Sonnets

I write sonnets to hold myself together.

Month: August, 2014

Gifts of Thirty: Epilogue

Context — Someone wonderful turned 30 last year. I described my gift in 5 sonnets, released over the course of this week. #5 of 5

 

By now you see I’ve drawn from infinite
array of possibilities for week
in which we’re both equipped to smile when it
becomes reality: I don’t misspeak
to promise you two tickets to the place
your heart desires to go, with me in tow.
I only ask your child within embrace
the opportunity to dare and grow.
To pilot, kite surf, chow, scoot, lounge, or glide,
to meditate or read, withdraw from web,
or rather to immerse ourselves inside
a tested second life’s first flows and ebbs.
Let’s make you free for seven days, to start
the year you steer your life to pasts depart.

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Gifts of Thirty: Option 3

Context — Someone wonderful turned 30 last year. I described my gift in 5 sonnets, released over the course of this week. #4 of 5

 

The third is an escape by all accounts,
vacation to an altitude or sea,
to forest cabin topping giant mount
or jungle, lake, savannah, tundra, scree.
We’d swim or scuba, expertly traverse,
backpack or hire a motor scooter as
required to your adventure sense reverse
and start your thirties with offshore pizzazz.
The continents seek your attention, so
your challenge is to pick where our first trip
will be, to be looked back on as tableau
of nature’s splendor ’round our partnership.
Agnostic to the flora, fauna that
surround us, know you’ll be my habitat.

Gifts of Thirty: Option 2

Context — Someone wonderful turned 30 last year. We lived in different cities. I described my gift in 5 sonnets, released over the course of this week. #3 of 5

 

The second is a full embrace of one
of our cities–the pick is yours–to test
how life would feel were we to have undone
the barrier of space between our nests.
We’d for that week live like we’d both just moved,
attending open gyms, trying routines
for exercise, to see if we approved
of how life felt amidst the big betweens
we witness one another having. Time
would feel almost endless, now I fear
while writing, so much listlessness would prime
a fight, which in its mending would cohere
us further. By the end the other’d know
his or her love for lover’s lived borough.

Gifts of Thirty: Option 1

Context — Someone wonderful turned 30 last year. I described my gift in 5 sonnets, released over the course of this week. #2 of 5

 

The first is a pursuit of family:
a liberated week in which we both
fly to a spot where I’m the inductee
who meets and greets whom you’ve to date been loath
to introduce me to. You’d get to see
the people whom you hold so near and dear
in time and place where their improved esprit
would, over recent heartache, domineer.
Location, certainly, would be your choice
though now I’d think an Arizona or
Chicago sojourn best for such rejoice.
I’d see firsthand your mirth as we explore
the bridges where your family divides
and places in your heart where it resides.

Gifts of Thirty: Preamble

Context — Someone wonderful turned 30 last year. I described my gift in 5 sonnets, released over the course of this week.

 

The knowledge that you view today as an
inflection point from downward dip to cloud,
caused consternation as I tried to plan
a gift to suit occasion so endowed.
Unable to attend in body, I
was further pushed against the ropes, myself
advancing on myself critiques whereby
I’d ask if what I’d found was sold on shelf.
If answered “yes,” returned to drawing board,
if answered “no,” then three more asks were made:
is it of proper depth, could I afford,
and could it help her turnaround? Okayed
was only one, which in these verses shall
be shared in three example rationales.

Awakening in a disheveled body

Context — Some mornings are tough.

 

No swallows sang, nor jays, nor larks, that morn.
The length of summer drew an early gray.
All signs of hastened sleep on face, thread corn
wedged twice in grin. New creases. Disarray.
The mirror and the demons pitied none.
Why drink? You always fucking drink, you worm!
More often now when audience is one.
You claim that sundown lets the goblins loose,
the siren story pities you repeat.
You turn to words in lamplight, and to juice,
excuse that stupor’s aesthete’s Muse’s teat.
{1}
He churns himself like sausage, blithely mix
his virtues with the vices left unfixed.
{2}
You brilliant sack of shit, you should… you should…
reverberates atop, and masks the good.
{3}
You’re flawed for feeling liquor lights the way
last full-formed thought before the day’s malaise.
{4}
How easy is your love for others deep
yet view of self as wolf, in clothing sheep.

Harold the child does things alliteratively

Context — Once when sauced I had this vision of a kid leaving a kitchen in ruins on his ascent up towards a shortbread cookie. For some reason, I only wanted to alliterate.

