Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sonnet #150

So, Golgotha wakes for us, and we must stand
Upon the hill of skulls? That's fine by me
No one ever promised peace for an eternity
Let us stand together, see the temple, see the land
Feel the stab inside of us, the powerlessness
Aye, they wanted Barnabas, the rapist, grifter, thief
They rather keep their devil than change against grief
We will all bow down to Rome, to Pilate, to Barnabas
Let the world keep their sinners among sinners
We stand on the hill, above, brace with pain
Let the world shout their misery, pretend as winners
We will hold our souls, and wash away all stains
Be gentle on Golgotha, let them dance regrets and burns
Let the hurt reveal the strength of us like keening trains

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sonnet #149

What came first, the gender or the pronoun?

When Adam had his rib removed, was there 
anything to call him until the flesh became clear?
He, alone, requires no third, no second, no sound.
Without those two, must there be a first?
What point is sense of self without another?
Is God's voice in our hearts enough for
the measurement of a pronoun? What's worse:
The idea that the self cannot exist without
Another person to bounce off of it,
Or that the self exists when nature's out
and I am in, and I am not a part of it?
And, if we accept that Eve's our rib, shout
at her, and pronouns break communion, doesn't it?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sonnet #148

Cancelled due to illness, shut the doors
Close the windows, go to bed, We're sick
and tired of all the cleaning, mopping floors
Washing dishes, trimming trees, let's stick
The laundry in the baskets for a day
Let's call the repairwoman tomorrow
Let's be sick and lie in bed and pay
our bills tomorrow, and sleep in sorrow
Let the pain wash over us, let it pass
Drink no coffee, feel the headache split
the skull, embrace the tremors, harass
each other about who must deal with it
Cancelled due to illness, invent a sickness,
Anyone will do, and hide all day in blankets

Friday, November 25, 2016

Sonnet #147

In dreams, I was an angel that flew above

the crowd, when a powerful preacher lied
to an illiterate woman, preached hate, I pried
his tongue from his mouth, and drove
the preacher away from manhood, now a dog;
Chased dogs away from the wriggling flesh,
Invisible by will, I hid it in a creche
Of a high closet, wrapped in old towels, a fog
descended on my flight of invisibility
I soared above the world all night, stealing tongues
of men who spoke of hate, voted in irritability

Say they own half the diocese, say they won
the world, once, and keep it in perpetuity.

Take away tongues; change them into dogs that run.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Sonnet #146

Let us add to the seven deadly sins:
Ungratefulness is high on the new list
For it burns a resentment that spins
The heart into a hatred behind a friendly kiss
Also, let us add call waiting, because
It is very disrespectful to hold the line
And so impersonally engineer the laws
of customer service as weaponized time
Envy and jealousy, I think, are combined
Because people confuse them, these days,
And gossiping to harm: instead, let's entwine
All three of those together. Let's say
There are deadlier sins than this, burns and kills
But every generation has new ways to harm through will

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sonnet #145

Placelessness is a country I know too well
The airport waiting areas, the bus stops, the roads
The giant interchanges where highways cajole and goad
The benches where I rest, insomniac at my hotel
The gardens are meticulous, here, pruned
Into perfect geometries of blueprint drawings
The dumpsters fill and empty by unknown beings
The blowing trash has neither origin nor wound
We are all the drifters of this walk until we die
Until then, smile, be clean, polite and quick
The staff will yawn, the manager will not lie
The locals will be color and the food will be thick
The displacement of the self is the shell
That sanitizes us into a bravado of well

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sonnet #144

The things that no one tells you about kites:
There is no skill so great it overcomes no wind,
The best time to set one up is in the twilight
When transitions come and clouds unwind
When it's up, the tail is prettier than wings
The way the bobbing, dancing tail weaves
And caresses, to angels, this is everything
Pull, release, pull, release, to climb above the eaves
The ornery places of the sky are where the angels pass
To snag one on the line like a fish of heaven
Consider carefully how to catch what comes to pass
Where would one keep the angel? A jar? A battery? Bread unleavened?
When night comes, the steady tug is how we know
The ribbon tail cuts shimmery through moonlit clouds' glow

