Sonnets

I write sonnets to hold myself together.

Tag: archives

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

#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?

#43: A second 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. Final one pending.

 

While sitting on soapbox philosophy,
my righteousness is voiced as normative:
with voice made hoarse to get across, in plea
to MBAs two fragments, formative
from counted days I that I spent laid in pain,
a sample of the years of work germs steal
as unclean, filthy water, inhumane
and yet, we’ve blinded selves to this ordeal.
I bullhorn GSB with fragment one,
determined to improve our water’s state,
while undermining haughtiness begun
when classmates worry for family estates–
I’ll mute my judgment now and save applause
the wealth itself is fine, but for a cause.

#42: A first 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. I’ll post the other two over the next week.

 

My Arizona silver spoon aside,
a year in Tanzania ‘llowed for sight
across the fence, of other half untried,
as destitute as China. Black and white
were blurred by daily clash of thought with deeds:
“they say the Middle Kingdom’s on the rise,
yet poor are poor, while wealth of some exceeds
all dreams, unfairness that goes undisguised.”
So mystified was I how pure content
was broadcast when in Africa or Isles,
despite no wallet padding to augment
their fortunes when subject to fate’s harsh wiles.
With time and thought I found, while mapping this:
they’re poor in cents but not in happiness.

Thanksgiving Oolong Divination

Context — One Thanksgiving we tried to divine our futures using tea leaves. Sonnet 29, 11/26/09

 

When Giving Thanks, tradition to the wind!
A gathering of family from afar
surrounded saucer, cameras and grins
alight as tea is spooned to cup from jar.
The zodiac is banded ’round the rim
inside the teacup, fortunes each have space
that’s told when design is obscured, made dim
by laggard tea leaves floating off the base.
My christening attempt blacked moon and glove,
tarot holdovers kept for modern sage,
which foretold lack of passion, worthless love
and search for justice–challenge of my age.
Enjoying thoughts steeped in this platitude,
we’ve jumbled hopes and fears with gratitude.

Migration

Context — I was once concerned that someone lacked a halo after moving between some odd places. Written some winters ago.

 

The kidney of a caribou is ripe
when made in Inuvik, but nowhere else,
an Arctic try at replicating tripe
as raw as raw can be without its pelts.
Kannapolis, from Canada, appears
red, white and blue at least, but suffers from
its Southern clime, a backwardness that nears
an incapacitation, deaf and dumb.
To boot, I hear from Dale Earnhardt Way
that solace isn’t had at home or work,
as you weren’t choosing where it was you’d stay
so, housed with boss, you’re bound to go berserk.
Such news brought worried furrow to my brow,
as if to ask: “I know it’s gone–but how?”

For _____, unsent

Context — I apologized to a girl once. December 28, a while ago.

 

To Palo Alto air blew south from north,
from late September through the holidays,
in nightly cycles round my lungs brought forth
your memory, which pierced my stolid ways.
You’ve eyes that fix me blushing in my place,
a confidence that steadies others’ hope,
a wit to dispatch hangers-on with haste,
are striking to the point it’s hard to cope.
My shame no longer reasoned an excuse,
my mind reframed our pleasant past undone,
I’d drive to find you, hoping that the bruise
would heal when I admit to love of one.
Reduced by your Canadian vignette,
the boy, mistaken, voiced his first regret.

Above Nevada

Context — Living in Arusha up in the hills of Mt Meru and writing about my absorption of that experience meant Young Me left a lot of written suggestions for Future Me. One of them was that money’s really not an end. I wrote this on a plane while headed back to grad school for recruiting season, a frustrating pony show of false camaraderie. Sonnet 30, penned 12/01/09.

 

At thirty thousand feet aloft, I swam
through dusty nighttime sky with darkened thought.
Two years of working told both who I am
and places where my dedication’s sought.
To ponder planning’s suitable tonight,
as summer jobs await upon return.
I maintain hope that aerial insight
will tell me where, when, and from whom to earn
the thirty thousand dollars I require
to be both frugal and, at once, provide
for family, aging, illness and retire
the milestones of life gleaned from outside.
Advice I read I wrote when my to-do
was blotted by the rains of Mt Meru.

Rediscover the Wild West

Context — I love the southwest and wrote this to invite classmates on a December road trip with me through northern Arizona and southern Utah. Sonnet 28, 11/22/09

 

A land of browns was painted scarlet where
thick dust and rock were worn by water’s course,
six thousand feet of strata shining, bare
the gorgeous gorge from Colorado’s force.
Beside the Canyon flood and sandstone fought
beneath the hooves of hunted Antelope
to shield themselves from surface sun onslaught,
a slotted labyrinth of orange and taupe.
Escaping nature, they carved home from cliff:
the Anasazi “House Under the Rock”
had just one thousand years of life, what if
more words were left to pick history’s lock?
December tenth through seventeenth, succumb
to desert solitaire. You ought to come.

Traffic is the end of the universe

Context — I used to get mild road rage. Then I realized there were only two consistent contributing factors: an endless number of unexpected things that drivers will do, and me. This is about controlling the second. 27th sonnet, written 11/18/09.

 

When those who meet should find themselves apart,
’tis likely that a traffic jam now springs
upon unwitting streets, metallic art
that stops man’s movement, with it anger brings
a melancholy haunting near and far,
a chemical released when all cars cease
that sucks synapses dry of dopamine,
ensuing blueness then doled out on lease
to overactive vocal chords, face green
with rage shot out the window, on the phone,
to vacuum spaces not inclined to hear
of timing troubles, his and his alone.
Though traffic’s cleared, frustration’s cloud yet steers.
It puzzles me, the depth of woe we feel
constructing problems for ourselves, none real.

In a desert

Context — I used to be really bad at writing sonnets. I recently discovered this when looking through the earliest ones that I have record of. It took me until my eleventh (below) to say something at least mildly interesting, and even in this one (unedited) I’ve completely forgotten the right number of syllables and proper meter. Written 17 September 2009, and shared only so that you know what to do if your plane ever crash lands in the desert.

 

If in a desert you should find
yourself and six or seven friends
stranded with a sun unkind,
and want to avoid bitter ends
make sure you take a single mirror
as salvage from the accident,
bajillions candlepower clearer,
will be your signals, just like print
to passing search planes overhead
wanting to spy your folded ‘chute
and you curled on your topcoat beds
become survivors of repute.
Ah! Confidence, and expertise,
are both confused with too much ease.

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