Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sonnet #205

The family viewed from afar is uncertain
it reminds me of the train cars
Looking through the glass at other cars
How the jostling makes nauseas reactions
For the motion sick, how the two cars
Bounce around independent of each other
On the same tracks, and we gaze over
At the other car and it feels wrong from afar
It is hard to say if they are jumping tracks
If they are falling into each other while stumbling
Or tripping from the push upon their backs
We are not supposed to judge while witnessing
We are not supposed to judge. We don't lack
For confusions, enough, to find any failing
We like, any reason, we don't cross the crack.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sonnet #204

There is no stillness in the boats at rest
In dock, they rock to tides and winds
And out upon the water, moving, best
get the sea legs on, for standing still in
this swift boat means working harder
than if you sailed before the storm, look back
And pull the ropes and hold fast, sailor,
The man that stands in the center track
And touches nothing, helps no one, holds fast
How the hard sweat comes to him, how the slope
of waves knock hard until he falls -- he never lasts
So busy, sailor, on the deck, pick a rope
And get to knotting, find the wind, assert the will
Easier to guide the ship than to pretend it's still

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sonnet #203

I've earned this face. At first, born with it, but
I'm older now and worn it in good.
Every bag, every bone, all I shouldn't have and should
Is written in splotches, graying growths, wheel ruts
I've earned the callouses and the scars
When my body rests below the knife, the story
will be told in my healed wounds, of victory
Every ache in my joints, every late night star
I've counted at my labors, to the squint lines
Or the laughter of the crows, or the dog bites
And decaying leaves of winter's white shine
upon my chest, let it come, I will not fight
against the tides, I embrace the simple story:
I've endured all of this. I will endure more.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

what I'm working on when I'm not around

Every night begins with a story. This is how it ought to be in every house in all the world. The moon is not allowed to rise unless a story is told, to call the darkness and the dreams from behind the wind and clouds. This ought to be true all over the city in the valley, and true high up on the peaks of the mountains above the city, and in the ships of the air that anchored over the city like fat clouds, casting shadows on the rooftops. It was true on a mountaintop overlooking a canyon with an old, wide river, where an airship mountain ferrymaster named Rudolf Anaya lived with his pregnant wife, Drew Anaya, and eldest daughter, Joy Anaya. By day, he lashed the airships to a cable and ran the engine that pulled them past the worst of the winds rising up off the canyons, where airships untethered would be cast wildly about, perhaps landing in the sea, perhaps crashing on a mountain. In this mountain pass, the airships hauled up from the city below loaded with the famous moving dolls and clocks that were made in the factories of the peninsula. They returned to the city with supplies from over the mountains, from the north countries and the eastern kingdoms, food and drink and fine furniture and anything else that could be imagined from far away places. Rudolf came home slow, exhausted, but happy. He wore thick workmen’s clothes, and they were spattered in oil and coal dust, and he had to wash his hands three times before he could touch his fork. The family waited for him. After supper, it was time for young Joy to go to bed. That meant, of course, that it was time for a story.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sonnet #202

The seed never knows how deep the soil
Whether in a pot, or a rocky hill or a swamp
Whether crowded out, or drowned or stomped
Bloom where you land, they say, as if toil
to bloom means nothing, as if the work
The very hard work, of getting roots down
Of spreading leaves enough and floral crown
Is always possible, as if failure is a shirk

Put your boots on and go for a walk
Everywhere you step, you kill the young
These seeds are not to be blamed, don't talk
to me of personal responsibility with your tongue
And stride like giants in horseshoes crushing stalks
Tell those seeds the truth: We eat them young.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sonnet #201

Know our false gods by false sacrifices made
Where we hold our guns against statistical safety
And drive long distances against future dead
And sacrifice money to dress new, live greatly
And sacrifice children on the alter of place
Where some get good, clean cities to thrive
And others are told to keep a submissive face
They'll need to work hard with a smile to survive
Where butterflies die because they're inconvenient
Where trees are chopped down for delicate grasses
And neither deaths mattered, all some achievement

Of white or brown balls, men walking, throwing passes
To sacrifice coral, to sacrifice glaciers, to sacrifice
And for what? We will all die, still, in a devouring life.