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.

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?

Stalemate (Sonnet)

Two honest thinkers engage in simple discourse.
Truth be told, both hearts pitted and hollow,
though each knows that passion strikes discord
and so refrains; the civil path to follow.
Discussion states desires to be swallowed
in white and black, with nothing to distort–
no frantic fits of anger, fears, and sorrow
to sway the weaker thinker to resort.
Unfortunate, that this should be the course,
that true opinions clash with such appalling
contradiction, yet with such feeble force
that neither yields, and neither wins; Stalling.
Contempt and bitterness would be restored
if stagnant disagreements were ignored.

The Monarch and the Swallowwort (Sonnet)

Mid winter freeze, a lonely sweet perennial
rides the breeze that chills her open spiracles.
The journey long, the milkweed worth its cost to her,
she gratefully sticks out her ovipositor.
Then flies away, her eggs to wake in springtime,
to feast on this alluring purple milkweed.
She doesn’t know the secrets of the swallowwort…
This beautiful, invasive Spanish import
which poisons tiny princes upon hatching;
They eat the leaves and die a larva thrashing.
The queen, unknowing, dooms them to extinction,
powerless to make such a distinction.
How sinister! Of that black swallowwort
to masquerade as any other milkweed.

Structure (Sestina)

(Sestina – a VERY restrictive form in which the last word of each line in each stanza has to be repeated (in some form) in this exact pattern, and then all appear again in a final triplet. Also it’s supposed to be in iambic pentameter.)

Structure is the kindle for the fire
of everything that takes imagination.
You build a box, and in it, your creation
will grow and thrive, so orderly and straight,
into a mighty pretty little box.
Exactly your initial inspiration!

So why don’t we just nix the inspiration?
We’ll shred it up and set the lot on fire.
Define dimensions for the perfect box
And cut the keys to fit the locks– Imagine!
How beautiful, symmetric, clean, and straight
The masterpiece would be that you’d create.

Then why not mass-produce the fine creation?
It’s cumbersome, for each to be inspired;
To have to chop the jagged edges straight,
when all we need is big machines and fire.
So fuel the furnace, just as you imagined
An infinite conveyor belt of boxes.

Now build a fortress out of all the boxes,
to hide behind perfections we’ve created.
No longer will we need imagination.
With all of this to show, we’ll just inspire
the others to attack with cannon fire
And watch our walls remain intact and straight.

My point is this, I’ll give it to you straight:
Art is only art when it’s in boxes.
Otherwise, it’s just a fickle fire
that’s doomed to die if more is not created.
The ashes of the muse that once inspired
And nothing left to spark imagination.

So bottle up the beauty you’ve imagined,
and line it up among the rest, and straighten.
From now on, when you feel the inspiration,
Just pack it up and throw it in a box.
And don’t forget to label each creation,
In case they get disordered by the fire.

Take aim and fire straight at my creation.
Imagine, as the boxes tumble down–
if structure could replace our inspiration.

Metro Poético (Soneto)

(attempting iambic pentameter in Spanish)

Me gustaría escribir poemas
que dicen todas mis emociones
y con palabras largas y bonitas
así que suenan como canciones.

Aúnque me encanta español
Existe mucho que no sé decir,
y debo elegir los pensamientos
que no son muy difícil traducir.

Resulta en sonetos imperfectos,
con fallas, que no riman ni resaltan.
Así tendré que tratar otra vez
y aprender palabras que me faltan.

Ya todavía tengo que decir–
que ¡fue un desafío escribir!