Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sonnet #60

The world is known through sense and wit

For wits must make the sense of worlds
When all the fragments of the real swirl
into our neurology, there's so much data to it
Most of what we must believe is true
Is part of stories about who we are
Where we are going, why it must bear
remembered ways of being, somehow new,
Tell the best of stories about the truth
Tell the most amazing stories to each other
Talk of a universal love, a vibrating tooth
at the birth of the universe, how brothers
and sisters walk in peace to go to voting booths
And seek the sacred symbols from fathers and mothers

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sonnet #59

Before there was the highway there were trains

That cut a bloody path across the continent
Conestoga wagons like ships across the plains
Trailed campfires, carcasses, and gravemark indents
Before the wagon was the precious pony ridden
Ride out into the black and naked mountains
Where before the horse was only moccasins
Naked feet, and cougar paws -- dinosaur remains
Before there were the dinosaurs, the rivers ran
Amphibious creatures crawled and jumped aground
Before the frogs and mudskippers, no man
had ever come this way before, no other sound
Drive your highways if you must to meet him
But no highway keeps the centuries -- wheels spin

Monday, August 29, 2016

Sonnet #58

The greatest mystery of pomegranates

When is the fruit come ripe for picking?
For months they hang like planets
Red and crowned and thickening, thickening
Blooms remembered, they were fairy dresses
Red for the queen, yellow for the sun
After the party, the ripeness of caresses
The swelling weight pulls branches down
Is she done? Is she ever going to be done?
Can I be so bold as to pluck a sweet fruit?
Wait until autumn, she says, my fruit will come
When my leaves give up their last refute
I know, once cracked, she's kin to fairy toads
The way the eggs all bunch, and burst at goad

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sonnet #57

Lost dogs, lost dogs, they don't know how to go on
For what's use of dogs alone upon the boulevard
Perhaps upon a time they were wolves in packs, strong
Imagine their surprise to be alone, to stand it hard

I knew a woman once so lost in debt and pain
She stepped into a sidewalk, raised a thumb and left
She said it was her calling to travel and abstain
From all the futures all her debt was built to heft

Abandoned ones, they are too heartbroken to why discern
They walk the streets and forests to return what's lost
Aged five years in five months, her skin was burned
Leave out a bowl of clean, safe water, and the cost

of it all was counted against all abandonments
Walk tough from the houses, set loose all the hounds

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sonnet #56

We will all die; before we do, let's eat
and act like we belong together at
the table in the restaurant, we seem to've sat
among a crowd of strangers, while the seat
was kept unsat upon for only us, so dine
on every morsel that arrives from the back
And drink all the wine 'til we've emptied the rack
We will all die; before we do, recline
into the moonlight, capture meanbeams, laughing
at the hideous faces that look down from on high
The squinting of stars, the clouds chafing
Wait for the sunrise at least once on a beach, sigh
waves, dance to their sigh, stay awake, baffling
all reason, together tonight, for we will all die.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sonnet #55

I imagine brains are malleable things that grow

Into whatever shape we make of them, like muscles
twist and swell if exercised, and hearts clear through
or clench, depending on how we live. We wrestle
in knots where what we do is who we are
Eventually; what we feel is the way we know.

A thousand years from now, the deer will stare
into the television screens. They took our town
The sturdy doors, the walls and fences warped
Their hooves and backs into a bent up shape
They breed to barricades, training fawns, and sharp
The preening antlers rise above the frame of ape

The boundaries we build ourselves will hold
Any brain to come behind to share our mold

Sonnet #54

...and how I suffer, Lord? You say I do
not know the meaning of the term
My belly full, my bed so soft, I go
to doctors when I'm hurt.
                                         I squirm
inside my jaw, my neurons twist, my heart
beats black and feels like void, but no
I do not suffer. It is passing, merely part
Of what we mean to make our soul Your boat
And contemplate the mysteries You make
Of what we're told to want in life
And what we're told that it will take
And how these twins are liars, laughing strife
And so, I do not think I feel much pain
It's only summer storms, some mud, wet stains

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sonnet #53

For days it rained, the dragon flower pushed
out from the vine, a swelling dress of feathers
Fire tinged the edges, red and yellow, better
watch it grow, the bloom will burst all rushed.
It only sings an evening, bursting tresses
Scenting out a perfume for the night moths
The long tongues of petal, stamen, wroth
at us for daring dragon blooms with our caresses
The fleeting beauty of the dragon, one night
It sinks and rots away and swells the egg