 

As harrowed Harold held the handle high
his eyes surmised the prize that size disguised,
sublimely seated sweet of shortbread, spied
in droves, the groves of garlic cloves surprised
him in their quantity, as wanting, he
rethought approach that broached their stinky moat
and bent in bow his bones to boost body
to altitude where gal nor dude would note.
For Harold was but two, but barreled through
the kitchen, kitsch in cabinetry, cobs
in mold to mold for guests Midwest amused,
its heights’ alight delight unreached left sobs.
For all was right when hand seeks sugar held–
addiction amplified that age can’t quell.

Standing upright under a newfound doubled gravity

Context — we grow into each other, like topiaries into their molding.

 

He knew himself as simply part of her.
She knew herself as simply part of him.
Extenuating circumstance recurred
until their intertwining lights went dim.
She turned to ritual to fill the gap.
He turned to cigarettes and whisky glass.
Identity to both was still entrapped,
assimilated parts of joint morass.
The watch dial’s turn brought purgatory pain
laced hourly with monsoon rush of doubt,
uncertainty as selves they’d overlain
the things interred they’d once seen other sprout.
In time’s avoidance dance they tipped and tapped,
and fell. And fell again, limb with crutch snapped.

La Bodeguita Del Medio

Context — #66, after a particularly fun date with someone who had a cold.

 

Prohibited from candy corn and treats,
resenting veggies and your sister’s stunts,
you mustered help from strangers with receipts,
avoided all parental rule affronts.
Our erstwhile hosts were quick with dish and check,
and burdened by the fear of parchéd throats,
then goaded by your panda probe, I wrecked
decorum, worried what such lapse connotes.
And yet your walk appeared to energize,
since symptoms of the sick weren’t even shown:
a beauty stretched from dress, to hair, to eyes,
as if you’d subbed for sick a healthy clone.
I hope you’ve, sleepy, acquiesced
to slumber, shedding worthlessness of stress.

Shard of the reverberating urban story

Context — rural America brain drain.

 

With brain too large to fit her birth’s small town,
her valediction speech marked final part
with Hillsboro, to college from godown
to fill her head while trickled dry her heart.
For four flash years she changed taxonomy:
community from family tree to fern,
its leaves abuzz. What home lacked spawned from glee
at having people everywhere she turned.
Post-second graduation, seasons fell–
a swelling freeze that isolated leaves
in ice. Aloneness housing’s walls impelled,
adulthood youth’s community upheaved.
Her loved ones parted once for brain, and twice
when friends for jobs their tethers sacrificed.

Lim[x->sonnet](your claims) = lies!

Context — I wrote this on a Caltrain ride in late 2011, to someone who claimed she liked math and verse. She never replied.

 

When Sundays linger, on my back, in grass
responsibility all cast aside
I ponder mathematics, fluids, mass
and sonnets, quite like you (unless you lied).
I equally lament the lack of rho,
the absence of e, pi, and Golden Mean:
iambic tens in couplets are the foe
of calculus’ lexicon. Obscene
to think the haiku couldn’t choose base ten!
I laugh at limericks’ length limit of five!
All other verse lacks ying, lacks yang, lacks zen
compared to sonnets. Q.E.D.: derived.
If proofs above echo your inner voice,
perhaps we might at length further rejoice.

The sprinter is forever out of time

Context — I know a lot of driven people. Time passes quickly for them.

 

High lactic acid’s now become her base,
exertion past the point she recognized.
Her muscle equilibrium’s replaced
rejuvenating oxygen. Disguised
as daily dulling pain, she feels her neck
begin to stiffen, and her head to ache.
Her office now in ergonomics decked,
though yet can’t body’s healthful thirst quite slake.
She knows it not, but others quickly see
she’s running ever-faster in slight curve.
she misperceives as straight and leading to marquee,
her name lit up for colleagues to observe.
In churning, there’s a key thing she forgot
it takes some time to have reflective thought.

Teach me the skill to recognize I am an experiment

Context — I navigate life using an endless series of small tests.

 

I run experiments to go without:
to stay awake, to forego meat, to stop
bad speech about a person, to not pout,
to keep a month of temperance, to swap
my thoughts of future for the thoughts of now,
or to compare myself to only me,
instead of others, or to disavow
my inner critic, or go gluten-free,
to radically decrease sweets and caffeine,
to ignore what my mind suggests for guts
and instinct. As result, my life careens,
its definition’s ever-shifting gluts.
Instead of all the facts they teach in school,
why not make self reflection Golden Rule?

The anticipation of a correspondence

Context — #51. Partly the compunction of missing a hello, partly the joy of sleep, partly the anticipation of renewed engagement.