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sonnet #143

Turn the song in the club way up way up
Until the chests vibrate with the noise
And every dancer moves without a choice
Dance or die, move or burst, throw back cups
And throw off pretentious intentions just dance
Until the beads of sweat merge into a stream
And conscious thoughts dilute into a dream
We live in this moment, throw off all postures and stances
Be animals, be vegetables, be Zen Buddhist statues
Be mineral reactions, be factions of sound
Made flesh into an army of a mass truth
About the space between the sky and ground
Conquer the self, conquer the song, conquer the you
And when the song ends, be lost and bound

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sonnet #142

We are the infrastructure, the infrastructure is we

The pipes and wires of cities spreading out
Rebuilt, remade, replaced as needed, do you see
The way we built this organism, how it shouts
A wave of sound, a character, a living energy
From far enough away, the city is an organism
We are just the workers in the cells, our liberty
Is the illusion we repeat while smeared in chrism
Of the unity of us: petroleum, coffee, beer, tv
The narrow places where our imagination is
allowed to be, never push the cities back, never free
Even in the country, we're sending energy to cities
Even in the country, we're on the grid, on the economy
The world is networked urban cells we call community

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sonnet #141

The twilight hours call me to shoes
And, never alone, the dog thrills to join
Anything we can do together, she chooses
To do with gusto, even a humble purloin
of moments strolling about aimless, at peace
We walk together, then, the moon creeps in
The purple sky descends to lamplit streets
And as the dark is falling, we keep on
Starlight, does she even see it? Does she wish?
She bounds head down sniffing grass, no stars.
She makes her marks around. I guide her leash
and set the pace so we avoid the blinding cars.
This walk, we see two world of one, two sublimities.
So close in bonds of love, but no perspectival proximity

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sonnet #140

Imagine two worlds running in two halls of creation

One, we call earth, and the other, we'll call Narnia
For lack of a better name, Well, the souls' stationed
On Earth end their term and pass to where armies of
lions massed against the white queen. The fallen 
in battle, the brave and heroic, are born again here
And after their time among the humans, the calling
of the Narnian world, they go, forever here and there
A back and forth of souls, passing through time
And myth is just the memory of other lives
And the stories that we tell are lessons of Narnia
The battles we seek are the redemption cries
Souls passing back and forth, like training for a
third world, not yet made, all the little sins grieved
clean, that we may pass this twin purgatories cleaved

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sonnet #139

What do you do when a hundred lemons ripen?
The tree is prolific, and the fruit lasts only so long
The moment, now, when patience turns to song
When months of effort, from the flowers open
to when the sunlight bursts from golden peels
And all of that soaked up energy, effort, hope
All of that reaching root and leaf expanding scope
To make a single crop, one hundred lemons, kneel
to take the bottom ones and reach to take the high,
The buckets full, the wealth is here, the bounty
Remember they don't last so long, rotting is nigh
eat many, preserve yours in salt, then call the county
To share the summer sun distilled to lemon pie,
No dragons rest upon a hoard of rotting bounty.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Exclusive Excerpt of FORTRESS AT THE END OF TIME at Barnes and Noble SF Blog

When we showed you the cover of Joe M. McDermott’s The Fortress at the End of Time, a new novel-length release from Publishing, we just knew it was going to be a great read. Since then, we’ve gotten a chance to plow through an advance copy, and our gut feelings were right on the money: this is a fantastic book, military SF quite unlike anything we’ve read before.
[source: ]

Go on over and read about half the first chapter of my next novel, coming in January 17, 2017.

Pre-Order right now:

Sonnet #138

I don't think anyone knows what actually happened

We like to analyze and talk, and talk and talk
But we were not there, and even where we walked
the streets of history, our ego renders us blindered
So much of what we sense never breaks the veil
of conscious thought, and so little of that breaks
the parchment of memory. History is written by flakes
of snow upon a plain that blow a pattern on a windowsill
The pattern is invented by the human will for sense
But we see the faces, there, we see the picture of the world
And forget that all we see is a fog of snowflakes, dispensed
By weather we can't even measure, feel a wind hurled
Memory is a story that accumulates into a history
From this mythic place we gather futures out of worries.