Category Archives: Double Sonnet

“I Withdraw”

“I Withdraw”

I withdraw so easily, or waking, dreamed
So soon as laboured in the day ill-advised
Through doors whether in or out with nothing analysed,
Nothing ostracised, nothing blind. Early minutes’ quiet gleaned
From what I see, Rorschach patterns reckoned ends bit off before
The deeds were quite done. Salutations to the daylight in the darkness
Knowing light my only threat. I sought no rest
But simply waved my rights before I’d hit the bathroom door.
Another matin ritual and by the time I see the streets
My spirits rise to the anthem of inversion, papers purchased and there
When no one hears me enter (no one saw me leave;  no one’s left
Who remembers where I stood before the fall–the cleft
Between the morning after and the afternoon before–the air,
The pavement, strokes of something like a sidewalk drawing, noted.
I’ve arrived in time to beat the elect but somehow never voted.)

“The Greatest Sanctuary”

“The Greatest Sanctuary”

The greatest sanctuary saves, preserves, and seals
The last and latest treasure; final fears are entertained
And in the end repeat themselves penultimate in any age
That’s spent with nothing left to say. The morass of months reveal
Themselves as names, the briefer moments cast in isinglass,
And hung above the door as witness to emotions borrowed to defend
The journey of both giver and what it is that’s given–split ends
That pass at times for purity of desire. Consternation, then, at last
Effaced, those few peas remaining within the pod will spend
Themselves while outward bound to what is after all a dream
Or merely someone’s lunch. They groom together–the sheen
Is frayed–delay is shame when every effort to confirm or to renew offends.
Reconnoitred, what were formerly evergreens
disclose themselves as deciduous devotions
That decry their former riverbeds as puddles, watersheds of desiccated oceans
And long dead seas. . 

“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”

“Bethlehem’s Hours’ Mourn”

Bethlehem’s hour’s mourned, furtive glances northward toward Nazareth;
Veiled her expectations as soon enough her promised Son survives.
She knows that somewhere in between this king contrives
Within himself to build a wall. He practices precision; he does not guess.
He knows exactly what he wants, and from the East come
Three who only recently made queries round the campfires
‘Neath the skies beyond the Jordan. Casually they’ve inquired,
“What are these walls, and what the genesis of guns
And orchards plaited all along the shepherds’ run? Whose images are these,
And what is it they disguise, the vulgate for the people?”
Yes, they come, these three, adrift once again stalled between the steeples,
Barred, forbidden. Then again, their passage isn’t what it used to be.
They ask in vain and find the answers come as no surprise.
The king’s awake tonight; he’ll not fool the wise this time.

“She’s the Cello”

A cello

“She’s the Cello”

She’s the cello in his night that marks the path
With leaves and herbs as punctuation marks
To separate reality from the general twist of simple arts
Within the episode from drinks at intermission Do the math
And wonder at the not-so-subtle quest of youth for rich
And varied situations.  On the face of it, slightly crossed,
Declined, and conjugated, interests tossed
From the stove to the table as his pebbles lightly pitched
Must dance across but shallow streams and brooks,
From here to there in yards or feet apart,
A feat that grants the pitcher lighter goals, an arc
For future muses. wonder-lust, misplaced in space. The books
From memory alone will entertain his pen a pace,
Awash with sundry oils and detail now
Arresting generous portions of his brow,
Attracted and content, a troubling frieze,
The peas with carrots, onions chopped to close
Within the future fry, not one but two with herbs allied,
Exposed for what they may now achieve at once placed as rhymes
To eloquence in elements combined to test the palate; cloves’
Oppressions no doubt forced at length albeit spare with salt declined
“In case!…” and the voice of Julia to meet her recipe’s demands.
And as the carbon to the diamond, brine
Is changed to water, water thence to wine,
And all within its wedding’s blessing, or at least a pause,
For heaven’s sake or any other flash or flame or flaw,
And never mind the former chicken’s’bold bathetic crimes,
And as she cooks, yes! even as she cooks to him polite laconic glances tossed
As into boiling pots and frying pans as all his thoughts and cares are lost.

susanne_clark_musical_painting_series

…a revision of the poem…”Swept Aside”

…a revision of the poem…

“Swept Aside”

Swept aside, all moments and celestial mementos collide
And waste no never-mind on credence and retention
In the wake of greater cosmic rinds and supine celestial reflection.
Mortality by definition lies; not so through what histories imply
But in the daily interaction of missives from the Goal
And penultimate ilunga * of the Source or
Sanctions of interaction in the triumphant triad of the coarsest
Ores of time, of space, and all that matters. Time, the cosmic linen folds
Of space and active order; space, the theatre of experience at the heart
Of the observer; matter, but an audience, a phenomena in passive
Active shadows of Creation and its nemesis. Simplicity is massive,
Complexity but a word; a question’s languages are art
And science while the answers form the pathos and the abstract.
What is more pathetic than to be and yet be nothing in the act?
Simplicity in the classic form requires
The prefects of a perfect vacuum
Combined in such a way as compliments the acumen
Of a strident meme, the jealous zeitgeist, tests that to the whole inspire
An urgent need to pause, to linger over bodies no longer really there,
A little more than a half a generation’s substance in a given time.
So granted this, so beautifully and tragically resigned,
Aloud comes the elegies of episodes to “Move along!”or “Retire!”
With such a cry inscribed, there was and always is
A here and there in rapid profit worshipped, fierce
As gallstones of desperation: “This, our chosen age, rehearsed
Upon a cross of memories little more than lyrics of an ancient tryst!”
And, equally, the many crowned and catalogued, remain aloof
Through symmetries of perfection in a sacred dynasty of embroidered truth.

