Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Sonnet #324

 For love, I trim my beard outside,

So little hairs don’t clog and mess the sink

I use the sliding glass as mirror where I think

The neighbors cannot see me, as I hide

Without a shirt, electric clippers whine and chew

And soon my beard is through, this bits of me

Tumble all about the deck, and they blow free

Where I know the birds and mice will gather through

And make their nests in my lost beard, I’ve seen them

Tossed them from an old galosh I forgot in the porch

Swept the empty nests away from under pots and when

I see the sparrows in the field and know how we touched

The field mice in the cinderblocks bravely

Stealing in my garden, we are connected, all of us

To I who plant and mow and shave and live and rust

Monday, August 17, 2020

Sonnet #322

All the places I have slept are always here

In the Dreamtime, I can feel the ache of camping

And the unsettled damp of motel mattresses where

I could not quite escape the musk, also stamping

down the exposed springs of dormitory beds

my body remembers every couch and hospital

Amy body, in the Dreamtime, knows when instead

Of waking from my dreams, I stay in them all

So ask me how my back aches and my knees groan

And I will say that when I sleep all sleep remembers

The lost lovers, whose beds became so cold, the stones

Beneath my back when I napped in a park, December

Comes, and my dreaming power grows, every memory

Of mattresses stacks upon the pea of self, I wake from every

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Sonnet #321

Soon every mountain will become a carved thing

A head or pressing heroes or marching men with flags

Every face of rock is just a canvas, ready to ring

the greatness of the dead forever out of rocky slag;

Since every stone will be carved to be memorials,

naturally, the birds and insects will evolve --

they dance already on the statues in arboreal

parks, and will someday specialize where stone dissolves

into faces, and every nostril is a nest, and every strong chin

overhangs a shadow, shelters stone birds and insects

these future natives of a country all built of memory, 

will erode it, in time, where excessive breeding breeds neglect;

The storms will come, and earthquakes, too, and scatter

all these great men dead in echoless shatters

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Sonnet #320

Dog barking in the night, I know this song

But I never sing along, because I think
Of Cinderella on her throne, queen of drink
Not pretty, now, and the birds and mice along
The walls are more loyal than the servants
That resent how she came from them and they
Will never be like her, the dust of cinder that they
Leave inside her napkins and pillowcases and ants
Allowed to crawl among the crumbs left on dresses
She swears they are doing it on purpose, but they 
Swear it is just the mice and bird caresses
For her whole life she lies awake at night, pray
To keep this place in life won suddenly say nothing
Hold all the night inside your chest, keep breathing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Sonnet #319

The squirrel thirsts enough to chew upon

The thickest pomegranate rinds, to drink
The tartest, not yet sweet, the hardest sink
Of teeth gets but a drop, and throw them down
After just a few swift chews, and in these ruins
Broken ornaments and desiccation of the flesh
I harvest losses off the ground, and press
The fruit, or shake it, just to see what drew in
Where the skin was broken, all those jewels
My poor pink quartz, my gemstones of mourning
All that glittering, and that squirrel, desperate fool
Will be trapped in this place a season, hoarding
All the treasures of this fence-line, the cool
Days come; to eat the pomegranate seeds, in this burning

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Sonnet #318

They’ll remember how you make them feel

Of course. They’ll remember what they think
Happened where the feeling cleans the sink
And washes dishes in it. The feeling peels
The dust back from the fans and spins the room
The feeling moves the furniture around
To dance the shadows properly and sounds
A lot like what happened, I guess, except the boom
Of it is all the work of feeling; Since feeling is first
Who cares to argue with it? Primary sources
Always seem the most reliable even when the worst
Source is the first source, and it pours and pours
All over the palace of memory, shouting and laughing
At the end of our life, the doors close with feeling

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Sonnet #317

On my porch, a cat has taken land that was not his

A feral Tom, young and lean, has fought 
And won, and gleans his meals from drought
In my neglected flower beds—poor anoles
My green friends hunting moths in citrus shrubs
And all the singing toads of twilight in irrigation
Lines, I fear for them. This wild young son
Who likely fought his mother, wants no rub
Of human kindness: but I try to build trust
I negotiate his favor with bribery and calm
Like the chieftain before him, the black wild crust
Of my sidewalk, who rolled gracefully into my palm
Only to bite, I will try to make peace, be friends
Kingdoms rise and fall, the earth abides, without end