 

a purity of company amidst,
i’m basking in the humor of the crowd,
unconscious till departures that I missed
the message that your prior had avowed:
a wednesday’s sleep, a midweek gift of peace
recharging juices brackish, stale, and sour
had promised to your cortisol decrease,
your mood improve and appetite empower.
tis bliss for me your hunger is to say,
in clearest ways that “say” translates to “write,”
emerging from our evening soiree,
exchange beyond the wedding’s simple rite.
so I, in moments quiet, dark, and late,
await your brain’s debut of words ornate.

Discovering the buried glacial parts of people

Context — I was on a trip to, as we called it, discover the source of California’s water problems and solutions back in March 2011, driving through the Central Valley when corresponding with someone far. #50.

 

my life, consumed by voyages afar,
bears fruit in distant lands you cannot hear,
where, Hardy Boys outshined, we find bizarre
contraptions, gizmos, pipes, great dams, and weirs.
but further craze is boiled when we ask
of politics, laws, governance, and price
as if we’d gone to toil to unmask
their subterfuge in allocating ice.
you mention lack of luck and tortured soul,
and blame the dialing down as part of time.
rejecting that is my continued goal:
to know the you you keep as clandestine.
fatigued, i prize what you and I discuss–
though time may pass, i know advantage: us.

Binge, binge, binge, binge, purge

Context — Today you are given chances to live as did the richest of historical empresses. Yesterday, you were also given that option. And will be tomorrow. Purchasing culture is almost as ingrained as the habits I chide below.

 

Two dozen binges and their matched-up purge
were marketed to modern me today.
Buy kicks, style bangs, drink upper shelf, the urge
to purchase more was everywhere purveyed.
In decade past, I’ve cycled nearly through
the glitter given gaudily by each,
got guilt from the impermanence, eschewed
reactively the advertised life preached.
In purges, though, I see philosophy:
the habits of our daily lives are hid
in cloaks mundane. Restart! If lost, if freed
is test for substance, ego, thought, and id.
With nine and twenty years of grime, machine
I live in might need periodic clean.

The days in which I am an ice core

Context — Some days are just different.

 

Today I’m flypaper without its stick,
attracting all the ice without recourse,
I’m tiny trace of apple arsenic
in skin beside the sugar flesh, perforce.
Today I’m penguin puffed into balloon
who’s waddling away from warmth of peers.
I’m unassailable silken cocoon
that guards as soul itself reengineers.
Today I’m frozen like a fish filet
left ugly when it thawed and then re-iced.
I’m holy wall with cracks from root decay,
chipped barrier to endless poltergeists.
Today I woke up cold inside but sought
not single pleasure heat could me have brought.

Phoenix in my bathroom

Context — Bathing rejuvenates.

 

I’ll slip past frosted glass and into steam
with soil afoot, and underarms unclean,
my skull awaiting cleansing water stream,
a psychiatric flush of harsher mien.
Sensation spanning all five senses, sound
a static thrum to slow the psyche, taste
forgettable, the touch of heat abounds,
the aromatic greenhouse air erased
my nasopulmonary mucous blocks.
Propellant water droplets canvass wall,
designs improbable yet orthodox.
I’m eye of hurricane Pacific squall.
As long as there’s been water here on earth
immersion in it feels like rebirth.

#44: A third third of me until 2010

Context — #42-44 were an autobiographical miniseries I wrote as part of an application to get into a class in grad school. 26 August 2010.

 

Fixing water’s fine for a profession
but spaces in between important, too.
Our days are simply moments of expression,
most oft enriched with company and brews.
The catalyst for persons A and B
connecting can be caffeinated, black,
that’s common now, beyond the bourgeoisie,
of well-pulled coffee. Off the liquid track,
I’ve films to make that soften into smile
the hardened look when businessmen assess
the world as ripe for takeovers (hostile),
to me the giggle’s measure for success.
With my full job and life before you stamped,
may I now kindly join your d. boot camp?

Eye blink

Context — dinosaurs lacked the Haber-Bosch process and didn’t emit CO2. If they were around for an entire human lifetime-equivalent, we would just have been born. Dinosaur names aren’t iambic (i.e. ig-WAH-no-col-AH-sus) so forgive me for changing the meter and relaxing the syllable constraints so it’s readable.

 

The stygimoloch (demon, horned, from Styx)
existed in the late Cretaceous age.
With quetzalcoatlus wings intermixed,
both ground and air had macro macrophage.
Iguanacolossus was whale of land
to demon as old as demon to us.
I clarify so you don’t misunderstand
improbably lengthy time length discussed.
Triceratops (young torosaurus) ate
the foliage that mammoths left behind.
Post-millions moons of feasts, we excavate
its bones. Once, Gaia’s climate redesigned
itself. Despite ten-thousand year romance,
mankind’s supremacy on earth is chance.

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