Dogslandia

Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sonnet #84

Carpentry, and construction, in general,
I find, to be a quest for tools put down
I'm sure I had them in my hand, they're around
Perhaps I will buy a second, unintentional
Or a third, and find the other two tools
In the bottom of the box. And buying new:
I'm sure there's a certain thing I need to build it true
But when I stop and look around, I feel a fool
For once again I have misplaced the thing
I just had it in my hand, and now there's dust
all over the place, maybe get more lighting
Maybe it's fallen down among the trash and rust
I probably need a different tool, if I'm understanding
If I could find that video again? It's all lost

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sonnet #83

The furniture our fathers made to last
Has mostly been relegated to back rooms
If we even keep them, maybe passed
Along from one back closet to a dorm
The furniture we show is made overseas
It is designed by a man or woman who will not
have any joining work, they'll oversee
From video screens and computers, shot
in just the way it takes to know no names
I bought a bookshelf kit from a store
So large no one bothered to offer any help
It cost less than meals I've eaten while dull, bored
The furniture our fathers made does not fit
Plus, we're tired of looking at it, repairing it.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sonnet #82

This is how a story kills a man:

Inside a story, size and strength can kill
The nervous fighter with giant hands
Arrogant, proud, where the armies lie still
Remember the story? The stone and sling?
Goliath, the giant, of a wild race of men
The shepherd boy who would be king?
It plays in the mind, like a song, often
When we look up to percieve Goliath again
A big man, trembling,  uncapable of violence
We do not know him. We only fear him
Because the stories have drawn out the fences
Of who he must be: A giant from another world.
We don't know him, his dreams, his beloved girl.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sonnet #81

"You're in the way"   said the bullet

"This is my path"     "Sorry," said the wound
"Why did you get       in my way?" "I don't
know. I was just          standing here, if you believe it"
"I don't. Now there's      all this blood. It's your
fault." "I'm sorry,"      said the wound. "I
Never meant to      hurt you." "I'm dented! My
head hurts. It's all      bent out of shape!" "Poor
You. Poor, poor you'      said the wound. "Bones
inside me cut you up. I      apologize for that, too."
"You should be sorry! I'm      ruined! I'm a stone
Now. I used to be a bullet.      I was flying through!"
"I've never flown. I am only      a little wound.
I have made such a bloody mess of things, ruined you."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sonnet #80

Let's all go on a hero's journey: Map it out

in advance, where your mentor will be
Where will you face the inner demon's pout
and whistle? When do you expect all to be
lost? Plan for a scenic location, a vacation
on a mountainside, a long walk up unburdening
all the baggage along the path, placations
symbolically selected, something old, something
new, something borrowed, a sky so blue
Look up into the mirror of the self, that deep,
deep blue, and picture all the universal truths
emanating from all the galaxies so vast that creep
Around the unbelievably empty everything
Upon arrival, tip the waiter, Go to yelp for reviewing

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sonnet #79

We have the gall to repeat this refrain: "Waste not;
Want not" as if we still believe it means a thing to us
We have three collections every week, no muss
must be permitted to accumulate, old clothes donate
to the homeless and drug recoveries. Food waste all over
and that's not the worst of it. We preach a management mantra
Of laying off and letting go and abandoning all the
people we work with, the people we know; new lovers
New friends, new makeovers, new, new, new
We only want the best employees, the best pets
Leave the failures at shelters, the ones with whom we grew
Waste not, want not? No, evaluate what you want to get
Identify who you are inside, let no one else through
Cast away every shell, abandon all houses, never fret.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sonnet #78

When the time comes to fight against my country

I suspect I won't do it. I'd gather my family --
I'd run. My loyalty to country as a community
Is not worth the blood of children; what polity
deserves the blood of wife and children?
My loyalty is to them. State agents may judge
That I had best go back and fight, but I am
A middle-aged man, never fired a gun, trudged
through no training of organized violence, 

If we wake in the dark in terrible fear,
If we tremble to stumble past force or resistance
If I must wonder if I will see them again, their stares:
What will they eat, will they be stolen in the night?
No damn, fool "country" is worth child, parent, wife.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sonnet #77

I remember when I could fit everything I own
Inside a tiny car, piled high in boxes, folded
I took the clothes out and piled them, holed up
Into crevices so I could see out windows.

