Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sonnet #87

Dog's don't need to be told to fear the stranger
It's bred into their bones from centuries of work
Leaning at the edge of light, sniffing out for danger
Once upon a time, communities were small and dark
Everyone would know everybody, the dogs would know
When the new came in from roads, the growl
at throats, the bark and warning snaps, the show
How if worse came, the bite the snarl the howl
Geese were like this, too. They guarded Rome
They honked and bit the raiders off the walls
Our cities are so big, now. It's easier to be alone
the bigger the city is. There is no anonymity
in little towns, where all the dogs know who's who
To be alone is to fear the stranger, to think the city
after dark is full of spiders, young lions running through
It's easy to be afraid in big cities, to howl and bite
Once here, animal fear is hard to stop, make right.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sonnet #86

I turn around for a minute, and it's all so messy
What happened here? Discarded clothes and dishes
Paper in heaps and disorganized heaps. Three wishes
First, that all the insects in the wall would by fussy
About their living spaces, try to help out with the cleaning
Second, that the house, itself was a living thing that
could regenerate like flesh, a breathing insulate
And blood inside the walls, a heartbeat pulsing
to comfort me when i sleep like a womb; Third,
when the rain comes, it pours through the house
It passes through layers of soap, washes like words
passing through the air, a steamy mist that delouses
drowns the mouses, cleans the dishes, eases hard-
ness of maintaining, lounge in the steam, with your spouse

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sonnet #85

The thing no one says about growing up
Your back will hurt for sixty years, your feet
will be sore, you'll feel it when you wake up
The things demanded from the body, the concrete
Under the boots for eight long hours on the job
The way even typing long enough to live on it
Means the back and wrists will falter and dislodge
And, the less your paid, the more it hurts to do it
The more you wonder is the feeling in the morning
worth it? We're not allowed to be lazy, to call in
We're not allowed to heal our agonies, stand and wring
the muscles loose and get back to it, Work through pain
Anyone who says there's something wrong about this
Deserves to hurt, get called names: Hippie. Communist.

Sonnet #84

Carpentry, and construction, in general,
I find, to be a quest for tools put down
I'm sure I had them in my hand, they're around
Perhaps I will buy a second, unintentional
Or a third, and find the other two tools
In the bottom of the box. And buying new:
I'm sure there's a certain thing I need to build it true
But when I stop and look around, I feel a fool
For once again I have misplaced the thing
I just had it in my hand, and now there's dust
all over the place, maybe get more lighting
Maybe it's fallen down among the trash and rust
I probably need a different tool, if I'm understanding
If I could find that video again? It's all lost

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sonnet #83

The furniture our fathers made to last
Has mostly been relegated to back rooms
If we even keep them, maybe passed
Along from one back closet to a dorm
The furniture we show is made overseas
It is designed by a man or woman who will not
have any joining work, they'll oversee
From video screens and computers, shot
in just the way it takes to know no names
I bought a bookshelf kit from a store
So large no one bothered to offer any help
It cost less than meals I've eaten while dull, bored
The furniture our fathers made does not fit
Plus, we're tired of looking at it, repairing it.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sonnet #82

This is how a story kills a man:

Inside a story, size and strength can kill
The nervous fighter with giant hands
Arrogant, proud, where the armies lie still
Remember the story? The stone and sling?
Goliath, the giant, of a wild race of men
The shepherd boy who would be king?
It plays in the mind, like a song, often
When we look up to percieve Goliath again
A big man, trembling,  uncapable of violence
We do not know him. We only fear him
Because the stories have drawn out the fences
Of who he must be: A giant from another world.
We don't know him, his dreams, his beloved girl.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sonnet #81

"You're in the way"   said the bullet

"This is my path"     "Sorry," said the wound
"Why did you get       in my way?" "I don't
know. I was just          standing here, if you believe it"
"I don't. Now there's      all this blood. It's your
fault." "I'm sorry,"      said the wound. "I
Never meant to      hurt you." "I'm dented! My
head hurts. It's all      bent out of shape!" "Poor
You. Poor, poor you'      said the wound. "Bones
inside me cut you up. I      apologize for that, too."
"You should be sorry! I'm      ruined! I'm a stone
Now. I used to be a bullet.      I was flying through!"
"I've never flown. I am only      a little wound.
I have made such a bloody mess of things, ruined you."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sonnet #80

