Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sonnet #29

Last night I heard the toads again, their song
Like tiny bells of darkness, little birds
That lost their wings but did no wrong
They clamber out to sing one true word

All feathers lost, all flight abandoned
Such tiny souls, such hopeful ones
Creep where no one sees the saddened
The moonlight's blind reflecting sun

The damp, the mud, the hop that falters
Never flying higher than safe landings
All my little ones, live here, take shelter
Where the water's deep enough for standing

The tininess of beauty, crawling from the muck
The little, lonely tadpoles dreaming luck

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sonnet #28

Butterflies know the scent of one species
Pipevine Swallowtail seeks the Dutchman's Pipe
Bassooning bloom and heart-shaped leaves
That scraggling, scrambling, climb to sky
To love is more than just another's touch
It's also where the eggs will stick and grow
There is no love without a world too much
for eyes and hands and feet to touch and know
Why do we stand exactly where we stand?
Why do we choose a secret place for kissing?
It takes a village to raise a child, woman and man
are not enough. It takes a sense of  destiny
a scene, a story, vistas. Butterflies know love
Includes a vine, flowers, sunlight to move

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sonnet #27

However much we love to talk of history

It is a mythical irrelevance to birds and trees
What memory in wood rings tell the story
Of growth or not, and birdsongs' creed
Is not to build the blocks of time but stand
and be still on a moving branch, blustering
Where none may know their silent end
And before it comes, all songs mustering
All flowers, all blooms, all seeds hurled to ground
What use history when it can not tell the tale
Of where the eels go up the river, down
Why the salmon remember, leap and fail
When our cameras turns to sky and see the starlight
A trillion suns, all glittering down upon our fights

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sonnet #26

We speak of death in the bones of a man

But I think of death as a fungal thing
I know my age in my joints in the morning
I feel it in my back, the rot and ruin
The soil of me feels death bloom
Tendril pathways snaking mycorrhizal
Stretch and drink water, read the Bible
In the crevices of bones the creaking swoon

Lie down in the field and look to the cloud
My hair will stretch and fall into the earth
I carry the colony, I am their shroud
They are my body I carry them forth
And when they are hungry they crowd
Into my gaps to transform my rebirth

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sonnet #25

So, who fertilizes forests? Forests.

The leaves fall, rot - short-lived flowers bloom
make seed and die and creatures live entombed
with all they leave behind. Trees fall to rest.
The death becomes the home for life
Who fertilizes forests? No one
Comes with tractor parts, no one
making rows, pulling weeds, killing  mice
It all becomes the forest with no one's  hand
No one plucks the flowers, no one pulls the weeds
No one bothers raking up the mass of fallen leaves
No one has such a beautiful master plan
Who mows the grass? Who weeds this place?
No one leaves more beauty than another can replace

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sonnet #24

Come out, come out, and stand with me in twilight
Look to the south and to the east and to the storm
Witness the way the setting sun paints delights
With a dirty, heatblast sky all humid warm
The stillness of the air we feel, the weight
Everything waits and braces, then like banshees
The vanguard wind whoosh harsh, berates
The dry dust slaps the face, the leaves of trees
This is the wind of change to anger and pain
Stand with me as long as you can stand here
Where the trees flicker and the clouds shout rain
The crack pop and fizzle and electric groans
Come out and stand with me, in the sunset and storms

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sonnet #23

Upon the tile, in dust, it caught my eye
I held the tiny mace aloft, and thought no worse
Then I knew a rodent's paw mold and dry
I flinched and felt what did not strike me first
A dessicated vegetable, a forlorn branch
Another mystery of homes with dogs and cats
But, no, a rodent's paw, no wishes grant
Except the mysteries: a mouse? a rat?
How long it had been there I do not know
It was just another muddy twig upon the floor
Where's the rest of the creature? The dog would know
This is horror, this fear, I feel at gore:
I can't stop thinking is a mouse inside a wall
It's wiggling tail, lost limb, a blood trail crawl

