Dogslandia

Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ten Birds

Mary, Queen of Sorrows, came
To see my garden green
I showed Her all the flowers where
They dropped as frost cut clean

I showed Her all the fruit that fell
Where tumbled on the grass
And trampled earth in mud will stain
The boots of all who pass

We set a tea set in the field
And served Her as She pleased
We poured sweet earth washed watery
And sliced this pie of me

A crust of mud, a crackling kiln
A dry, sandblasted pie:
Limestone-pocked the filthy seal
we cracked to ten birds fly

A pigeon for my beating heart
Red cardinal for my soul
Two grackles there for my great fears
One is grey and one is gold

House sparrow for the work I've made
A mockingbird for anger
A scrub jay blue for all lost things
Dear chickadee for laughter

The titmouse for my courage
To be tiny takes the brave
Black vulture for the meat of me
No flesh is ever saved

Ten birds' flight before the Queen
Each freedom chips at ivory
They scratched Her eyes and battered ears
And shattered statuary

We buried Mary, Holy Queen,
In a frostburned barrow
We hope someday She'll rise again
When birds return to harrow

Friday, December 8, 2017

Sonnet #223

Snow came when we weren't ready for it
That night, I called her to the porch to look
Up, where the drifting clouds shivering shook
the puffs that fell like dead clouds sifted

Children in the dark were dragged from bed
Raced into the late night air to catch a flake
In their hands, in their hair, on their tongues, awake
Smile at this miracle, cheeks rosy and red

Also red are the firetrucks, where the road ices
How many dead will slide into the walls?
How many accidents, brown-outs, and crisis
when these strange incidents sweep and fall?
Snow came, we weren't ready, but we try this
Pretend we aren't afraid for siren's call

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sonnet #222

The birds will not remember me, nor bees
nor butterflies, but that they lived better and more
will be legacy written in every shadow in the sky
When I am gone, and mud drowns all my sores
There will be living birds that sing memorials
and do not realize to whom their song adores
The honey will be sweet where flowery vials
bore the bounteous nectar and butterflies tore
chrysalises open for gardens painted on the wings
And generations of the flyers hid among these leaves
next to my door, where otherwise was nothing
lawn of grass, mowed, ignored, wilderness bereaved
Where now there is a garden because I lived here
Pilgrims fly in memory of my gardens that were

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sonnet #221

The ghosts are always here where we - Remember
their Reflections - Trace the story of
the death of those - Who bear our crass dissections
- Giants striving after giants - They
linger in the wind - Where breath calls to
the ghost of giants: a name and all their sins
For all good art is built on mis’ry - Sorrow
sings all songs - And memory of loss, a story
- That echoes far along - The music bends
to voices new - Who reinterpret painted
stones - Master  builders born anew
-Build ships from giant bones - haul dreams
Of giants, new made kings - all makers

rise to carry - their ghosts shape hopes and beams

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sonnet #220

I have been asked to take a side - I take
no sides with thee - whatever sides there are
I will prefer to take the side of trees. We make
a world of men and say we are glory and the power
But our faith demands we seek the lowest beggars
clothe the naked, heal the sick, and feed the poor:

The forest is not naked, is not sick, and blooms forever
But we beggars take until remaining is no more

I think, in faith, we must investigate what makes us poor
For if the world abundant sings, and we in poverty -
It was the treatment of  the trees that give us all we are;

The trees are never crying, never tiring, have no snobbery
The trees and blessings of the trees go to elephants and insects
Accumulated mysteries in between make bounty's architects

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sonnet #219

Walk deep into the wilderness where you are
Be it desert plain or forest hills or swimming out to sea
Where there is no sound of the roads running cars
No sounds of the rumble and bustle of we
Listen where the leaves fall and you can hear it
Where the slightest breeze whispers music
And autumn paints pictures where tree roots sit
And birds recall a world where their cries acoustic
Are all that sounds like a song, are the brooks
there babbling? Are they singing a new song?
Are the waves upon the shore roaring, are you shook?
Do not confuse these noises with peace, that's wrong
Your only peace in that place is that you can go home
Once upon a time, that was the song of the ruins of Rome.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sonnet #218

