On Reading (Sonnet)

There is a point when writing’s not enough.
When quippy verses fade into a stew
of diaries relating daily triumphs,
nuisances, and other such banalities.
But wherefore would I take the time to read
those drippy ruminations of another
listless poet, deep in their own misgivings
and tired projections of losses and finalities?
Unless, of course, they’re written with precision,
and every word falls neatly into meter,
and every step of further exploration,
delights even the driest personalities.
These, I’d read a thousand times or more,
for a chance of something I didn’t catch before.

Poems like Puberty

(a crude attempt at a follow-up to “Poems like Pixels”)

Poems, like puberty
present themselves when you’re least prepared,
no pen in your hand, no pad in your ‘wear,
and the rush to acquire
such necessary items
leads only to leakage, to the loss of what’s there.

And who but a pubert or poet would care
if the sun showered sparkles all over his hair,
and his green glowing eyes shone like raindrops
under a faltering streetlamp?

It’s not as if poetry can’t be progressive,
won’t ripen with age,
or would be less expressive
if none of us ever had zits on our noses,
stuffed socks in our bras or chugged vodka in closets…

but still in a way they are peas in a pod,
feelings we store in the depths of our souls
and stories we sorta wish never were told,
emerge now to plant themselves onto our faces,
for all to observe,
whether we like it or not.

Poems like Pixels

Poems, like pixels,
all spread out and presenting a picture
despite their partial, and perhaps complete, irrelevance.

To be fixated on a particular pixel
is to be missing the picture,
mistaking a brick for the castle…
Though put together with precision and care,
it by itself is not all that is there
nor was ever intended to be a reflection
of anything particular in its full capacity.

Just a block of approximately one solid color,
shining bright,
and surrounded by others,
the colors of which make practically all of the difference.


Prickly branches, stickily soaked in sap
and little leaves; sticking out like sticks
that stick out from the ground. And such a stick
is nothing but a stick, unless beheld
by brainy and/or brawny men, in which case
not beheld as in the sense as been
bespoke before; but as in that of
banderoles and birch batons, borne
with brazen animosity in bloom;
and no concern
for branches plucked and pruned.

Heatwave (Tritina)

(Tritina – a mini Sestina)

My lids can shield the light but not the heat.
I lift them once every seven steps, and blindly
let them fall again behind my feet.

Then red, inverted shadows guide my feet
to crunch along this clearing through the heat,
for seven steps more, and a bit less blindly

but still blindly.
Trust me. Go. Move, feet.
Get outta the south if you can’t stand the heat.

For heat waves tend to be less inclined to blindly obey than feet.

Politics and Beans

Relentless evening news reports
a victory for them,
a devastating loss for all our
champions on the Hill.
She rolls her eyes and feigns annoyance,
stirs the pot of beans,
and faithfully supports her team,
and knows she always will. Unless–
Perhaps she’ll wake up in this world
and find she’s really in it,
and causes cause effects, and each
effect affects a cause,
and truth is oversimplified
and processed to a mash,
giving no one but the wisest
any pause.
But presently the beans are over-
boiling on the stove.
Immediate reaction is
required on the floor.
A devastating loss
evening up the score, and for
tonight at least, the balance is restored.

The Not-So-Dearly Departed

It was dark at dusk in downtown Denton
and damp in the ditch where the dew had not drained,
and, as dead as the dirt daubers down in the trenches,
lay Duchess Delaney of Denton’s remains.

Once white were the dresses now drenched by the grime
of the muddy recesses of Mortimer Lane,
and morbid the dirges entrenched in the minds
of the dutiful Dents, who as yet did not deign

to recover her royal remains from the road
and return her to rest where the room would not rain–
to deliver the dirty cadaver to Duke
Delaney of Denton’s unknowing disdain.

For long had she scoffed at their plights and their troubles.
Their fights were but scuffles; their furies were feigned.
Her scorn for the voices she’d forcibly muffled
had doomed her to die in the drunkard’s domain.

And so, as the tyrant lay splattered in dung,
the most decent of Dents did not stoop to restrain
from savoring the sweetness that tingled their tongues
as the dearly departed laid rest to her reign.

The Thing about Words (Triolet)

(Triolet – certain lines have to be repeated word-for-word in a specific order throughout the poem, changing only in punctuation.)

My words can say anything I want,
but the truth is that what I really think
is bleeding through. And whether or not
my words can say anything, I want
to force them to do as I feel they ought
to do. So now that I’ve set this in ink:
“My words can say anything I want
but the truth.” — is that what I really think?

Symmetric about a Wonky Axis

Our lives,
though they do at times seem tangled,
frazzled and chaotic and unmatched,
are symmetric about a wonky axis,
curving and veering and returning and nearing
and ever in order, that is,
from the current perspective.

I’m happy to live on a line like that,
weaving through other people’s lines and such.
It’s delightfully confusing and it makes me wonder,
wasn’t there a plan?
at one time? a direction, a vector of sorts?
But it’s more like a wave,
like a field of directions,
crossing and merging and
but never impacting.

Never impacting,
and I guess that’s the reason we live like this
without knowing, without planning,
without thinking.

So as I waft in this obvious direction
with no clue as to whether or where I’ll continue,
I know at least that however far away I pull from you,
I will with equal and opposite tenacity
launch back towards you, and
you to me.

And perhaps in this knowledge I can relax my fears
and follow this axis of ours
to its logical end.
Whatever that would mean within this metaphor.