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sonnet #22

Digging up the weeds below the water spout I found

A single relic of a former gardener's memories
A piece of trash, to me, because the plant was drowned
A metal sign of chocolate mint that long ago dies
Everything will die, and when they do, the signs
We keep will be the Anthropocene bones
Metal, plastic, stone, and etched with names
Of planted, died, dissolved into the stones
A memory of chocolate mint, lettering stained
With memories of water - rust - twisted up, interred
The bent and ruined sign was barely legible
Poor gardeners call their signage cemetery markers
I prefer to think of them as Ozymandian heads
Once there was a garden here, a gardener, flower beds

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sonnet #21

A Tribe is just another word for story
These metaphors and allegories wrap
Around a common sense of place and glory
We pick the signs and boundaries that strap
The histories, become the players' rosters
We follow how the story says to map
We talk the way our heroes speak to monsters
We dream in terms defined by what we think
Of what is possible for players on this team
We never lose the uniforms, we drink the drinks
We laugh and cheer and dance with what it seems
Our story's just another word for finding glory
A tribe is just another word for finding glory

Friday, July 22, 2016

Sonnet #20

If life is just a dream and we the dreamers
Then butterflies are souls and frogs are bards
And any moment we could find these sleepers
Transformed into a chorus for a God

If life is just a breath and we the breathers
Then nothing but the breath will last of us
A spirit wind, an energy, a whisper sliver
Of all we pushed and changed against all cusps

If life is just a night awaiting morning
Then find me sleeping late and lost to dreams
I prefer to be dancing than mourning
The moonlight's loss to daylight's scorching beams.

If matter dictates matter, and all directions
Then I will be unimpressed with dull creation.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sonnet #19

Everybody wants to change the world
I'm just happy if I change a single day
For someone else, who feels the fray
Where the black sirens burn a knurl
A single smile is better than a thousand
Raucous cheers, shouting single names
I'd prefer to be no one, Here's the game,
Quietly, bring peace to just one man
Quietly, a hand over hand, a lift, a chair
A stoplight politeness, a tree fresh fig
An unexpected gift in the mail, a glare
When a child is doing wrong, a wig
Allowed to be real hair, Just be there
When the phone rings. That's the jig.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sonnet #18

When I think of Texas, all I see are highways
Interchanges, bridges from the sky from vein to vein
to wide lanes, six, eight or even twelve lanes
Cars and trucks brimming with empty space
So much space for each person in their car
Alone. Drive-through corporations pawn shops
Gas stations in neon colors, strip malls, rest stops
Texas is a highway, don't stop, drive far
People don't think anything of crossing town a day
Or driving over cities to get a specific dinner
The parking lots are vast and hot, the causeway
vast and hot, the sun like a city skinner
The air so vast and hot, the junk we throw away
The blowing trash; the deer and bird trails thinner

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sonnet #17

And this is how to make a loaf of bread
Begin with patience, time, an oven, flour
Water, salt, and yeast. A sturdy bowl, to knead
Put everything together bit by bit, hour by hour
Begin with just a little flour, water yeast, to rise
They call this Biga, feed it when it's foamed
Add a little bit of everything until you find
The dough is rich and thick and grown
It should feel like clay that won't let go.
Let it rest. Read a book. Write a poem.
Punch it down, the hot oven, the stone
Write another poem, leave the oven alone
When it's done, it will sound hollow with a tap
Like a cabinet sounds, wait half an hour to unwrap

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sonnet #16

I never talk about the work; I do it
Make the work, make the art, hold it tight
Inside my head so that I have no outlet
but to make the work; I do it

I do not draw the plans; I plant them
I see where each might go in light and shade
I take my time to find where flowers made
The plans are in the soil; I plant them

The king of all the sparrows knows far better
What to give the birds for meat and drink
The mountains have no gardener, but are sweeter
And more beautiful than anything we make

Trust the glaciers; trust the slowly rolling ice
Trust the geologic destiny and tides

