Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

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:

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