Sonnets

I write sonnets to hold myself together.

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.

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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.

240 volts minimum

Context — Should I be envious of people who only create from a place of peace?

 

A physicist once said that matter’s waves
of energy transmogrified to stuff
that’s big and thus predictably behaves,
until in smallness rules turn truths to bluffs.
The underlying oscillation hints
that items built of matter–namely, me–
may vibrate thus, may ebb and flow in stints
from skyline highs to earthly tame degree.
When choice I make removes the things that surge
the climb and thus accelerate the drop,
adrenalines that normally converge
toward juicy life themselves run dry and stop.
Experiments of being wholly pure
fell life’s potential crests too premature.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #37

Context — Send in the little guy to get the big guy.

 

37.
The window through which she’d just one dog tossed
was open wide to welcome evening breeze,
but closed by metal netting, crissed- and crossed
defense against mosquito-borne disease.
Unfortunately for Abu, it failed
to serve its function, as a gaping hole
in no way this dog’s entry did curtail,
and thus a bug could easily just stroll
directly through the window, toward its prey,
while wing-to-wing with thousand closest friends.
And so BLING flew that unimpeded way,
a wingless bug in flight, the girl pretends.
The forest howls from darkness briefly met
a thrilling YIP! as pup turned air cadet.

Dating’s overused safety valve

Context — I’m at the age where I know people who’ve suddenly ended up single in their late twenties unexpectedly, and are now reestablishing their independent identities.

 

Another lesson passed from pastor on
to friend and then to me was not to date
yourself beyond the point where denouement
should logically in marriage conjugate.
Just take a moment, think of couples who
have spent so many years together their
commitment escalation’s overdue,
then one big conflict causes disrepair.
Were rings on fingers, what are chances both
maturely rise to point where conflicts sow
a bond beyond their fears, through trials growth
their partnership ascends to new plateau?
The conflict resolution forcing band
should speed maturing angsty boy to man.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1, #36

Context — Off to extract Abu for a nighttime test.

 

36.
In no time flat they found themselves before
the house and humble home of young Abu.
They snuck away from front to backside door
and sat to quickly plan what they would do.
As Stella whispered plans, she gauged response
by checking change of puppy panting pace.
And all the while sitting, heard the taunts
of distant creatures in night’s carapace.
With plan selected, Stella threw the ball
of fluff that trusted her since rescue from
the log months back, a life she could recall
compared to this one, well, was deaf and dumb.
She got a chill and shivered. Life apart
from listlessness and teasing warmed her heart.

The William Rule

Context — We understand compound growth for retirement funds. Yet we forget to apply it to humans.

 

A wise friend shared some words with me and tea,
exposed miscalculation many make:
to think projected future’s certainty
is to forget humanity’s opaque.
Our plans depend on snapshot views of life
as fueled by constructs made of folks we know,
imagining a girlfriend as wife,
he said, forgets that people ebb and flow.
For every year we change in slightest ways,
profession to proclivity to place,
compounding this with time means dossier
is shifting floe behind familiar face.
To foster love that troubles perseveres,
commit to reattune your love each year.

The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis response

Context — I liked this Atlantic article on The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis, and felt compelled to summarize it.

 

Atlantic’s foremost feature topped sidebar,
called “Real Roots of Midlife Crisis.” I
was hooked by its assertion’s life’s subpar
when plans from decades past are torn awry.
Our happiness declines from twenty to
age forty-five at rate one-third strength of
involuntary unemployment. View
of life recovers, wisdom lengthens love
and comfort with uncertainty, sangfroid,
and tolerance, thus incubating joy
beyond the mental hooks on which hang flaws
for daily motivation we’ve employed.
High time prepare against despondent nerves:
at thirty, I’m declining down u-curve.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #35

Context — People test people.

 

35.
While settling to bed, an air remained
unsettling and incomplete. Both stirred
instead of nodding gently off, they strained
to shake the air that made them feel interred.
“Hey BLING,” said Stella quietly, to test
if pup was subject to an equal haunt,
“you think Abu is different from the rest?”
She filled ensuing silence, “Yes! A jaunt
is what we need to really verify
if he’s as wedded to adventure as
the two of us, we’ve got to clarify
he’s got precisely what we think he has.”
Unclear if understanding was the cause,
BLING rose to go, and stretched his limbs, and yawned.

Community can be felt silently

Context — It is too easy to judge people who cannot interact with us in the way we are accustomed to being interacted with.

 

I’ve four years stretched across the spheroid earth,
my gravity one year quite upside-down
from where my feet had laid in prior’s berth
of too-hot foam in country shantytown.
My days dilate proportionate to grasp
of conversations flung at me. When tongues
unknown share thoughts, I’d naught on which to clasp,
and so deflate my eager, well-primed lungs.
Abroad, as here, one’s known by mask he takes,
gregarious, reserved, or place betwixt,
while anonymity emasculates
the man who under label is affixed.
May all encountering the foreign know
beneath their silence burns familiar glow.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #34

Context — Canine instincts to rake together a bed hold strong.

 

34.
This somnolence inured to help our team,
arriving sans the stress of discipline
atop their minds, for Grandmum was adream
and showed all signs that she would miss it when
they entered, loud or soft, on toe or heel.
BLING dug his bed into imagined leaf,
as dogs are wont to do, not minding real
floorboards of wood (not leaves) stretched out beneath
their paws. Perhaps we’re opposite of dogs,
who let imagined objects contradict
their eyes and act as asked by body’s logs
encoded for survival. Nature’s tricked
at least one species with genetic code,
that seems from kin to kin does not erode.

Squelch my senses, darkening days

Context — Winter arriveth.

 

The thermonuclear creation eight
and one-half minutes sprint of light away
breathes warmth with which our acids replicate,
but drives off muse with brightness too passé.
Its rise is celebrated with birds’ song,
its set with colors ochre, mauve, and peach,
its entry and egress oft hourlong
to honor switch from darkness caused by breach.
We honor insufficiently the night
and lack of optic brilliances it brings,
which, mixed with actions drunken and contrite
leave scaffolds onto which emotion clings.
The blind can hear with keenness that’s unmatched,
just as heart amplifies when sun’s dispatched.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #33

Context — ‘Shamba’ is the Swahili word for farm.

 

33.
By time that BLING and Stella made it home,
old Grandmum, deep asleep, was unperturbed,
her habit never had been to go comb
the outdoors for her girl. A tame suburb
was not remotely where their shamba stood,
encouraging the elderly to stay
indoors, and sheltered from the fearsome wood,
to not participate in nature’s fray.
And, much like humans everywhere, her fears
ensconced themselves in hidden world view,
her attitudes soon justified the years
she’d never ventured forth to find the new.
But actions molding mind deserve no blame:
dear Reader, we’re both subject to the same.

Rich brown, rich blue

Context — August highway desert dreams.

 

The straight-line gray with yellow racing stripe
extends from tire to edge horizon view,
with buttes like pioneers’ wide ferrotype
and endless skies of southwest Xanadu.
A Belgium distance left of desert weave
before arriving at next port of call,
heat shimmers try to make you disbelieve
you glide on dehydrated fireball.
With cirrus streaks at 12 clicks off the ground
to beckon nimbostratus thunderhead
you know a monsoon’s brew will dump earthbound,
saguaros quenched to stand encumbered, fed.
In quiet times closed eyes are commandeered:
eyelids Sonora’s panoramic seared.

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