Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sonnet #200

Bring out all the bones of princes, presidents,
and celebrities, and put them in glass boxes
Along the Washington Mall, where the residents
Can throw a quarter into a variety of jukeboxes
And dance among the ruins of who we were
Sing until the sun, the moon, until the blood
runs down the ears and quarters run dry
Remember this was once a kingdom before the flood
The waters will rise, the bones will sigh
And all the street sleepers wash to sea
Some will swim and some will sink
Where their last organized gasp of beauty
leaves so few encasements to cross the drink

A ball will drop from on high, a cheering crowd
The parades among the dead, the dream shared loud

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sonnet #199

Consider the African sand of the Sahara
How it blows across the sea and spreads
Across the sands of Mexico, all the dead
Bones of Egyptian Slaves, the salt of their
Brow, trapped in sand, swirling up above
And over, the dust of lions and ancient trees
And how the desert spreads, even now, we see
The encroaching of death, the wasteland, love
Lost in dunes, desert sand storms; the locusts
Traveled over oceans, in their swarm,
To islands across the ocean, swarm
On water, drown and eat the drowning, trust
The destiny of movement, the flood of doom
And send these drops and drabs of death, and soon

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sonnet #198

Good be not kind, though some would think it so
Consider all the brides who lost their oil
They ran late to wake the merchant and blow
their lamps back to life, upon return to native soil
The door was shut -- the heavenly host proclaimed
I know you not, though hours back there was home
I know you not, you used to be a guest and remained
all day, you thought you belonged; No one
let you have a little oil - nor helped with your mess
These good, holy heavens, locked you out to atone
For such tiny sins -- a fizzled fist of fire, late, a dusty dress

Shed tears if you like, all lost relations feel like stones
Thumb home in the dark and forget those who convicted
at their miserly feast --
                                     Prefer, instead, the kindly wicked.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sonnet #197

The bad trees are cut down, thrown into fire,
For the fruit is no good. The fig tree that fails
is cursed by the lord, withers and dies. All liars,
All thieves, all men who profit from what ails
the world, will be cut down. God will cut you down,
who grows thorns and spits thorns and bitter,
bitter words, words that harm, hate sewn
with a taste; God will cut you down. Better
be making the good fruit. However, the worst medicine
tastes sweet, I think, while the bitter purge heals
We live in a kitchen of sugar and adrenaline
The fruits are too chemical, so wash all your peels.
And what is good is not always what is sweet
What is good will hurt, bleed out, cure surfeit. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sonnet #196

First the dust swarmed off the decaying grasslands
Where heat and drought and construction
and all the ruined places will function
like a dust storm; a blistering, swelling band
of hot, hot wind pouring up from the south
with clouds behind them, a sweeping summer
storm, first dust, then fat drops, the shimmer
of a rainbow somewhere, the sudden truth:
This should be a reprieve, but it will be worse
The sun is back in minutes, the water hurts
the breathing more, now, and where the burst
should have made us cleaner, the coarse
sand sticks damp the oil is lifted up to slick
But won't wash, like little hope, it makes us sick

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sonnet #195

They fall, those little whisps of grass,
As if the tiniest of deaths is less than whisper
There are no ghosts of grass, just fire
And when it is through, new grass, seed, grass
Lean out into the field where every sliver
Of green contains the lineage of eternity
The common sea of so much gras, it's easy
To forget that every individual is peacefully
Contemplating nights and days, and every
Blade, every insignificant little husk rises
Back, look back long enough they are us
Then lean forward at the grass to be a tree
There is a narrative and spirit in every grain
There is a birth, a death; joy, striving, pain

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sonnet #194

The mountain climbers know each other by the handshake
There's a weary eye, a roughness in the palm
The smell of heaven rests upon them like a psalm
hovering at the edge of hearing, there's no quake
about their steps, a lean and narrow trajectory.
They know each other in the street and cafe
They may not speak much to each other lately
But there isn't really anything to tell a story
There was a mountain, once, it was high and proud
The climbers mapped a route, gathered supply
They put one foot after another, until the clouds
Were underfoot, until the wind was a war cry
The echo of empty peaks reverberates below
Mountain climbers meet each other and they know

Tales from a Talking Board, in which I play a small part, coming in October from WordHorde

I've got a short story coming from an anthology edited by Ross Lockhart, TALES FROM A TALKING BOARD (WordHorde 2017)

Mine is a fictional twist on a true story, from back when I was marching drum and bugle corps. I was a contrabass bugle player for the Blue Knights out of Denver, CO, in 1997, 1998, and section leader in 1999.

I don't play anymore, these days, but once upon a time, I did. I never really wrote about it. It's definitely a niche interest.

Here's a link to the whole anthology, if you're interested:

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sonnet #193

Inside every heart is a moment of silence
That is the actual beat: Without that pause
That space - that's how we measure because
the tempo is the wait between the tense

This silence, rising falling, spreading, waiting

Consider this: The world of the birds is larger
Than ours, the world of the whales is larger
For where we can only reach the wainscotting

They can breach above, below, follow tides
or winds until the whole world that is a home
is larger and wider and deeper than all of Rome
And the music that they make from where they hide

Connects all the kingdoms of the earth and we
call it silence. We call it empty skies, empty seas