*The word is ilunga, from the Bantu language of Tshiluba, and means a person ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.

When there is this, that is.
With the arising of this, that arises.
When this is not, neither is that.
With the cessation of this, that ceases.

His Holiness The Buddha

“They Await”

“They Await”

They await some helpful word and know the news
Their fear falls short of what it is they want to hear;
Days’ delays, too much backlog must disappear
Before the silence and its echo can renew
The striking of the bell within this people. Still
It falls within the natural healing that smatterings
Of longing, waiting, hoping in and of itself brings
Spasms of a healing psalm to the many, and for the few no chill
Will touch the man who holds the triumph of the will to heart,
A movement, distant, upward, outward toward
The next plateau, a freshly minted meme within a percolating promise, forward
Always–never moving yet never still–magnificently arched and carved.
As with a steaming rainbow, himself the crown to every several cloud
While he succumbs to resignation and relief that only ignorance allows.

“She Replied”

“She Replied”

She replied, “I wonder sometimes about that last breath,
will it pain? Will it bring peace? or will we be unaware?
I do wonder.” Her thoughts incorporate a stare,
A swelling vision of what must come of what is left
Of time amongst a thousand nursery rhythms, inadvertent theft
In recitation of “Now I lay me down to sleep,” a certain flare
From the bridge that binds its victim
Alone to any other soul, bereft
Of substance, comfortless in wrenching prolixity
Of what to the emperor were too many notes;
To posterity a masterpiece in some historical
Reference made in passing at the lectern–a rhetorical
Question perhaps on a Wednesday afternoon–an entity
That has no purpose, expecting no answer to what she wrote.
Of course I wrote a thousand words in recompense
To that dark lady scattered through legions
Of tomes of literary justice far below what Dickens
Might have hoped were words of solace for the whitest chickens
There beside that ridiculous wheelbarrow on which Williams rent
Himself in twain to measure a leased infallibility in season within reason.

“A Simple Chemistry”

“A Simple Chemistry”

A simple chemistry, the day, the night,
And what of course is never meant to be;
But still the hope is there, the simile
That never quite transforms a noun nor quite
Contents itself in action, so never mind a verb.
But, then what a change of heart is there.
Reaction taut, willingness, a kind of gas, an air
Of great and greater expectations that serves
No more than casual attention yet is so deadly. No, of course,
It cannot come to this. But, yes, eventually it does.
And with the cat’s release, it must.
The thing is there to see, to feel, to taste. The horse
Before the cart, perhaps, but nonetheless, a paradigm of waste,
And with each fine turning of the wheel the love of wanton haste.

“Plans; the Summer Vapours”

“Plans; the Summer Vapours”

Plans; the summer vapours through livings while they last
And wonders of a sudden clime where suns beat furiously through
The year and winters never come. They share eternities and views
Of strife that feed on life, or then again, the days become the year, the past
Is yesterday buried in deposits, today, in streams of sweat and constant growth.
He’ll never know, of course, because his choice prefers the seasons
To the season and the many to single lives they breed. His sanity his reason
Tempered only by the change of venue, moods by grace bestowed,
And whom he’ll know for just a little while. Loneliness; no.
Alone, but, yes, of course, and is there any better company
Than what just came strolling down the lane or some symphony
That’s never finished, what was heard but moments in the rain? The “lo!”
The turning of a page and there scribbled in the margin
The word, the phrase that spoke but once is missing in the bargain.
And once again, the rocking chair is carelessly placed
There beside the balcony rail along with some makeshift table,
Discarded relics from a marriage vow, so worn, so outcast yet so able
To the task and uses of a former front page story from a case
Of misplaced destiny and that last unbroken glass. I stir the brew with ease,
The instrument an orphan from the spoons
she used in warm Nebraska noons and jars
Let years ago to contemplate the morning
beneath the clothesline by my mother’s hand:
A bag or two, the backyard sun, and some few hours to see
Three gallons full of topaz in the fridge; scars,
Perhaps, or something dear, a badge of honour
In the meaning; I was of one of hers. She’s gone the distance so much farther
While the mighty Platte’s gone shallow, but magic brews within my hardened
Heart’s plucked tranquilities in hyacinths of memory and thinking deeply on her
Comes as simple as lemon laced with sugar in the brew, and afternoons in amber.

A word of caution…when I was still living at home with Mom and Dad, there was nothing quite like the sun tea my mother made; it was always perfect, it was always fresh because she made it every day in a two or three-gallon jar with two teabags left in the sun for several hours. Delicious as it was (and probably still is) it has been learned of late that it is not a good idea to let the sun do the trick on the tea; it sits there at just the right temperature to allow the nurturing of bacteria in the water and the tea leaves normally eliminated by the longer but more healthy boiling of the water to make the tea. I was surprised to learn this; yes, well, obviously I escaped from my parents kitchen (or backyard where she left the sun tea to brew) and am still alive to tell the tale. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember ever hearing of anyone getting sick in my hometown or in my state from what they caught from drinking sun tea, and of course, my mother would never have served me anything that would harm me….but of course, there was always my Aunt Lillian’s fried chicken…and Mary Kitchen hash….by the case….