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,
bold,
and surrounded by others,
the colors of which make practically all of the difference.

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?

On Writing

To write
defies our very nature,
the little that we’ve left to lose–
to think in dying words
that never manifest,
that echo once and suffocate
before we ever had the chance to choose them.
Solace lies in constant ambiguity,
the freedom to have never been,
and thus to feel at ease to take
the risk to think
this.
Until,
mesmerized
by life’s distraction,
finding words that perfectly
enclose and simplify it,
we define it, so there’s nothing to diffuse.

Wonder

(continuation of “On Meaning”, really)

So wonder,
with me,
if you dare,
and disregard the waning references
to small indifferences.
As if we care.

Remember phrases.
Words, we hate you,
slathered down like salt and rye…
Wonder if, and if, then why,
and is this only my
interpretation?

Slander thinkers at a loss
to write,
and worship writers
unprepared to think, and lie
about our nondescript expressions.
To hold on tight to all our misconceptions.

On Meaning

If by meaning, illustrating meant
to disconnect and
reconnect in
scattered disentanglements,
to juxtapose aesthetic senses,
lost and found inside bejumbled sentences —
And then if meaning, ever once intended,
rendered beauty thus pretended,
and to circumvent
would only serve to further muddle
meanings as of yet befuddled
by the very feelings meant to
silence those discretely comprehended —
and wile away the sentiments amended —
then I along with many words
would wander free
among the verbs,
the wailing whispers scarcely heard,
and wonder whether, if beguiled,
meaning wouldn’t soon unravel,
sentences be damned, and dying
metaphors begone, and beauty
never meant
become a thing defiled.

Diction

Poetry dost not alone
to courtly kings, nobility,
and gentlemen belong;

but lends itself to be degraded,
diction chosen like the scrap
the peasant scribbles on.

Knights and fools together, and
with teenagers enjambed. Typing
sonnet as a song;

like olden days, in summer shade,
with paper, pen, and phone– for lists
of careful words to choose from.

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.