Let's all go on a hero's journey: Map it out

in advance, where your mentor will be
Where will you face the inner demon's pout
and whistle? When do you expect all to be
lost? Plan for a scenic location, a vacation
on a mountainside, a long walk up unburdening
all the baggage along the path, placations
symbolically selected, something old, something
new, something borrowed, a sky so blue
Look up into the mirror of the self, that deep,
deep blue, and picture all the universal truths
emanating from all the galaxies so vast that creep
Around the unbelievably empty everything
Upon arrival, tip the waiter, Go to yelp for reviewing

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sonnet #79

We have the gall to repeat this refrain: "Waste not;
Want not" as if we still believe it means a thing to us
We have three collections every week, no muss
must be permitted to accumulate, old clothes donate
to the homeless and drug recoveries. Food waste all over
and that's not the worst of it. We preach a management mantra
Of laying off and letting go and abandoning all the
people we work with, the people we know; new lovers
New friends, new makeovers, new, new, new
We only want the best employees, the best pets
Leave the failures at shelters, the ones with whom we grew
Waste not, want not? No, evaluate what you want to get
Identify who you are inside, let no one else through
Cast away every shell, abandon all houses, never fret.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sonnet #78

When the time comes to fight against my country

I suspect I won't do it. I'd gather my family --
I'd run. My loyalty to country as a community
Is not worth the blood of children; what polity
deserves the blood of wife and children?
My loyalty is to them. State agents may judge
That I had best go back and fight, but I am
A middle-aged man, never fired a gun, trudged
through no training of organized violence, 

If we wake in the dark in terrible fear,
If we tremble to stumble past force or resistance
If I must wonder if I will see them again, their stares:
What will they eat, will they be stolen in the night?
No damn, fool "country" is worth child, parent, wife.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sonnet #77

I remember when I could fit everything I own
Inside a tiny car, piled high in boxes, folded
I took the clothes out and piled them, holed up
Into crevices so I could see out windows.

My sister's house was running late her things
Were accumulated, she spread them out
House by house, a scattering of her doubts
And good intentions, love expressed by storing

A road trip then, the greatest hits of belonging,
A huge truck and a series of hellos and goodbyes
A long empty road and wind pushing prodding
A huge push of energy to empty in one try
Arrangement into new places and more arranging
And then, quiet. Phone calls. Other house emptying.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sonnet #76

Could we, should we, do it all again
The peripatetic life of wandering, gathering
I see us in our cities as rebuilt cave men
We never stop moving always moving and moving
Accumulating caravans of possessions
Redistributed all over, cast away, gifted off
Chasing the herds of others and successions
Vacationing by breaking with space, casting off
Wealth defined by the cleanness of open space
By the power wealth gives to let possessions go
Cavemen forever in our gloomy cool places
Gather into larger and larger caves, as things go
And travel always, be ready to travel, ready to move
Unsettle yourself, resettle, scatter, adapt, relove

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sonnet #75

The things we do for money are the things

we do for love; If it were just me, I'd never
Bother with a career, Just make my life better
With low-stress stuff, low-pay is fine for flings
But think about the burden on families
Think about the way they look at you at parties
Were you even invited? You're in your thirties
And they don't really want to talk, the sly
Way they try to escape because you don't do
Anything. You don't make anything, art or money
You don't have missions. If you have kids, do
They have enough to eat, or are you at least funny
Make do, Work hard, steal if you have to
Swallow the morals you're born with for money

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sonnet #74

Get higher, all settled peoples, get higher

Climb up the sides of mountains, floods are here
Push up into the hills and build dikes stronger
Than the waves to come, the sewers bear
The first creeping reach, the roads are next
And soon the lightposts fall, the bricks will drift
The tides have called a vote to annex
Rise up, not against nature, but into the shift

God promised he would never flood us out
But we never made that covenant with Him
And now, we have brought the waterspouts
Who will build our ark's? Not God, Never Him

Praying to strike the oil, for something better
For abundance, that's what summoned water.