I write sonnets to hold myself together.

Month: September, 2014

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #17

Context — Scrumptious honey hunger.

For gasps of air, young Stella burst toward sky,
the water flung around as cough and wheeze
erupted, as her lungs had been denied
the air patrolled by hordes of angry bees.
The blue above seemed heaven-sent, the bugs
had all but gone, which clarified the view.
The predators had acted as the thugs
that Stella sought to bid the bees adieu.
Emerging from the stale lake, she stood
adrip and shivering in zephyr blown
between mahogany and other wood,
the name for which she thought she once had known.
Despite the cold that flicked her in the wind,
with honey soon, she felt no trace chagrined.

Garnered suggestions on ascension to 30

Context — I milestone-aged recently. My coworkers offered their thoughts on how to make the decade thrilling and rewarding.


Advice from friends upon ascension to
the magic age of thirty is to be
reminded that in play is 22,
to face life with an active strategy,
to take up meditation, tend a plant,
to work out, score a partner, and to freeze
before that date in case you later can’t,
then with it have a baby, try foresee
toxicities and weed them all away,
go hard or home, eat well, dismiss your fear,
call more, text less, and rise above the fray
to treat them as the finest brilliant years.
My friends, my thanks for pooling wisdom so:
’tis thrilling recipe. Now tally ho!

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #16

Context — Stealing honey from African bees is bold.

That swarm of bees pursued them stride for stride,
and zeroed in on Stella as the con
who’d lured them out, and now would subdivide
them ‘round the lake in places whereupon
the mantises and toads would quickly prey
upon the black and yellow candy brought!
While BLING, scot-free, would fetch the hive buffet
that Stella’s daring sprint allowed be caught.
WIth bursting speed, the girl plunged in the pond
and shivered once for cold and once for fear’s
suspense as predators would soon respond
to unexpected food so volunteered.
She stayed submerged until her crimson face
convinced that oxygen was all displaced.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #15

Context — Animal sugars. Insect proteins.


The forest cornucopia availed
a feast of plant and beast, of drink and grub–
to those who knew where nourishment was veiled,
accessible as quaffing at the pub.
“I’m not enticed by looking at those worms,”
said Stella, unimpressed by what BLING dug.
“I’m pretty sure they’re gooey and have germs,
I’d rather taste some honey.” Then she tugged
a branch that housed a yellow swarming hive,
that swayed and twisted, further every push,
until a *CRASH* and thousands came alive
to punish their transgressors in the bush!
They sprinted towards the water hole, BLING’s snout
a-leak with grubs that twisted to get out.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #14

Context — Alternative dinner.


“Suppose we’ll have to stay together, bud,
since leashes without collars never work.
I can’t believe we scraped off so much mud
with nothing in return. That guy’s a jerk,”
said Stella, as they loped on down the path
with BLING astride, alert to what could be
another reprimanding: Stella’s math
suggested they’d be late. All absentees
from dinner at precisely eight past eight
in Grandmum’s house de facto sacrificed
their food without the chance to bite-prorate.
“I think,” said she, “we’ll need to stage a heist
to fill our bellies ‘fore we’re homeward bound,”
and seemed to see BLING understand the sound.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #13

Context — Don’t break things owned by big men.


“I clearly see reflections of my shoes
upon this parquet wood you’ve fully shined.
Impressive, lass! But wait — have you abused
my mop? It’s busted!” He seemed disinclined
to shower them with gifts as mentioned for
the dog. “Since you so rudely cleft in two
the only cleaning tool I can’t restore
with handiwork of duct tape, nail and screw,
afraid I’ll have to ask you both to leave!
I must now get to fabricating wares–
this afternoon I have to interweave
my belts. Now scoot with you, unless repairs
are offered as to make me whole.” And so
a downtrod girl and pup did sorely go.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #12

Context — Dog as tool.