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sonnet #15

They say an olive tree can live a thousand years -

The pears, down here, if fireblight hardy, live
at least a thousand, too. There's oaks that shrive
for centuries, and mesquites with roots like spears
into the earth. The trees we plant in yards
last longer than the houses underneath
When the buildings go, the roses wreathe
The hedges grow into each other's disregard
The roots push hard, the concrete fails
The wasps and sparrows linger in the rafters
It was always their house. Always smaller
creatures - insects, snakes - their tiny squalors, 
We just made a mess before and after

The Anthropologists seek pioneers' ruins
From the sky, searching pear trees in horizons

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sonnet #14

We never speak about the things that make us real:
The diadems of dreams, the wind through hair
at night when we wake from a dream falling fear
Confusion in the dark, the empty night feel
The dread of what we do not know that steals
And our consciousness is centered in the tear
Our knots, obsidian stones, a boiling prayer
Hope when it comes like a catherine wheel
Hope when it leaps in the dark like a child
pick me up pick me up i want to be held
Hope sucking stuck minerally molasses kiss
Hope please not now, please not for a while
Hope let love come from the gods of the field
We never speak about this, never ever speak this

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sonnet #13

Beware the swell and churlish slur of State

The patriotic person pumping oil 
And fracking gas and broken dinner plates
And medicating sorrow preaching toil
toil and suffer and toil toil and suffer
someday to acquire the money to retire
Never look anywhere but towards the future
Where the past must be rebuilt, it was better
Back then, remember? Let's build it again
The sins of yesterday are the soil of tomorrow
The oyster cracks for the hard working men
The pearl, elusive, lost in the sturm and row
Never live for today, only yesterday and tomorrow
Never be happy today, only yesterday and tomorrow

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sonnet #12

The cage, the towel, the tranquilizer dart

The scalpel, the vaccinations, and release
For the feral creatures it must be a start
To the civilizing influence of of peace
By civilizing, of course, I mean of violence
The will pushed over will, the surgical scar
The anger comes with futures pushed silent
All that is desired gets sealed into a jar
Cast into a basket, bask in it like caskets
Cats, dogs, and accidents gone violent
The child is lost; the anger is ecstatic
It carries through the warning of tales of giants
The community remembers, the fear is inscribed
In quiet songs that bind them into tribes

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sonnet #11

They say he died for our sins but everyone dies
When bullets and nails and rope and rogue cells come
The measure is not what death and what price
There is always a price, always a lake and a millstone

He was only a man, what miracle was great enough?
A few people suffered less, that's not nothing, but
the suffering of trillions in time, hurt raw and rough
Give me the miracle that ends all pain and debt

They say it's coming, that miraculous day of peace
a marble dropped into a sea, a rippling wave
I say fly away, pretty bird, fly away, find the place
Where the juniper grows through storms, be brave

Fly away, pretty bird, fly away where sunlight sings
Fly away, pretty bird, fly away, where find your rising

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sonnet #10

We do not own a thing we think we own

The house belongs to them that tax them
They could eminent domain away a home
The cars belong to parking lots and tow men
The clothes upon our backs will crumble
They will not last, and even then belong to others
It is for clothes to spare the sight of stumble
bumble rumble flesh, to spare the children's cares
We do not own our phones, they are contracted
Our computers drm update by update
Our precious detritus, our bric-a-brac 
Jourmeys shelves to boxes, Goodwill crates
We own the grasping after things, alone
The will to take until we become the stone

Monday, July 11, 2016

sonnet #9

Remember when the puppy woke me up
It's late, so groggy, where did I put glasses
Stumbling, then, to where she had thrown up
She was afraid that I would be mad, but I assisted

She needed a bath. It was all over her paws and face
She didn't realize, soon enough, we weren't playing
She reached for the paper towel, longed to race
Me to the trash, play keep away, embrace me

Once in the bath, I checked the time, 3 o'clock
I wasn't mad. How could I be mad?
She was so young. She splashed and barked
I washed my hands, made coffee, while she dreamed

This is what it's like for ancestor ghosts
We sing for them to help then forget it all, mostly

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sonnet #8

Connect the towns by walking paths in case
the cars all break at once, or bikes
are hip, or horses race without a trace
perhaps, or buses stolen, or the like.

