the bullets down
We can shout them all down, where all is not well
And shout and sing and shout until the bells
of heaven are all that's greater, and rings the crowns

Friday, November 2, 2018

Sonnet #268

My body is here; my mind is not
I get lost on the old trails of memory
Lost in the books that I carry and that carry
Me in return, lost in the way I wish what
I could do to make things better for us
And what I want to do to make my hands
Still, my head still, to try and fulfill plans
And finish what I started: to leave no mess
When I am done. My body is here, but I
Am an energy vibrating in time’s shadow
I will never be here with you, never just lie
In the darkness, where the wood shadows
My face and we can pause together as I
Am an energy, moving and dreaming and off I go

Monday, October 29, 2018

Sonnet #267

We could take it all, someday, you understand
It is possible that man and woman mine it all
And nothing's left in the ground, and drills fall
silent and all the rock down to the lava lands
have nothing left to take -- We live in a finite world
It only feels infinite because we are far more finite
We couldn't possibly make our way among the firmament
We will birth, love, death in only corners, gather pearls
Where we may, and never know the cost of what we take
There is a limit to the soil, a limit to the oil, a limit
One day, we'll scrape it up, and that's all we'll take
Because there'll be nothing left but climate
Burning off what's left of us, the oceans boil to lakes
of fire, and the fever breaks; this place is finite.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sonnet #266

I take great pride in little things, like this:

Any time of day, any time of year, I go
into my little southern garden I know
that there will be butterflies, their whisper kiss
alighting on the flowers, there, planted
to call them down from the clouds --
the bees are always there -- I'm proud
to say they bustle in the vines and shrubs
while I refrain from laying poisons down;

The work, when I am getting to it, shove
a few words down, a few more, grown
from meat in great discomfort, grubs
gnawing and i yank and pull and throw
I know someday they'll be beautiful ones