Sonnets

I write sonnets to hold myself together.

Month: December, 2014

San Francisco, and probably where you live

Context — Sometimes in the evenings I climb out my window to stand on the roof and survey neighbors’ own faraway glow.

 

I climb through window, soles on roof, erect
and survey night’s illuminations there.
I count the homes that choose to resurrect
the day with backlit LCDs, aware
of hundred ways they might be learning in
their catatonic viewing of a show
or documentary. Still, scene’s akin
to Huxley’s hypnopaedic writ tarot.
They’ve moved here from their far-off place of birth
for jobs and friends of equal intellect,
here clustered ’cause they’ve heard it’s here they’re worth
more dollars. Yet, they’re dense in disconnect,
the automatic neighbor friendship’s farce
as vocal cord-hummed words are ever sparse.

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Rocks in my Pockets, a film reaction

Context — An animated film about depression and suicide from a Latvian artist, Rocks in my Pockets, dredged a lot of emotions up. I felt dissatisfied at the end without resolution that felt more real than the feeling I should talk about depression with people to lower the stigma surrounding it.

 

Investigating hurt with public art,
her cartoons’ European darker side
relentlessly depressed, no counterpart
of levity to balance out the ride.
Surprising still, intention hadn’t weaved
a guiding thread through movie exposé,
explaining only that she disbelieved
it’s artist’s role to us disclose her sway.
Rejecting ways of treatment socially
and pharmaceutically, she left me not
one method to direct tableau fully
towards bettering depressions that I spot.
Discuss, she said, but never then supplied
paths past enumerated suicide.

Us, if known nothingness

Context — If sunset ended the universe, how might we fill today?

 

With neither rapture nor apocalypse,
tomorrow simply ceased to hither come:
we knew precisely twelve o’clock eclipsed
our world back to interstellar mum.
Work stopped without a future left to serve.
In instants, life lost sense of scarcity.
All peoples said their peace, left naught reserved.
Folks cleansed themselves with prayer, errs set free.
Most lacking time to travel out to where
their loved ones dwelled in distant places, they
sought solace from their neighbors, offered care
of human warmth they’d let days’ grind decay.
It took catastrophe to strip facade
so each treats each as delegate of god.

Hairline mirror crack

Context — The instant age internalizes.

 

I’ve had a widow’s peak since I was wee,
which starting in my late teen years dropped curls.
Their whimsicality bound part of me,
and seemed to somehow also lure the girls.
I graduated, cut it short, as though
professional despite my internship,
not knowing status searches I’d outgrow
and pace of life would from discernment slip.
For now, at thirty, Christmas Eve, I fear
my hairline’s higher than it was as child
and hearing confirmation brings me near
to tears that aging’s here, unreconciled.
Life rudderless, I’m hardly more prepared
for adulthood’s pained age than when wee, haired.

Ticker tape loops about my neck

Context — Time slips these days.

 

A tick, a tock, an hour, a day, the clock
proceeds, punctilious, precise,
forever filling, never overstocked
through circularity of dial’s device.
Yet inexhaustible rotations wheel
around the watch face numbers’ dozen ticks
each passing promising some fate revealed
while nailing guilts to mind-made crucifix.
For every day that passes leaves the next
its escalating burdens left undone,
so solemn, lifelong problems still perplex
through seasons played on analog rerun.
Cathartically I’d face accrued rue’s vault
had I the clout to call time grind to halt.

A dozen births in darkened rooms

Context – …

 

The still room’s black is nearly viscous, lamp
on drafting desk the only glow suffused.
Once sun escaped, identity decamped
from man, now boy, cartoons and hues enthused
his pens and quills and palettes. Sluice gates rose,
let flow the ink from air to mind to hand,
the paper’s figures, spirits juxtaposed
impossibilities in meadowlands.
He drew because he drew because he drew,
no verbs were left untested that could meet
the flow he’d know when solitude anew
of evenings let his muse-fed thoughts secrete.
Night freed him from days’ shackles of the flesh,
obsessiveness there mother of the fresh.

Carrying capacity looms nigh, pioneer perspectives course deep

Context — Older generations give us wisdom based on the worlds they grew up in. The pace of change is accelerating. At some point, those perspectives passed on with love to protect us in a scary world become antiquated. But only if everybody changes at once.