The mayflies come in spring and fly three nights
They spent so much of life trapped dirt and beg
To swim into the sky to chase the light
And fall a burned out husk, a shell, a peg

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sonnet #52

How strange it must be to be a citrus tree
So far from the mountains of Korea and China
Where they say the species came to be
The trees don't hold to a mecca or medina
They don't pass stories down, face east
And remember the hills, the community,
There are no immigrant stories, no beasts
That haunt their mythologies, just seeds
That know enough to grow, they grip the ground
And wherever they land, they lack familiars
The song of the flower, the roots spreading mounds
All known companions sought, unfound, no conciliars
No single prophet risen to speak of mountains
lost trees awake in orchard rows like muted islands

Monday, August 22, 2016

Sonnet #51

The Word of God is silence, can you hear it?

It is the hum of blood, a windless day, a buzz
below the threshold of the ear, because
all the movement and the heat, how we sit
on the back porch, listen as the late summer
sun that's beating down the trees and bodies
All of it's a shivering echo of a threnody
Sung when every piece of star was smaller
Than the eyes that search out for the source;
After that word spoken, what need for prophets
There are flowers in the fields, blood laughters, 
songs in twilight among all gardens, and what of it?
Can't silence also have a volume rising hoarse
these ripples of a silent shout, strain to hear it?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sonnet #50

In the morning, I look myself in the mirror,

Brush the night grime from my teeth and gums,
I lean in close enough to see my eyes clearer,
without my glasses on. As close as I come,
As blind as I am, I could smell his breath
if he had any. Feel grateful for each gray hair
I came to my graying honestly, no wealth
came to me, but my health is fine, my stare
into my own eyes reminds me I am not
dead, I am not pretty, I am an echo of the mighty
whose birthright was to stand, but I am not
mighty. I am father's face, my mother's eyes
Let me see this man I am, let me call him out
Each morning accept myself enough, a daily rout 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sonnet #49

I only have so many f***s to give,
So hurry up and gather what you may
I'm completely out, as well, of s***s to give
There's flying f***s  backordered, but they will stay
in shipment for some time. My f***s come slow,
And in the mean time, these my final f***s
On shelves, in jars, and places you well know,
fair few are left so come and gather quickly
From these, my f***s remaining; I insist
You do not linger browsing thickly
When every moment is an opportunity lost
To gather up my f***s, as many as you can stow
Make your selections of my f***s, and f***ing go

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sonnet #48

The vine is a parasite of light
It climbs across above and over all
It places weight on victims blocking sight
Carry me brother i am sore sprawled
The tendrils thicken turn and quicken
Brother I thank you now my serpent tongues
Hold fast and tight and squeeze my stalk thickens
By your aid, we are better together, our bones
Belong as one, and all the glory that I build
Is upon this giant's shoulder, by no intent
My leaves and roots do what they will
I am so thirsty, brother, until seed is spent
Stout oak, swift hackberry, proud pecan trees
Patiently waiting for the rot of limb and leaves

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sonnet #47

The first that lives forever will be not me

or you, or any one of homo sapien
We try things out in rodents, monkeys
There will be immortal capuchin
Ten thousand years from now the dog
Will pass down, in families, bleary-eyed
Forgetful creature, living in a fog
of smells familiar, memories all keyed
unto the dawn of time, no truth spun
Which memory is real, a bowl of food
A bowl of water, a field in which to run
Friends, all vaguely known, a boy that's good
Ten thousand years, or more, the rat
The dog, the monkeys and apes, the cat

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sonnet #46

I never wonder where the rain will fall

When the clouds gather, there is rain
There's space between one drop; the stain
of water on the ground will splash to all.
Of course there's space between the drops
Some places struck, some not, the mist of it
Will miss some minute specks of silt
Along the wall, but when the rain stops
It's hard to tell where one drop fell upon a wall
When the rain comes, we all get wet, all
Even with the umbrellas, galoshes, no props
will keep the cloud of spattering. Even now,
I feel the humid steam upon the windows