Some minutes in, a tragedy arose:
the mop’s white head unscrewed and bent and broke.
“Oh blast!” said Stella, conscious store would close
in minutes, work unfinished. Then BLING poked
her in the hand, encouraging with snout
the maintenance of hope amid despair,
then jumped into the bucket, then jumped out,
becoming mop itself with soapy hair!
He chomped down on the end of broken stick
and let his legs loose, dropping to a splay,
when dragged he cleaned — “Oh what a splendid trick!”
exclaimed young Stella, thrilled by the display.
Six minutes hence, the duo unconcerned,
old Tanner to a spotless floor returned.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #11

Context — …the resolution.


emerged in Tanner’s dyed and callused hands
which, thrust at them, sent drops of foam and soap
upon their heads, “Well, you made the demands!
Now clean the floor with vigor and don’t mope
and maybe soon if you impress enough
I’ll find a thing or two that I can teach
you so you’ll collar that brown dog’s neck fluff.
But careful now, watch out. And mind your reach.”
With mop in hand and bucket close behind,
our Stella took to task and wet the floor.
Their skills, in fact, weren’t wholly misaligned:
the harder stains dissolved as BLING’s claws tore
them. “Little bud, I guess today’s a wash.
Together, though, we’ll make this place look posh!”

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #10

Context — I rarely end mid-sentence. Sentence completed tomorrow.


Recalling natural artifacts, she stopped,
surprised at just how many popped to mind:
she’d seen some feathers, ivory pieces cropped,
beast heads a-mount without their beast behinds.
But none she’d seen would be good harness for
her dog, and so next day at shop she asked
“Dear Mister Tanner, sir, have you in store
a collar? I’ve no money, but a task
could maybe suit to pay you. Dearest sir,
I’d rather work than ask for some handout.
You understand the young entrepreneur
and gotta know some way to help me out.”
And so she sat, intruder in his shop
to signal she’d be stubborn, ’till a mop

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #9

Context — One can’t just bandy about sans collar. That might be uncivilized.

“Ooh! BLING’s so right I’m nearly thrown aback,
it’s bright and spunky, valuable like gold,
but not so overused as Spot. In fact,
I’m confident my BLING will break the mold!”
I’ve kept you out from Grandmum’s fuzzy view,
but don’t know how to keep up the charade…
Perhaps my bag could be the avenue
to hide you,” she continued, “a handmade
and padded pouch inside my backpack for
you can’t be hard to sew this afternoon.
And since we’ve got adventuring in store,
we’ll have to make a collar for you soon–”
for which, she’d seen a snakeskin quite intact
in storefront sill–but where? She hadn’t tracked.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #8

Context — The puppy finally earns a name.


Though fat with bread, the puppy never grew
beyond concealed carry canine size,
and so it was that Grandmum never knew
her Stella hadn’t two–but four!–brown eyes.
But six weeks passed before she had the thought
that little runt she carried lacked a name.
She floated several options, but none caught
the playful puppy spirit: pluck, but tame.
He’d bravely battle bunnies, birds and bats,
he’d catch most creepy crawlies (eat them too),
chase after shrews and moles, molest meercats.
Apollo? Rocket? Squishy? None rang true.
The dog to her meant sky, earth, everything.
To show that value, Stella named him BLING!

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #7

Context — Shenanigans. Everybody needs a partner in crime.

Ensuing days, adventure was the norm,
from hopping rocks in rivers to school pranks
a true dynamic duo thus was born
and every night young Stella spoke her thanks.
When sun was high they’d chase away warthogs,
or sneak pup poop into the bully’s desk,
build castles out of twigs, make forts from logs,
until the evening never stop to rest.
At night they’d sneak from house to river bed
and chase bullfrogs and pounce on fireflies,
when winds arose, wrap shukas, quiver, dead
to all the quibbles critics tried arise.
She found fresh pulse of life in her locale,
the puppy’s presence lifting her morale.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #6

Context — A return!


A dim white glow through boarded walls did light
the foam mat bed upon which Stella lay,
the blackened sky’s stars permanent in flight
all cast a pleasant interstellar ray.
“YIP YIP!” the faint sound penetrated calm,
and set aflutter Stella’s lonely heart,
its pain relieved as if with soothing balm,
by canine silhouette through curtain part.
“Sweet sassafras!” young Stella did exclaim
upon familiar sight of puppy’s mug,
a black hole puff of joy through window frame,
she scooped him up and gave a mighty hug.
“From this point on,” she turned and told the pup,
“no man or beast or witch will break us up!”

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #5

Context — New characters emerge.