The seed pods hang like ribbons, my Esperanza:
Yellow bell flowers, clustered and many
Spent all the summer becoming this stanza
Where I pick the seed and marvel at plenty
Over the fences, and into the arroyo and up
Along the ridge, all these hopeful seed pods
Who knows how many will take? Don’t give up
It only takes one green glory rising above sod
One quiet yellow legacy from bean fingers reaching
“Spread me out! Let them be free!” So many die
So many choke or drown or bury, sleeping
Until the weather breaks and a poem rises
I see a flower bloom, in corners, and I know
These distant golden blossoms: I am he that throws

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Five Mythical Monsters From the Edges of the Map

"The season of ghouls and goblins upon us, and the monsters that show up often reflect our fear of the unknown. Across the street, my neighbors drape orange lights around tattered black clothes that stream from ghoulish skeletal masks. Pumpkins appear carved to reflect a kind of hunger that speaks to nature: We will all be devoured by the plants. The monsters in our culture that are most common, I think, involve ideas like “undeath” (which sounds like it isn’t such a bad deal if you can stomach a little murder) and afterlife entities like ghosts. Frankenstein’s monster and his bride are reconstituted dead bodies. Many of our modern monsters and monstrous frights involve the unknown, and for us, that means death.

"But in other eras and other times, the unknown meant something more than just death. The unknown began a few miles from home, at the edge of the villages where the forests became dark, or the sea might drop off into an abyss at the edge of the world. ..."
Read the rest: https://www.tor.com/2017/10/26/five-mythical-monsters-from-the-edges-of-the-map/#comments

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sonnet #217

To keep a prisoner is to be in prison
The punisher must stand down in the pain
To hear the wails and pleadings and derisions
And rest at night pretending to be sane
To keep and tell a story is to dwell on pain
Fiction demands misery and uplifting darkness
To live down in it, hold it in the brain;
Is there a monster in the waters of loch ness?
Is there a beast or is it just a murky black?
To hunt the monster is to wish for monsters
To look down at the water and see the lack
where shadows ought to swarm together

We think there is a line, but it's a story
Who is and who is not and walks in glory

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sonnet #216

When I hear the mockingbird sing, I sing to her
I mock the mockingbird, then try a new song
If I am clever, and have perturbed upon her
The mockingbird mocks my happy wrong
I don't trill enough - I don't whip or whill
I don't hit the high notes, or low notes or click
The mockingbird's voice is greater in skill
And breaks my little tune high to the quick
Say I am no songbird, no voice, but say this:
The birds will bring my song to my door
The mockingbird sees me, and offers this kiss
of music; she thinks it a taunt of the poor
The giant she humbles smiles and asks more
Sing all my music back, I want to hear it soar

Friday, October 6, 2017

Sonnet #215

When we die we rest in a little version of home
Those city dwellers combust in urns and crowds
Or pile their bones in catacombs that rattle loud
where cars drive over the underworld paving stones
Surburbanite, you will lie in a green grass plot
The form and material of your tombstone will be approved
And men will come to mow the grass, and beloved
will lie together yet in separate rooms, as lived as bought

Where I die lay no memorial stone except as trees
I will be as rooted in death as the rootless
who fall in the fields unmourned, but for me
The green of living will sing of my giving; Unless
you hold these rowdy and unnamed places holy,
You don't hold me: My Legacy, my Ghost Purposes

Thursday, September 28, 2017

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the baby shoes
never worn
for sale

and which
you were
likely selling
for real

Forgive me
They were gross
So plastic
And so chewy

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Sonnet #214

The ghosts are made of water, we just
think that they are lights, but they are
damp, a chill that cuts to bone, an aura
In the air, like a vapor of what was lost
Accumulation of the spirits means
the cloud of life collects until
the soul, crystalline and swirling sloshed,
And this is why we cry as if
a piece of soul is torn out, lost
as if a tiny piece of spirit drifts
away into the clouds, first faces crossed
to oceans crossed to gills of fish
Until the souls rise up to clouds across
the sky, our pain up there, rain spirit's kiss

Friday, September 22, 2017

Sonnet #213

Performers are not supposed to talk about the guns
That come in the night, those thousand tiny
injuries that mark the skin, just make fun
Dance for the camera, smile and be friendly
Pretend that everything is going to be all right
When the gunmen come in the dark to take
People who made the best choices out of bad, night
comes, good people lie awake in dread, wake
the artists up to help forget that they are afraid
In the same way, the keepers of guns want to forget
The twinge of guilt that hardens like a pearl laid
 black in the back of their mind, where lie regrets
How dare anyone make anyone remember the gun song
all stories sing to the gun song, who holds the gun belongs