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sonnet #45

Because poets never sing of butchering I don't
Know the way to carve a deer safely,
Pull out its guts and organs, break the joints
I don't know how to collect the blood humanely
When the pig is slaughtered, poets don't sing
Of stuffing geese with grain and a funnel
Until the moment the liver is about to cringe
We learn of the garden in poems, of heaven and hell
The only slaughtering in Odysseus was sacrifice
How to feed blood to ghosts. The rest was war
And kingdom management, and curses and vice:
There was an orchard, though, how to plant one, for
a river runs through it, there are little hills for trees
A gentle slope, runnels for dunging and flowers for bees

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sonnet #44

The birds will eat all seeds and fruit
They will because they're hungry, there.
They eat the insects, too. Hunger suits
them, all that energy expended in a hover
We put the nets over the grapes and berries
They dive into the crevices. We hang foil
to shine at them, old CDs, for glaring
light to scare them, put up scarecrow owls...

I cannot blame them, though, their hunger
is the curse that haunts us all, and fear
will drive us all to stones. When younger
they looked to endless blue, drear
emptiness devouring, screaming needs and wants
Grown birds push back the empty sky with cantos

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sonnet #43

Water, water, everywhere, and all of it to drink
The miracles of modern science, water
Is a wonder. Turn the spigot in the sink
Clean water comes, on command, what better
miracle is there in desert plains like this
Cities dig deep wells, send long pipes
We build dams, erect industrial processes
So that water comes, and we can snipe
about the cost, if we want to, but
we must never forget we're griping
a social miracle: it could dry up
It could turn orange and rust as piping
rusts in industrial waste, clogs up like treacle,
Work together, earn these everyday miracles.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sonnet #42

I don't believe a person can be born again

The trees can. Take a clipping, dip in hormone
Place in soil, soon the roots descend
The leaves push through, the tree, reborn,
Is ready to rise above the fields anew
Anywhere new. Underground the roots
Recognize themself, mine together through
each other, rise one soul, two shoots

You cannot yet take fingers of flesh
Place them in a womb, expect new life
No false watery grave, no ceremonial mesh
No battlefield or epiphanic strife

We remain our old selves, harder, scarred;
With some survival, maybe riper for the churchyard 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sonnet #41

We do not know the ecosystems at our door

We only know the story that we see, there
Suburbia, a nice, safe place, clean yards, fear
exists here, though. The ants, the cats, the gore
of the hunt: We live in a forest, we just decide 
the trees and shrubs that pull the creatures to us
Our lost pets go wild, our poisons clear wide
swathes of niches ripe for colonization, abide
all you want picking at inches tall of grass
By night, the cats will hunt, the rats will run
The ants will build their fortresses in loosened soil
The birds pass through, the squirrels, possums,
coyotes, deer, all the marginal things will toil
Another meal from sidewalks. They come.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sonnet #40

A fledgling bird had fallen in the garden
Exhausted in the heat, uncertain wings
Ecstatic flock of grackles shouted things
Hideous encouragement for their child, then
the dog noticed, ran over barking, sniffing
She did not kill, just sniff, "What is that"
What is that?" and I pulled her back at
once, the frightened, weary, bleary fledgling
Raced into the lavender. Keep calling dogs
Away, away, keep calling dogs away, away
Rest a moment, the grackle synagogue
Will wait to lead you home when ready
They have come to help, a hundred strong
From the powerlines, shouting your salvation: Fly

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sonnet #39

We are told the key to life is simply this:
Acquire, acquire, all that you desire
When you are done, throw it in a fire
There's nothing wrong with this, I guess,
What I am saying is that I am supposed
to tell you that you are wrong to oppose
The spiritual, from we that seek to subsist
Who is to say? But are you happy with it?
If you're happy, if you're really happy
Then chase consumption, keep it
We will die someday, best die happy
For me, the weight of ownership
Is the pull to become a ghost, unhappy
An attachment to the accumulated
That's why the fire: burn, dance, abandoning

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sonnet #38

Who looked upon the bitter sand between
the rivers and said, this the place where palaces
of men will rise to scratch the cloudy places?
I think not one but many had this dream
Every brick was an imagining by one
Upon another, all dreaming together
The houses almost made, accept each other
in the shadows of what was decided, done
At night, when buildings' shadows stretch
like cemetery plots below the tombs
the shadows of what could have been come
through, just a little. The people stitch
The spirit of a town out of the ghosts
Of what was almost made and what was lost

