Tag Archives: Sonnets

“Questions”

Ambiguity_480

“Questions”

Questions mount in compliments, the third’s irrelevant:
To be or not to be, to seek the seen or unseen or not to see
at all; so, what’s a circus in a world without eternity?
Then, again, even if no one’s here still the monitor’s adamant
Unequivocal nothing has happened–so what’s the point?
And were you here beside me, would I then need sleep,
Awake but to open my mouth and sing? Would I seek another deep
Abyss within, impose a curfew on the thing or casually anoint
The latest impasse with a casual kiss? There’s a Judas in this;
His days are numbered with the dusts, the rust of wrinkled
Inevitability with excess housed in reliquaries of gold
Whence comes the latest least expected crop
Of shibboleths, coined and counted; there we’ll be atop the list
Some two branches on the tree, twin tokens found, no other sound,
And when I go you’ll miss the show, and who’ll lay me in the ground?

…art piece above by Robin Kranitzky & Kim Overstreet

“So Who’s’t Knows”

The Deluge by John Martin (1806-70). 1834.

“So Who’s’t Knows”

So who’s’t knows the end in such benign beginnings,
The coming floods that fallow flow from all that snow
And ice held hostage by the cold alone when any fool knows
That what comes down must in time admit a hit in later innings
The last whose time is preordained, the added sweater helps but winning
Nothing ‘gainst the close exchange that comes within the glow
Of this year’s logs piled high at the hearth, the comfort zone
Cannot endure another fiercer facing, just another frieze in reasoning
When all that matters now is reduced to splinters
In the opening hours of the wake of powers beyond a stream,
Beyond the hopes of wagers strung on nothing more
Than readings from the runes or yet another card pulled before
The Gipsy’s deck was shuffled or wrinkles of the winter’s
Palm were read, too little information here for dreams.

“The Café Stool”

“The Café Stool”

The café stool at the corner bus stop spins
Lukewarm as the smiles concentrate on the coffee. The counter reeks
Of vinegar and last night’s cream and stranded weeks
In tufts of cusps and smoke and maybes render standard wins

And dust bunnies in an otherwise long night’s wait. The daily turn
Put miles on both the urn and that old stool.
He’s going nowhere fast but yes, he knows the rules.
He’s been to school. He’s got a lot to say, and bile to burn

Before he bags the keys, and hits the road
For all it’s worth out there; and tell me, now, what’s

It worth? Another dime, another cup of time forever cuts
A path between the long and short, and both are simple codes

For what he means to say, “I’m here and going nowhere,
Fast, but, if you’ve found the exit, let me know, and I’ll be there.

Oh, well, and since you asked me, yes! The twisted lips,
Emaciated torso, darkest circles,
Smudges, really, orbs―a pair―and matching icicles
For breasts suggesting that they’re beyond suggesting; tips

Of fingers, possibly, or weaknesses supporting barbed wire frames,
And all this while naked, reading The New Yorker; raked, reclining, draped
Across a thing or two. A second piercing, pain, or whatever can be scraped
Together to perform the task achieves its consummate utilitarian fame

Expressed in motifs on the menu or à la mode made decorative and dative
In function, deliberately neutered as are the midnight waffles.
Yes! There’s so much that can be found in any diner or rendered awful
In some missing space or blank provided―the passive or the active

Voice required―sired, producing tired generations of sensations
To the point that what’s come in on the bus becomes the stuff of veneration.

“His Days In Office”

“His Days In Office”

His days in office draw him closer to himself;
He knows he’ll  finish what he long ago began,
And now? Well, now the dusts and sands
Sequestered in the hourglass run low, the shelf
Awaits, perhaps in this hall or on the other wall
Among the former Oval Offices eulogized
And honoured, and after all, who imagines perpetuity? No surprise
In this, and nothing to be done but heed the last election’s call.
He knows exactly what he’s  done, and he recalls
The early years when nothing hinted at the fall
Of institutions or what his fellows thought when one and all,
They outdid themselves before his very eyes. Wthal,
Their thoughts so tersely croaked upon the twigs of some fine November’s day,
Are odd reminders that values change, and curds dissolve in all that whey.

“Now Mark a Man’s Credentials”

images

“Now Mark  the Man’s Credentials”

Now mark  the man’s credentials as he speaks
To pacify the greater numbers in the act
Within the sport of words, his only ammunition, the facts
Of light within his arbitrary audience. In this he cheats
Himself  and all that is of simplicity, the one
And indivisible beyond the Sadrat’ul-Muntahá, the point
By Whom the conscious constant cursive case of time appoints
Both upper and lower worlds and effortlessly runs
Within Itself this generations’s needs
Deposited, seeds of what will be in fields, in mountains locked,
And from which, freely, fire and ice withdraws their stocks.
Creation surely finds the end in deeds.
If in the breath there is not proof enough
To others witnessed, what is it to be
Amongst us all beyond mere mortal toil or immortal fee
And foils alike, these gems are simple stones.
And it is true that all have rights to speak?
If life is worth beholding to a saint,
Thus then reckon life worth living with no complaint,
A longer extended cut along the grain
For some; a sculpted verse, splinters carved, a life
In words of fine complexion for others while the knife
And chisel complete their commission in omission, again
In elimination to capture something safe,astounds,
Contraband of observation and objects more or less
For all the world in waiting; certitude’s with us,
My friend, in likelihood a likeness have they have found
A last and least messiah blindly plucked, jury duty in the crowd.
They must, if blind duty binds, expose the cloud
Above the clods whereon he sits uncrowned
By all but his delusion, angels’ muted corkscrews and horns
 Release the cork of new and untried bottles for every eye and ear to see
And hear upon the virgin bow of a ship which no one will believe
Is reason enough for this and one fine statue placed.
Gifted verses do not make the tale.
Ananias, lo! to you I speak in verse
To forsake this prophesy live or even worse.

