Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Sonnet #90

You want to colonize the stars? Me, too, but
First let's figure out how not to ruin the stars
How to find a thing that's beautiful, and shut
the door, fly on, leave beauty to beauty, we are
Really bad at beauty. We push our domiciles
against the edge of waterfalls, shore front
mountain top, Shenandoah Valley style
houses, all excavating beauty, shunt
the view a little around a gated wall
We will see the rings of Jupiter become
A private palisade, Europa's hidden waterfalls
Will be fenced off, rerouted, for a wealthy someone
The beauty of this universe is tumbling free
We ought to build our homes somewhere clean, ugly

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sonnet #89

Remember this: They will all die, the men

who tell you what to think and how to live
They're rarely young, these men, they will spend
Only a few more summers in the fields, overthrived
They will collapse in the weight of so much certainty
And where they fall, the flowers will grow tall
A quiet man will mow the grass, there will be hurting
But, what will remain of these proud men is all
about them that was good, not the preening
Not the proud and angry stubborn way that ought
they say to be what you need to do is bleeding
out into the wind, an empty set of words bought
At such great price, consideration of their peers
Rudder tongues against waves, vainly steered

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sonnet #88

Never get involved in what other people do
This is the lesson of today: See them chasing
See them running or racing, let them go
Walk past the beggar, walk past the debasing
Walk past everything that's wrong and curse
the self quietly; better guilt than physical
pain, better to feel awful inside, to feel worse
Than anyone ever felt about how you called
away from what you saw. You could get killed
You could get bit, beaten, broken, destroyed
Lockjaw, rabies, lawsuits, Get arrested, distilled
into a coma self, all the dangers in every shadow
Helping is dangerous. Doing is dangerous. Didn't you know?

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 you're 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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Obligation to Link to New Novel Info

Howdy all,

Herein lies a link to a new book by me, with a beautiful cover with art from Jamie Jones and design by Christina Foltzer:

It's coming in mid-January from, and I am very pleased and excited to see this process move forward.

Interested reviewers are encouraged to reach out to's marketing team about an early look.

Thanks all!

Sonnet #73

There are dinosaurs in grocery stores, unseen,

We do not know what kills us when we're buying things
We take them home, they rest in back seats, hiding
as we walk up walkways, sneaking into the scene
The edges of the scene, the corners of our eyes
They sing a little, subaudibly, but audible enough
They hunt so quietly, we do not know how tough
We have to be to protect ourselves, who lives who dies
Depends on how careful we are, bad luck floating
in the air, stalking in the shadows around corners
Around the bend, looming over us, teeth gloating
where we fail to see. Old impulses calling to warn 
And calling to be torn. The prey of death desiring
Finds death easy. Slow suicide is easy. Go to the store.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sonnet #72

Like leaves tumbling, like early falling leaves,
Like something is wrong and the leaves march
too soon, little brown and orange specks, sieve
the late summer breeze, and... Wait, Monarchs!

The butterflies are here. The beautiful ones!
They travel south in herds like fields of ghosts
Like flowers become the flesh, they fly on
Indomitable in their fragility, Fearless most
of all against the roads where wind spins
them up and over and into all the cars driving

If we only walked more, if we planted flowering things
If we only didn't rush so much in our striving
Children dance to the butterflies, joyfully reaching
Let them land on a palm, let them taste skin, then flying

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sonnet #71

To watch a painter is to watch paint dry
The act of making is dull, methodical
It takes a long time before the canvas tries
to come together. Observe the periodical
How the machines run sheets and bind
How videos of photo shoots are boring
Four hours of subtle shifts in frames of mind
Three days at a computer screen poring
Over prints and shades. The writer strapped
to a machine, typing, retyping, retyping
There's nothing quite so dull. In fact,
The make of art might as well be plumbing
Observe confused the wriggling arms beneath
The cabinets, our impatience with your polite seethe

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Sonnet #70

There are three cities in every city

First, there is the one we see with eyes
The canyon towers, the roads and highrises
the rolling hills of houses and industry

Second, the city beneath the city where pipes
and wires and grids expand like roots
And what we see above is just the shoots
of minute growth against the deepening stripes

Third, the city pushes off a city every day
Where dumpster trucks build heaps among the ruins
And one could build a city from the wasted clay
and steel and bone that's cast about, the chewings
Of the canyons, the stewings of the day
The castaway town, the tent cities, the shadows brewing

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sonnet #69

When people come to visit I must tell them

Welcome to the jungle house. So much grows
In every little corner, there's a plant that knows
Where all the sun is, and spreads to fill in
Three papayas fruit along the walkway
Spread their arms, duck underneath to pass
To where the sweet potato vines smother grass
Beside a lemon tree at our front door. I say
that I could harvest something every day
What use is grass and weekly chores of lawn
When fruit trees work so hard for little pay
And flowers call the butterflies in swarms?
Welcome to the jungle house, where we laze
We planted forests, let it work, avoid the uniform

