Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sonnet #185

Every time I write a book, the bird
Of it takes flight from my little boat
The flood is always here, the lost word
The critical isolation of ideation by rote
Essential to the maintenance of civilization
So from this little ship I send my birds to shore
Or boat to anywhere they land, find ration
It feels greedy to call upon the rainbows for more
The unfinished things return, finding none
And curl in among the elephants and cattle
The strong fliers, the far seeing birds, leave home
They land in distant places, cry out their soul rattle
The trilling insistence that morning sun rises
No matter what floods come, no matter night's swollen surprises

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sonnet #184

There is a hole in the center of us all
A passing through of things, a gape
a place where laughter rises and falls
Where sorrow swells and hardens hate
This hole, the more we pour into this hole
The emptier this place in us becomes
It fills with emptiness, until the toll
of the hole pays in everywhere we run.

Let us go, then, to the wild places, where
the lake swells against the reeds
and the trees lean and grow to dip their
branches into the shimmering. I need
Cicada songs in high summer, birds and turtles
basking beside me, we lean back in the world

Friday, May 19, 2017

Sonnet #183

Omens foul I've seen this day, the laughing crows
Two trickster crows, nipping wings, I stopped
They sounded odd, rogue cicadas songs, I chose
to seek them out, the strange rattle, they swooped
Above the cars, saw me true and cackled

Next a dead coyote ruined on the road
The stench of meat, the bones, blood spackled
Then home in heat, the devil's goad
Drove black cats along the path beside

The dry wind whistles in dying grass,
The darkness comes, the gloom abides
The hour grows late, and still I pass

The signs of dead end roads, prayers of fear
Black angels walk the roofs, I hear them near

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sonnet #182

Play child's games and win child's prizes

What is the prize for a life lived well?
Immortality in some aether above the hell?
A brand of identity that is mostly not lies?
If we are to live this life together let us not
Pretend we have to hurt each other, or push
We don't have to stand above the rush
Or flow into the kneel of prayer and thought

Imagine what the God would do if here
Imagine life is more than one life
Imagine all known is a seashell by a pier
Us all deep inside it, all known is the knife
That cuts us free, forces of water, near
Forces of sun, sand grinding on the shell
And we have no sure way to dig out of this well

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sonnet #181

If I draw my soul out for the hungry
divide it up like unbaked dough to rise
Inside the hunger of the holy, to fill their size
If I carve my soul out for the hungry
If I walk to the silent land for the word to come
Where the birdsong is lost in the heat
And blossoms drop down unlit streets
And grass climbs over what I think of as home
And I pull these remnants up to my chin
Open my mouth and pray for rain to come
Abandon the world's yoke, where all bear sins
Abandon the words to these guttural moans
Will I be holy enough to speak again
And when I speak, return, sated deep in the bone

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Sonnet #180

I can imagine Hell, but never Heaven

When I think of death, I can picture
A nightmare that extends in structure
to unravel a soul in a comatose prison

But what of heaven? How can the dream
of peace we forget upon awaking let
us imagine an eternity of forget, forget
And would I even be who I think I am?

When I think of what a soul might be
I think of memory, the story of myself
The way I tell myself and you our histories
Forget all loves, for those are stories, shelves
full of books disintegrating, stuck together
All this dust was once the library of Alexander

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sonnet #179

If God wanted you to be rich, they say
He'd make you rich. If you were worthy of his
blessings; that's what they whisper and hiss
When they kneel upon their balconies to pray

Consider the sparrow, how she is dressed so fine
How all her food is free for the taking
Until we cut down all the trees and mowed and raking
Until our owned ground is clean and neat, we'll mine

Some distant topsoil to grow all the seeds
We'll sell them back to sparrows for their feathers
If God wanted sparrows not to meet their needs
By selling their feathers, why make the feathers
So beautiful? God's blessings skip the weeds
God's blessing bends sparrow skin to our leathers

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Sonnet #178

Not tonight, not ever, not until the stars burn out
I will not sleep until the work is done
and the work is never done by rise of sun
So I work, and push my eyes and hands to doubt
The meaning of all words, the worth of this
When all that lives and dies is just a beard
of green, a stubble growth, that time reared
And time will shave down with a glacier kiss
And everything we work so hard, and all will
All will... Please, but let me leave this mark
Let me just make a mess that's worth the still
awake of me. I can clean it tomorrow. The lark
of wakefullness was once a childhood thrill
No joy, just terror enough to attempt a melting ark

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Sonnet #177

Even when the poem kind of sucks
There's something caught between the teeth
That merited some jive and shuck
Some music, a little bass, a decent beat
Can you dance to the poem? Is there rhythm?
Is there enough of a presence there to spare
A single thought to verse? Holy chrism
of the kings is best when it's not so rare
When nothing is so walled away that divinity
Will not scatter into the weeds as well as fields
Let us all have our moment - let all serenities
of voice and soaring join for even broken wheels:
An engine that barely turns, a mud-packed vessel
That takes great effort to dig out, shovel and wrestle

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sonnet #176

I know the storm is coming but I don't
know when the storm is coming, but it will
I'm supposed to have a plan, and I will
But, right now, I have no plan. I don't
even know what direction to run when the time
to run begins. The bathroom, I guess?
All those pipes are supposed to help, guess
a direction and watch out for glass and time
will tell if I guessed right. And when it passes
The wreckage it leaves? I'll call the insurance
I'll take photographs and beg for bus passes
If there's still bus passes. Is that enough insurance
against it? If the storm is a big one, God passes
the flood down, no savings, no plan, no insurance