Connect the towns by walking paths just so
the animals can walk it in the dark
the ones that figure out the highways' flow
the corridors of trees in desert car parks

Connect the towns by walking paths for kids
They have forgotten grass and trees
Forgotten that the lawns are artificial ids
of angry men controlling bird and bee

Connect the towns by walking paths because
The dogs will run, go wild, live, and love

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sonnet #7

The giants died and laid down in rocky valleys
From far enough away, it doesn't look like anything
A couple bad storms came, and acid hailing
The giant flesh went rot and bones remain
As sandstone crevases; cave divers crawl
into lost intestines, exploring caverns
take some photographs where water falls
before the rain returns to do the work of worms
spelunkers do not even know the truth
That giant bodies fall into the stone
They do not see the pelvis or the tooth
It's far too large. Imagine all the world a bone
All the world is all a bunch of bones on top of bones
Every piece of dust is just the detritus of bones

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sonnet #6

Remember birds - for soon that's all they'll be
The memory of birdsong, ghosts that fly
Snap a photograph of birds in trees
And only ghosts will shimmer in the sky

The ghosts of caribou, the ghosts of bears
The ghosts of buffalo and frogs and loons
Creatures large and small that used to be here
They're not aware that they are dead and gone

Walk through national parks like cemeteries
So much loss, we don't know what is real
There are ghosts of animals that mournfully
Meander, They don't know that they're dead

At night, in tents, playing cards and drinking wine
We, too, will wonder if we're alive and fine

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sonnet #5

The cats, remember, never keep good faith
Who feeds it is who keeps it is who's loved
A lot of what we think of as their place
Is what they think that they shall rule above

The rub upon the leg is mark of owner
The mewing yowl is dinner time demanded
Servants of the fur must never waiver
The creature's shameless once it has absconded

Consider this a warning, beloved canine,
Your nemesis is only here for food
She does not love, no matter how you whine
She'll only pretend to like you in a mood

The moment passed, the claws lash out the howl
So never trust the invitational meow

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sonnet #4

In China, children packed the powder down
They wrapped it in the colored scraps of paper
Not once will they come see us in our town
When the lights explode and starlight scampers.

We look down on them, the ones who light and keep
Our dogs so scared; there's veterans near,
We wish the sound would stop before we sleep,
We close our windows, close the blinds.

In China, children packed the powder down,
If it was wrong the powder might ignite,
The flimsy walls could go, the whole town
Crumbles, in the blast of all those lovely lights

It's fun with kids and boys our reckless boom
Laugh, and light the match and fill the room.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Sonnet #3

He pulled a gun to force his way right now
Like shouting louder at his brother's shout
Whoever shouts the loudest wins, then blows
And after blows, exhaustion, guns come out

It should have been a simple trade of bullets
Two angry men, two guns, frightened family seconds
This transaction stands, you shoot, I shoot
Then afterwards we both will know we're Men

The bullets fly so quick, forget before they hit
Neighbors said they thought some kid with fireworks
Forget how triggers pulled so fast, they spit
It felt like wet bone fireworks. She's struck

She's hit, you shot her, oh my god, my god
You missed. We stood so close. You missed.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sonnet #2

Oh lovely fig, a sprawling dress, hides gems
Beneath a palm of leaves. I reach
Into her wrists and pluck from branch and stem
Apologized to my sweet friend, my tree.

 The sticky latex sap that is her blood
Weeps like puss from all of her lost thumbs
Her branches scratch, I stumble on her roots
She wept for wasps, deafmute and dumb.

It doesn't matter how I planted her in sun
I watered her in drought and fed her scraps
Ungratefully she spits at me now time has come
To take the price of rent on my fair patch.

The bitter heat, such shade below her eaves
The spiders there, the birds, the rotting leaves.