 

The problem’s expectations, set by us
revealed with time and wisdom to fall short
of anything but fabricated fuss
created by the elders to escort
decisions young folks made towards lives like theirs–
the Greatest Generation’s–thinking cash
accrual’s goal. Naivete prepares
us swallow lessons, age, same pith rehash.
And so me-first and jockeying grew to
perspectives dominating culture, where
economy’s complexities force you
to hoard, fear loss, distrust, and rank-compare.
With limits presaged on this greed we’ve farmed
rethink these dated memes and let’s disarm.

Math reinforces my hunch that we are not alone

Context —

13,800 million years ago the universe went boom
13,200 million years ago the Milky Way happened
4,540 million years ago Earth came to be
3,550 million years ago life started as cyanobacteria
65 million years ago emerged the first primates

So many years ago, the Big Bang boomed,
thirteen-point-eight, well, billion, more or less.
Two-thirds the time since then passed, then Earth bloomed–
at least, into one rock it coalesced.
Another billion years, then life was formed:
bacteria that fossils show’s like ours.
Mutations’ prevalence helped those deformed
evolve past ever higher complex bars.
The primate came just sixty-five mil years
ago. Let’s look at ratios. Divide
that into age of universe: it nears
two-hundred times! 3 billion years supplied
enough to make such beasts as us. There must
be others hid in interstellar dust.

The happiest conceivable creature in the universe

Context — I rather like the thought experiment, what animal’s method of movement would you change for greatest comedic effect? This grew from one of those thoughts. There is a correct answer.

Just close your eyes a moment, reminisce
through memories of joyful wildlife,
identify who might feel highest bliss
from frolicking as human child might,
who’d fly as hawk, who’d bounce on pogo sticks,
a verb and situation of your choice.
Perhaps an octopus pop-lock remix,
or sloth in flight would plentifully rejoice,
blue whale massaged as Kobe cow, it’s hard
to know precisely whose euphoria
would be the greatest of the whole vanguard.
While sight imagined leaves you more glee, the
stretched eons animals have rollicked please:
they’re fine without our innovations’ tease.

Finally, I understand tattoos

Context — We all look to certain symbols to enhance our lives.

 

I’ve hung around my neck symbolic love
of those who love me in return, and looped
two anklets black and white constructed of
the prison threads of dissidents Han swooped
away from protests in Tibet. But thread
disintegrates with time, and both decayed.
I used to look to them for what they said
about the need to evil disobey.
Without a body token to remind
I’ve in me smoldering small charcoal rage
to make the world’s injustice partly mine
I waste the limelight’s burn on life’s broad stage.
A pocketful of fury lights the way
to make tomorrow transcend yesterday.

Absent justices

Context — What’s going on with Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Rumain Brisbon is heavy. It’s stirring up memories that were shared with me of carjacking with no recourse.

 

Nairobi’s automatic weapons high,
at gunpoint’s shout coercion’s plainly forced:
they drop their phones, bags, wallets, quick comply
so they won’t with their lives be soon divorced.
Bereft of all but clothes and minds, blood’s pump
extreme in thrust, discussed the chance what’s just
could be obtained from cops: “Corrupt and plump,
their paunch fat’s staunched the faith of public trust.
We go to them, we’ll end up poorer than
we came,” exclaimed young Ben, ashamed that home’s
regressing reputation overran
community ubuntu chromosomes
encased in Kenyans’ DNA. They broke
as poverty made crooks of common folk.

Gray rhythms unjustified

Context — It’s winter.

 

My daily life won’t anger me to fumes.
I’m traffic-immunized, at work I’m thanked,
with modest budget can most things consume,
not bound by orthodoxies sacrosanct.
So how then can I justify the trough
I go through when the planets line up wrong?
Affecting all, these doldrums’ throes strip off
quotidian sheen gratefulness, prolong
tectonic grinding gray ambivalence
that every day throws modest glimmers of,
but when of sound mind dam with commonsense,
the knowledge life deserves no dimmer love.
In weeks when mindful light’s gone dark, the gray
dissolves the prided parts of me away.

Cellular infusions of brilliance

Context — When the sun breaks through days of gloom these images flash through my mind.

 

Perpetuality of spring, invade
the gloomy nooks my body’s caverns house,
mosaically leave viscera inlaid
to multiply the beams sun’s sheen endows.
Create in me a parquet floor of jewels
as intricate as Moorish alcazar,
mathematically refracting, drying pools
that are black thoughts’ ink-tinted reservoirs.
Construct me from resuscitated stones
whose flesh was forged from starry mass like yours,
shine holiness to unembalm my bones,
transmute biotic body’s walls to doors.
So bellow biochemicals to glow!
Grant confidence to conquer earthen woe.

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