“EGADS!” the Grandmum shrieked upon the sight
of mangy mutt behind her next of kin,
“All animals are dirty and can bite,
so leave at once or I’ll make moccasins
of that there hide!” She turned her anger near,
and spanked the girl outstretched upon her knee.
And thus poor Stella renewed daily fear
of Grandmum, as the dog began to flee.
With rear end sore, she waddled through her chores,
from sweeping porch to watering the plants,
while dreaming of her lost friend’s future roars
and all the things she’d change to cans from can’ts.
But sorrow wouldn’t long be her concern:
as moon emerged, the puppy soon returned.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #4

Context — Becoming friends.


Chapati from her fingers, that dog ate
with fervor of its missing mother’s milk
and with shared nourishment they joined their fate
as girl and girl’s best friend, or of that ilk.
She dropped the pup and set upon the path
to home, so she could proudly show Grandmum
expecting love instead of standard wrath–
surely with pride she’d meet friend number one!
She faithfully was followed by the dog,
along the muddy path with swarming flies,
which, ringed by corn, bananas, ceiling fog,
was privy to where land with sky collides.
With spring in step she sauntered toward her home,
erupting joy at being not alone.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #3

Context — Serializing Stella. The plot thickens.


“YIP YIP!” a sound beneath the log surprised
this sulking girl, a cry that asked for help,
“A someone needs a hero!” she surmised,
and overturned the stump to find the whelp.
A scruffy, fluffy, matted ball of fur
was belly-up and trapped in wooded knot,
“perhaps some karmic credit will incur
if I can rescue and improve its lot!”
So Stella reached down in the hole to grab
this mangy thing that fit into her palm,
its whimper weak and coat a dusty drab,
she petted it and mouthed a quiet psalm.
Below the canopy, that pup outburst
would soon the course of Stella’s life reverse.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #2

Context — Serializing Stella. More to come.


“I thought at four, by eight I’d be a queen,
the apple of the eyes of boys and girls!
Instead of being big and center screen,
my life at school and home has all unfurled…
I’m jealous of the kids who act all bold,
I speak and never find that right one word,
I wait to do all things just as I’m told,
I lack even a cow or goat to herd!
My Grandmum makes me cook the evening meal,
I schlep our family’s water on my head,
my life’s a failed childhood highlight reel!
I want to climb and stay the day in bed.”
So, sitting on a log, reflecting blue,
our Stella felt depressed, with naught to do.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #1

Context — Serializing. More to come.

A slender girl named Stella once did live
among acacia thorns and ng’ombe poop,
in Tanzanian hinterlands that give
all foreign guests mobbed baboons in a troupe.
But in this verdant, fertile land of green,
marked by bustards, storks, giraffes, gazelle,
and lions, warthogs, vervet apes thieving,
our dearest Stella found herself unwell.
The kids at school, like monkeys, cheated, stole,
and pushed her to the side when eating lunch.
Her sucked-up praise and attempts to extol
their virtues failed on this brutish bunch.
Post-class one day, and distanced from the crowd,
our Stella pondered friendlessness aloud.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1 – Prologue

Context — My laptop’s trackpad is broken, so the ability to post sonnets has been limited. It’s finally time, having posted over two months’ worth of verse about different topics and commissioned a handful of additional unposted sonnets, to share the reason I began this site in the first place. I created a character named Stella a couple years ago, and she created a story around her. Hopefully, the seeds of many stories. Here is the prologue to that first volume, Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Volume 1. Much more to follow.




From up to down to lucky and to hexed,

from gladdening to maddening, agree

adventuring you’ll find in pages next

is true as memory can be to me.

My childhood began with what you read,

in many ways adulthood too was born

as self-reliance started supersede

the baggage of abandonment I’d worn.

My dog, my friend, myself were chiseled by

the edge of nature’s pneuma, sharpened hard.

We had on one another to rely,

we’d grow to social mores soon disregard.

This text I wrote for me, but now exhume

to share with children seeking paths to bloom.



September 22, 2032

Piling together our comfort-inducing trifles of transit

Context — Thoughts of inequality haunt me. This version came as we were landing at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg.


A mustard light shined through the dingy glass,
augmented by the bulbs of chandelier,
illuminating tilework with last
adulterated dusky rays. A tear
began to well on iris, as to wilt
its floral lens so often tinted rose.
For there an overwhelming sense of guilt
to winter thus my spring bud view had froze.
Grand Central Station, thousands treaded through,
and purchased Dunkin coffees, three bucks each,
a sum in minutes, were it to accrue,
enough to fix a shortage, let us teach
Rwanda’s thousand hungry pupils met
so distant from our well-intentioned fete.

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