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sonnet #68

It used to be you couldn't raise a kid

Without a stick to beat them with, hard
If you weren't leaving bruises, solid hit
across the backside, they should be scarred
By brutal beatings, when they were really
really bad, they should point to the marks
And tell the story of how love futilely
tried to beat some sense into their hearts
Life was supposedly harder back then
So everyone had to be ready to fight
Diseases swept through and wars took the men
And industry chewed up the children in coal light

As if that hasn't changed, we pretend we do not harm
As if life is so much easier, we pretend we're safer, warm

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sonnet #67

They start them young on chocolate sugar bombs
And lots of fortified desserts disguised
As vitamin vectors. But it's all wrong
The investors tell themselves lies, hypnotized
Once addicted, diseases creep in the veins
We have to prescribe the medication
Otherwise we could get sued for failing
to properly treat the different infections
As we age, more pills, more bad food, wailing,
gnashing of teeth, a life lived between pain
and numb, feeling miserable and sorry for
ourselves, which means more self-disdain
More comfort food, more pills, therapy, more
Investors buy the stocks and own the game
Own the junk food, and the cures of all the pain

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sonnet #66

To make the best fruit, the apples and pears

Must have their young branches weighed down
The branches shoot up too straight, can't bear
To turn their tips away from precious sun
But they must, or else the fruit will be thin
It will hang at odd angles, fall off, rot
When moisture can't be blown away by wind
In those tight clumps against the stalk, the roots
Will feed the tree, and only leaves will grow
Tall, brittle branches, little fruit, so bend
The young shoots down, hold them low
Until they harden there. Hardship sends
the branches freedom to create, pruning applies
It is the cut and twisting that births the apples

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sonnet #65

Sacrifice, sap root and stem to burn,
Trees and cornstalks know the price of water
They exhale the dew, and know they earn
Water from the clouds and also slaughter

The tallest of the trees will feel the storm
The rumbling gods of water will take their due
The hillocks of the field, the clustered corn
To pay the price for rain, who will die? Who

will take the heat and burn and blast? Lightning
strikes, hail will fall, ice and snow will mound and crack
the weak. Pay the price for rain. No need for fighting
The gods of thunder take the tallest in the stack

The empty places in the fields where payment took
The holes in forests where kings trembled and shook

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sonnet #64

We pass so many apple trees we think

We must stop and ask why they aren't picked
Huge, old trees, branches sighing to the brink
So many apples, red and vibrant, thick

Do people even know they're safe to eat?
These apples never sprayed on backyard trees
Never bothered by the weather, back from streets
Where pedestrians can't reach what they see
There's so much fruit, fifty feet of fruit
Waiting for anyone to notice, to come and take
These beautiful ones, hidden away in yards where roots
grow deep but no one comes to appreciate
The artistry that she makes, these forgotten trees
This messy nuisance of so many apples, waiting, free

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Sonnet #63

All you need is love, a house that's warm,
A job that's good enough to keep the lights
From flickering, a way to fight without harm
A way to get to hospitals turning left and right
Through all those roads and bridges. Food helps
But if you can't make it, you can fake it fine
with microwaves and styrofoam. Make whelps
Of cat or dog or child, and walk the cultural line
In your community. All you need is love
And enough money to get away this summer
Somewhere cool, the coast, anywhere to dispose of
The pent up tension that builds in hot midsummer
All you need is love, a retirement plan that works
All you need is love, and to share your available perks

Friday, September 2, 2016

Sonnet #62

We killed the buffalo and carrier pigeon
We made a desert where cornstalks thicken
And feed is grown for cattle, chickens
Where once the prairie swayed like religion
The death of the Monarch is witnessed in space
After the corn, the empty fields are a wasteland
The feedlots pack deep and people beat the grassland
To make the beef, to devour eggs from one bird race

The buffalo breeds true with cattle, it's a cow
We just don't see it, the meat red, milk white
All the great nations of the plains will tell you how
They watched the whole world thrive without
A single tractor, where millions lived to follow

We couldn't bear to lose control, our blight

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Sonnet #61

Headlines from a better world than this:
There's a conspiracy in place to make sure kids
All feel like heroes of a hidden place
That can, only once a year, be visited
The king of cats has called a moratorium
on the slaughtering of sparrows in the spring
Five neat tricks to resurrect before crematoriums
You'll never believe the songs that we will sing
By the end of this newspaper, let's begin with page one
The rabbits have formed a council to get the vote
They will soon outnumber us, democratically, run
for office on an anti-Hawk measure, or be smote
The debts have all been washed away in a generous flood
The government has been renewed, no shed blood