Once

The only way to deal with an unfair world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion. –Albert Camus

***

Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.

—Truman Capote

“My, My, So Come Now!”

masques

“My, My, So Come Now!”

My, my, so come now! We’re a busy man today.
Strange to see when, only yesterday I heard you say
You’d turned a leaf or two, induced a change
So greatly you could taste it

You’d packed her bags, and said you’d waste it,
Took a train (perhaps a plane), or took the cure
In no more likely place than tree rings, age,
Withal, sublime, and now the buffet’s on.

. . .You called my name?
You knew your time had come for sure.
You wanted me to take for granted all
Your best intentions, and forestall
. . .some rupture in the waterbed.

Was it something someone said, or were you that disturbed
With smirking, smugness, the perturbed. . . .

(They’d never think of this before
To beat you to the punch to make the score
Themselves before the world, and all that’s holy);

So you were first to burn, the burn so solely
For the good it’d bring in time for auld lang syne,
And all that’s wholly pure and good tonight.

You know, when after all is said and done,

And certain things which must be spun
Restrain the world, there’s yet time to spin
The thing, and youth’s enough to win,
(You must have sown a few yourself and let the rest be damned.)

You do know why you pressed this thing tonight,
This thing you do when fires are boiling light,
. . . come on, you fool!…
Oh come all that’s faithful in the light tonight.

You know you’re on, so leave the wrath
As exposed as stumps and what’s still in the tub, a bath
Or better in the shower. Got a better plan?
Hey mahatma; got a better thing to do than leave?

You really want to lead, and bless the soils with seed.
In an evening not unlike this night there’s yeast this affair.
You want the world to see your hair
And how you move it all and how you salt the soil,

How you shake doxologies, burn incense and holy oils
Replicating earthly cannon till the cows go home,
And once again, of course you’re all alone. . .
. . .did I say that?
. . .did you say that?  Did I say that?

“Let Me Take Those Packages”

“Let Me Take Those Packages”


Let me take those packages for you; better yet,
Let’s open them together for the pleasure
Of the moment in the momentary leisure
Of the spirit of the day. A lapis lazuli. A set
Of microscopic diamonds and a matching pair
Of pearls, perhaps. Or yet again, what flower
Speaks your mind, what rites, what planet’s power’s
Fragrance says it all? What prism’s light binds a lightning strike; what flares,
What jaded talismans; what recommends the treasures that you’ve sought?
You know, we’ll never spend it through the flight, and as the greatest diva said
One January night*, “You may have dresses in the closet, baby, but they’s lead
Will line your coffin and you can’t only wear but one!” You’re caught
Between eleisons, then, and in this world’s final fading hour,
We’ll see what we can see tonight before the wine goes sour.

*Mahalia Jackson [1911-1972] born 26 October 1911, passed away on 27 January 1972 in Chicago, Illinois but it was not until 31 January that I learned of her passing and even then by accident when someone so very casually mentioned it in a moment while I was washing dishes….having no idea just what this Voice meant to me. Some of the greatest pains I ever felt in this world were somehow made bearable at the sound of that single voice, so many hours into the the night, listening to what was for me pure joy, and always, always hope…;it was a benign idolatry that always brought peace and tolerance to whatever the darker, earlier years of my life; massive funerals were held in Chicago and New Orleans, and one Nebraska boy cried that night and said, “Thank you! God bless you for all you gave me all these years!” Until this very day, almost every day, I have made her voice a part of my day…

If you can stand it and have patience with the the exceedingly poor recording, this is Mahalia as I always knew her…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdbQm8YCybU&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O5hz5KnSdc

“Sans Setting of the Sum”

“Sans Settling of the Sum”


Sans settling of the sum, no silent night;

The cold and darkest midnight, no brightest sun
Regained upon the freshness of a morning run
From first awakenings to the duties of the light.
Sans route and paths to shorelines, fishermen
Cast no net nor fruit upon the table there
Beneath the candle and the moonbeam; no joyful stares
Of wide-eyed eager mouths to take the bread, no beds
For doting families there to cradle and caress the children;
No willing intimacy in loving parents, no hopeful news.
And yet, of course, comes danger from the sea,
The stormy petrol cries in certain seasons that must be
Harbingers of hurricane and trial, what we choose
To call the birth pains in a loving mother: nature in herself brings waste.
Her ends must come before beginnings, her gifts but ballast tossed in haste.

“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. . 

“Silversmiths”

“Silversmiths”

Silversmiths retrace the fire; sweats
In rivulets down brawny arms, twin bushes
To the chin and through the valley of the pectorals; and he pushes
Gyres in the waters;
determination defeats defect, fatigue, frets

Along the instrument mould the

shining of a gentle mind’s design,
Undone, the fist and fingers as hammers in the process
Till the thing that was not is and what little rest
In thought becomes the thing, itself, the line,
A cut above a cusp between inspiration
And its final destruction. Destination, oh! the beauty of the thing
Will guide his hands securely and the synthesis, the ring
Of something new or newer makes its run from mental registration
To obsession in the finishing and glories to polish a wondrous sign,
A medallion of conception, some fine image formed of inner space and time.