My sister's house was running late her things
Were accumulated, she spread them out
House by house, a scattering of her doubts
And good intentions, love expressed by storing

A road trip then, the greatest hits of belonging,
A huge truck and a series of hellos and goodbyes
A long empty road and wind pushing prodding
A huge push of energy to empty in one try
Arrangement into new places and more arranging
And then, quiet. Phone calls. Other house emptying.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sonnet #76

Could we, should we, do it all again
The peripatetic life of wandering, gathering
I see us in our cities as rebuilt cave men
We never stop moving always moving and moving
Accumulating caravans of possessions
Redistributed all over, cast away, gifted off
Chasing the herds of others and successions
Vacationing by breaking with space, casting off
Wealth defined by the cleanness of open space
By the power wealth gives to let possessions go
Cavemen forever in our gloomy cool places
Gather into larger and larger caves, as things go
And travel always, be ready to travel, ready to move
Unsettle yourself, resettle, scatter, adapt, relove

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sonnet #75

The things we do for money are the things

we do for love; If it were just me, I'd never
Bother with a career, Just make my life better
With low-stress stuff, low-pay is fine for flings
But think about the burden on families
Think about the way they look at you at parties
Were you even invited? You're in your thirties
And they don't really want to talk, the sly
Way they try to escape because you don't do
Anything. You don't make anything, art or money
You don't have missions. If you have kids, do
They have enough to eat, or are you at least funny
Make do, Work hard, steal if you have to
Swallow the morals you're born with for money

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sonnet #74

Get higher, all settled peoples, get higher

Climb up the sides of mountains, floods are here
Push up into the hills and build dikes stronger
Than the waves to come, the sewers bear
The first creeping reach, the roads are next
And soon the lightposts fall, the bricks will drift
The tides have called a vote to annex
Rise up, not against nature, but into the shift

God promised he would never flood us out
But we never made that covenant with Him
And now, we have brought the waterspouts
Who will build our ark's? Not God, Never Him

Praying to strike the oil, for something better
For abundance, that's what summoned water.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Obligation to Link to New Novel Info

Howdy all,

Herein lies a link to a new book by me, with a beautiful cover with art from Jamie Jones and design by Christina Foltzer:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/exclusive-cover-reveal-fortress-end-time-joe-m-mcdermott/

It's coming in mid-January from Tor.com, and I am very pleased and excited to see this process move forward.

Interested reviewers are encouraged to reach out to Tor.com's marketing team about an early look.

Thanks all!


Sonnet #73

There are dinosaurs in grocery stores, unseen,

We do not know what kills us when we're buying things
We take them home, they rest in back seats, hiding
as we walk up walkways, sneaking into the scene
The edges of the scene, the corners of our eyes
They sing a little, subaudibly, but audible enough
They hunt so quietly, we do not know how tough
We have to be to protect ourselves, who lives who dies
Depends on how careful we are, bad luck floating
in the air, stalking in the shadows around corners
Around the bend, looming over us, teeth gloating
where we fail to see. Old impulses calling to warn 
And calling to be torn. The prey of death desiring
Finds death easy. Slow suicide is easy. Go to the store.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sonnet #72

Like leaves tumbling, like early falling leaves,
Like something is wrong and the leaves march
too soon, little brown and orange specks, sieve
the late summer breeze, and... Wait, Monarchs!

The butterflies are here. The beautiful ones!
They travel south in herds like fields of ghosts
Like flowers become the flesh, they fly on
Indomitable in their fragility, Fearless most
of all against the roads where wind spins
them up and over and into all the cars driving

If we only walked more, if we planted flowering things
If we only didn't rush so much in our striving
Children dance to the butterflies, joyfully reaching
Let them land on a palm, let them taste skin, then flying