Monday, August 8, 2016

Sonnet #37

Of course you consider your voice pedestrian
You hear it everyday, use it for everything
The same words you whisper to your librarian
Make a list under your breath, talk to children
About the chores, have you eaten, how was the day?
Of course, this voice, to you, is tedium
You know it all too well, who is to say
The way you speak can't echo down and echo deep

Here is how we work: There is no play
Where every actress doesn't think she is a fool
Putting on another woman's dress, her make-up
Playing pretend. She feels so odd. She'll be called out
and everyone will think she's a fraud.
                                                             Take up
your courage, and take the stage, anyway.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sonnet #36

What else can democratize us like chronic

pain? The ones who feel it know the truth
of tired, aching joints and loosening tooth
The fear that it will get worse, we're sick
All of us, to death, eventually, and pain
is like the string around the finger: remember
remember, the coming of bleak december
It changes our days, the way we seek friends
or deny them, ashamed to admit our fragility
For some it hardens them like knives of death
It is coming, nothing matters, stand hard, sterility.
Others say the hurt reminds us there is no wealth
No peace, nothing, but to ease the pain, and empathy.
These, the two tribes that rise for the commonwealth.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sonnet #35

A met a zen master, once, who praised
The daily chore of making dishes clean
He did this task by hand, he prayed
while he worked, to the beauty of creation
Be in that moment, where what we ate
What entered our bodies to preserve us
Now is what's left, the dirty pots, the plates
Still carry the textures, the smells, plus
there's the soap, the water hot and cold
The wonder of all those different senses
Engaged, the physical act of making clean
Wiping everything clean, all that is spent
All that is saved, all that is felt but unseen
Every sense engaged, night coming soon
Be in that moment, alone in that room.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Sonnet #34

These are all the reasons that I adore

Sunflowers: First, the plant is quick
post-frost to grow into a towering spire;
Second, the root is burly thick
It digs a mine and punches down
Veracity will rise; Third, the bloom
before it blossoms gazes following the sun
As if to build a mirror to the holiest and swoon
When it faints, complete, a weeping beauty
Seeds the shape of teardrops, surrendering
to duty; Fourth, the rotting comes, grey and sooty
Mold climbs up and through, devouring

Where roots dug low, the worms appear
the stalks remain, as cemetery spears

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sonnet #33

There's a dream that comes at night,

Where demons come to take from me
My imagination holds a feathered light
The monsters cackle, sets it free
They have new faces every time,
Last night it was a Viking God,
A twisted mask of wood and bone
Sometimes they're bears, feral, broad
Other times, they're birds of pecked fruit
But always slipping out with something
Cackling, gloating, dancing, endless hoots
When I wake, I recall only theft, not the thing.
What is stolen? I don't know - as if it's never 
real, a hole in hope, a dreamscape of a sever.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sonnet #32

We used to write for pleasure, then for glory
We wrote to live forever as achitecure inspires;
As generals and warrior kings only live inside a story
And the poet's name will sing above the hearthfire.

We used to write for money, too, in fact
The little slips of paper in the post
The clear demarcabfuscation via contracts
A little check for beer or baby clothes

We wrote these letters to history and time
We wrote to speak the god inside of all
We wrote all sins to heal them in a rhyme
To rebuild what was possible from falls

Foolish we, for robots hunt as firebirds
Malware, spyware, spiders eat our words

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sonnet #31

Someday I hope to be the man my dog
Believes that I am. The way she looks
At me is what a pilgrim sees in fog
Around a priestly vestment. I took
her from a place where she had friends
She never minded, though; we are blood tribe
A dog will die for a man, a dog will stand
Upon his grave and wait for him to rise

The cat, instead, reminds us we are not
The person that our dog will always see
The cat meows incessantly to spot
The peasant in a giant's skin and feet.

I hope to be the man my dog believes
I also think the cat is true to me.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sonnet #30

Spider, spider, trapped in my tub,
I do not know what dropped you here,
Where your nimble limbs can't lift you up
The porcelain too smooth, I fear.
In general terms, I do not hate your kind
I value all that lives and eats of vermin
But, the stripes upon your back incline
Me to suspect you're full of poison
I wish we had not met like this
Out in a field, I'd watch you hunt
I'd cheer you on, but here it is
A broom, allow me to be blunt,
A monster in the field is cheered along
Monsters in my bathtub do not live long.