Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sestina #2


“Spring is the prize of the birds that survived,” cackled grackles
The pigeons have no language like theirs, they coo and scratch
the first worms, the first seeds, the firsts of all the things fallen down
“We remember when the world was only ever spring,” say sparrows
“When every day bloomed and rained and never rested.” They sing
And give the music to the mockingbirds, who will always shout from memory


This is how the birds will know what to do, what’s in their shared memory:
(Except the clever pirate birds, the frigates and crows and rooks and grackles)
But the way to think is the repetition of thinking, so what birds sing
is what they know, and Spring, immortal, ebullient, where the scratch
comes up to breathe with full bellies after so long hollow, so many sparrow
hearts that couldn’t keep going, they fall but shared songs never go down


“Once upon a time the world was always warm and wet,” sit down,
find a perch on the rock and listen to the music of collected memory
“Once upon a time, when the world was new, and so were the sparrows
We flew in a forest as thick as an ocean, before winter, before the grackle
Before the pigeon and possum and snake and cat, where every scratch
upon the ground was a fat nut of insect or nut of the flowers, we sing, we sing


“Trees of our memory, forest eternal, we learned to sing
By calling the way wind creaked and swelled until down
came the timbers and up came the cinders and scratch
all you like upon the burned ground, then cinders’ memory
haunt us forever with the great smoke’s ash echo. ” Laughter of grackle
Who listens beside this, wisest and wiliest, forgives all that’s sparrow


“The simple foragers of this world, the tiny sparrow
amuses and confuses itself when it tries to sing,”
Life is a moment, after all, and all is a struggle for grackles
Ascribing a reason to misery is placing courage down
Fight, bite, and grapple, live each day with memory
of the survivor’s victory song, a hack laughter of scratch


And the pigeons coo and dance while they scratch
the ground to live, waddle through the herd of sparrow
bob and weave and dance to coo of all their memory
of Spring, oh, Spring! Oh, Love! Oh, Green! Oh, Sing!
The oldest dance is the dance of ecstasy, come down
beloved, and lie in this fair field… The grackles


tackle the discarded and departed in all seasons, the grackles
on the power lines when spring storms sweep hunker down
Mudwise, black-eyes, bitter warrior kings, laugh but never sing

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Sonnet #241

The absence of things is the greatness of things
The greatest war that ever was was never fought
The greatest fight that ever was was avoided
The greatest crime that ever was died in the mind that imagined it
The greatest poem ever written is a blank page
a single line moves down that page
Recreating this poem

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sonnet #242

Where is the patron saint of happiness, of things
and people never lost, of a health that blossoms
self and painless mornings and easy losses?
All our prayers to call away the sufferings
Seem to breed dependence on the Lord
As if this world of suffering is built to bleed us
Until we must cry out for grace to relieve us
And saints must help those tuggers on their cord.

Lord, grant us saints of happiness, of everyday
Get out of beds, of Morning coffee, whistled tunes,
And tousled hair late in the day, where we stay
Among the rushes, among the birdsongs, stay
Lord, grant us patron saints of all those lazy afternoons
Of peaceful copper sunsets, and brilliant early moons.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Sonnet #240

Everyone I know and love, and everything I need
Exists upon an eggshell, hung by a handshake
as light as a feather; sewn needle and thread
is some landscape cross-stitched at best, that bleeds
in mud patches and most of it is water what's left
is all weeds, a few parking lot moonscapes lean
a few cities together where we think there's hem and heft
Except a single breath could wash this eggshell clean
Of all we know of living things in all the darkness --

Bees dance to guide to flowers; we dance directions, too
But our maps are of interiors deep and warm and blessed
Let me guide you into darkness, where my darkness blooms
Let's work a dance to skylines dark and vast and yet unknown
Where eggshells upon eggshells can be reborn into our homes

Monday, April 2, 2018

Sonnet #239

Blackberries are roses. Don't let anyone forget.
Also apples and cherries are roses, the bloom
has the blush, the center familiar, the plum
is a rose, all of them showing their past

Say one is tall as a tree, or as small as a cane
Say the leaves are different, the climates
Say the histories dispute the details of the diets
And the nature of the frosts demand their changes

But, they are roses. See them bloom. The petals
blush as petals, and smell so sweet they fill a room
Every blossom is connected, though the meddle
of the men that came pretend to divvy up and fume
The details of the rosehips that they peddle --
Smell the peach upon the table, know it's bloom
is roses, all just roses: how sweets are made is settled.