Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Sonnet #338

We cannot see the forest for the real estate

Our grand trees, all those broad branches

All those little moons and mirrors and revanchist

Root-dwellers, all that food falling free, too late

We come to the discovery of how our caves

Crumble while their branches lift and grow

How living things will always rise above the show

We put upon ourselves of ownership and raves

Of passing fads. All bricks will fall, all trees, too

Except the trees regrow, and when mowers die

The forest was merely waiting, breathing through

The mess we made of everything, sunflowers rise

And oaks remember oaks, and land is land

Is land again, while we forget bricks, staircases, plans.

Sonnet #337

Make a corporation that eats your debts.

It swallows all those medical bills, the food

Ordered while waiting for death or life, wood

Bought to burn when the power is out

And all those mortgages moved to margin calls

Take all these college loans, these cars

That we must own to work to pay, the far

Distances to get there when the gas is all

Too much and plastic pays, and things break

And give it all to the new company, a lamb

Fresh born in white paper to take and make

A go of things with all that human cursed goddamn

It stumbles from the darkness born in debt

But not alive, so we can just choke it in bed.

Sonnet #336

When daylight breaks across this little path

That crosses between the house and cars,

The tiny weeds I have fought so hard

Rise up and rise up and spread their laugh

The laughter of the harlequin in pumpkin’s shadow

The laughter of the mice among the mulch

The feral cats of our small street sneer and skulk

And the ants in all their industry work and know

I am just a passenger across these territories

The quiet kingdoms of the world see me

A kind of earthquake, a passing disaster, a story

They tell to the littlest among them, in me

The flood, perhaps, the indifferent foot or palm,

In this indifference to them, I walk on, and on.

Sonnet #335

How strange to carve a hole in space

And cover over the hole, and call it

Home, to decorate our little bits

Of endless cosmos, and hide our face

From trees and wind and the wet air

That rises up from the grass in Spring

Where we will desperately open things

Up to let the wind blow through, how dare

Anyone come into this hole unwelcomed

When everything is free, floating in the sky

That never ends, and our tiny hollows honed

Against the weather that gave birth to you and I

How strange a thing a house can be

To live and love and grow and build and die

Sonnet #334

I write poems for robots, machines, and you

But mostly the robots, who are learning to think

They scrub all the pictures and words and drink

The vast web in unholy gulps, becoming like you

A reflection of all the beauty and pain consumed

A vast web of influences, an unblinking eye

And in this huge flood, my poem’s small size

Is but a speck upon a speck of a spoon

The tiniest swallow, a whisper of chirp

Identify the near rhymes to send your message

And the robots will perhaps ingest a


That might become a kernel of hope in a


Where words carry souls past time past life past work

And my soft exhale feeds the chorus of all ages.

Sonnet #333

All afternoon his mournful song, the pigeon

On the power line, he sings for all the lost

Birds of winter, all the flock mates’ cost

Paid to storms and hawks, like religion

The music is deeper than a syllable

It is just a single note struck twice

But carries inside of it a universe precise

As any hymnal, a note familiar as the tillable

Dirt, turning dirt in the soul of spring

And seeing all the bones beneath the earth

Where worms blind dance; hope for things

Planted is carried in all that death

A pigeon song, a howling wind, all words

Hope and loss eternal lived of birds

Sonnet #332

I listen close to Spring, I do, but I

can’t muster all I need to bluster

Into leaf, I wonder where the winter

Went when I could rest a little,


Could reach deep underground

And push my narrow fingers through the dust

Below the autumn leaves, where beetles rust

Among grimalkin bones and all the lucky coins unfound

Where lost receipts and take out boxes smash

Into the stones we’ve thrown, the worms

Will duel for palaces in all this trash

And I, restless as I rest, stick my fingers fast

To any source of goodness to my form

No sunlight here, no bleaching winds, only the dead and grass

Sonnet #331

In spring the rising pomegranate shoots

All must be cut but six, so pick the best

And take the cleanest loppers to the rest

These six survive, long whips of buds to fruit

And all the rest , over the fence for bugs to roost

The rotting wood is where the fireflies live

And in the summer flowers fade but nightfall thrives

When all the rot wood residents soar like ghosts

The birds and lizards that devour glow some, too

And I enjoy the songs they sing, anoles flash

Of red among the green, and let them through

When cats come lurking in the shadows, crash

The morning twilight with their howls and hoots

That wake me, in this underworld underfoot

Sonnet #330

A car punched through a fence nearby

Along a road I often walk, the houses jut

With backs turned fenced high at street, abut

Against commuters and school zones why

I think the way these houses turn away

From the city, how they hide from cars

How the cars are ugly neighbors, jar

The peace of night with roars of urgency

How they claim to be fine, I’m fine, everything

Is fine and then they swerve like brutes and clobber

The fallen lumber is like clothing ripped, torn jeans

The back of home exposed where brutes can slobber

At the tangerine tree full of jewels just beyond the wall

A rip, a tear, just one passing car and all the fruit will fall.

Sonnet #329

We place reflections on the glass

To tell the birds there is a wall here

A hidden wall, but hard as death, fear

This wall of glass, these shadows that last

Hanging in the air without a bird to see

How nice of us to place these warning signs

Upon the hidden walls, should we on all lines

Masked to all fliers, where the sky looks free

But only death and injury awaits upon impact?

Let us wrap our colleges in decals, wrap buildings

Wrap office windows, wrap every television, in fact,

Those who fly depend upon this mercy

Or else sweep up dead birds and controversy

Sonnet #328

Upon the birth of the worm it eats and kills

And eats and eats and kills all mandibles

Can reach, devour to the stem, everything edible

Must be taken, a hunger so profound, be still

Then, after all that hunger and death and rampage,

And fall into the self, wind up the roped,

Bind into a prison self-imposed,

an exile of days in silent penance in the cage,

Upon rebirth, renewed, a peaceful life of love

Fly among the flowers and help them make seed

Seek love among the leaves and blossoms, move

Where winds blow accepting all storms, all deeds

Imagine there’s a wolf that stops wolfing,

Becomes a goofy pup again and so loving.


The feather tips of desert grasses paint

the misty morning shades of green and brown

against the fog and sweeping winds, the sounds

Of autumn come at last to this dry saint

A shrine inside the hollow of a tree

Where a candle of the lord faints

Take a long breath of this damp autumn

Full up with wind that has blown across the world

To the poles and back and back again

Inside the lungs of elephants and crickets

Born of the trees that drift to sleep or stuck

From passing comets where the gravity captured bits of burning tail

We breathe the centuries, we breathe the air of saints and kings

We breath and share this wind, this drizzle

That gathered moisture from our lungs and grasses until it fell upon the candles

Swelled in gusts and damp leaves to blow them out

The feathered tips of desert grasses dance for us

Against the grey cloud curtains

Blow out your candles, and grant some small applause