Sonnets

I write sonnets to hold myself together.

Tag: friends

Flight at Camp

Context — Reflection from my night of reentry after Camp Grounded.

 

Amongst the redwoods pecked by birds’ red heads
there echoed syncopated knocks. The birds
in cunning chipped from nature new homesteads
in bark, while we tried do the same in words.
We tethered selves to one another, mesh
of social filaments’ complexity
reached Moorish richness as each one afresh
pursued connections not through tech’s debris.
In food, in play, in pause, in awestruck eye,
in touch, in skill, in cuddle puddle’s slack
we each found ways to knotty selves untie,
then salvaged threads, patched spots where mesh had gap.
It strengthened hard, became an aileron
to steer beyond smalltalk’s automaton.

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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.

The picnic sonnet

Context — This one’s just for those who understand it.

 

To help some folks craft what they will achieve
in education from where sun does scorch,
a missive came that bade me up and leave
in half a fortnight from my homey porch.
With holiday aligned to interests mine,
I thus convened a Tuesday picnic so
I’d see the faces that I’d like enshrined
in smiling memory of SF’s glow.
With each reply my heart grew quarter-sized,
as Grinch against his will was won anew.
I knew responses were supporters, prized
their sentiments although they’d work curfews.
I toast Sebastien, Alison, and Crow
for loyalty to come and say hello!

We are better as an Enterprise

Context — Time affects minds affects bodies affects actions. Ain’t nothing affects a spaceship.

 

What tardy signs of aging plague our days?
The stiffening of joints, the ossified
perspectives where once thrived the polyphase,
and matte where once beamed glow and gloss inside.
Its territory known increasingly,
its navigator tires of the details,
its habits overwhelm unceasing plea
of world’s rebirths, but nothing countervails.
With body as mere vessel to explore
the planet Earth, commanded by the mind,
we’d act more freely if thought commodore
of spaceship made to research humankind:
from Frankenstein’d galactic alcazar
steer endless expedition through our stars.

An Ode: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2K14

Context — Thanks to [Warren] Hellmann’s mayonnaise, San Francisco has a 3-day, 7-stage free bluegrass festival every year. Thanks to serendipity, I ran across a college friend in the grocery eight months ago who was kind enough to invite me into her and her friends’ tradition to set up by the Banjo Stage.

A dawn patrol, or Alpine Crew, it’s called
woke early, packed the tarps and blankets, ice
aplenty in the cooler, then installed
them in parquet near banjo paradise.
The sun stayed ‘low the treeline ’till round ten,
burritos gorged and frisbees fled the scene,
retired as we welcomed friend and kin
to watch Time Jumpers, Dave Rawlings Machine
and Saint Paul & The Broken Bones put on
a show that Freddy Mercury’d be keen
to stage, its verve exploding vocal bombs
that harmed none’s exoskeleton sunscreen.
Tradition opened thanks to new comrades:
a better Saturday could not be had.

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.

Go, solve the problem of bars

Context — the share of people who have the social skills to navigate bars and pick people up is small. Yet bars persist as a dating venue out of the hope that some day, those of us without will somehow strike it lucky. Here’s a proposal to shortcircuit patience.

 

A problem that we’ve yet to fix is this:
at bars, the boys and girls in circles chase,
yet few possess the charm and steadiness
to launch themselves at strangers. Commonplace
is groups that came together shutting out
all others, yet at same time survey prey.
“Brah, go and get her,” goading goes, knockout
demurely sitting not so far away.
Imagine if one charmer there was brought,
employed to mix the people, did what our
denominators’ common lows do not
and matched you using social superpower.
Two people, one suggestive starter noun
and watch connection barriers come down.

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?”

Why, neighbors, are we not as a village?

Context — I canceled my Netflix subscription after cavorting with Karl the Fog one evening.

 

He walks with fog, which overtakes him to
then vaporize itself into the night.
They alternate their homonyms blue/blew
and drift past curtains lit with lazulite.
Outside, the street prefers its orange burn
to counteract the water in the mist,
as if lamp hues make pavement taciturn,
‘neath cathode rays layered into curtain schist.
The narrative the night had brought was old,
unaltered since an age Akkadian.
While windows each hold stories tubes unfold
in alpha glows that mock circadian.
Shut from black’s binding commonality,
each life diverged to screen’s reality.

Sonnet 17: Sonnet 0, Tardy

Context — little did I know how far I’d go when I shared this in October 2009. It started as my first sonnet, but was finalized as my seventeenth. Looking back, it’s funny how loose I was with meter and syllable count.

 

What starts as a trick may yet soon become habit,
since finding an outlet for arts is no cinch,
I’ll arrest your inbox, I’ll grab it and jab it,
and stuff it with letters without but a flinch.
Quotidian basis for writing these beasts,
should prove most sufficient to bellow the fires,
a Muse rising upwards within me, like yeast
that climbs without climbing, its aims always higher.
When with time I’ll stack words, acknowledging blessing
with meaning and mystery, equal in measure
but maintain the sonnet, change only its dressing
(the meter) but never its iambic pleasure.
Who knew that a draft that lingered half-complete
would become the hobby I’ll never delete?

Love Quest Colorado

Context — my best mate from college, to whom I owe far more than a single sonnet, realized when we were in China that his love was elsewhere. We were delighted that he left to live with her family in Colorado, earn room and board by helping out around the house, and get her back. Written 1 October 2009, sonnet 13.

 

John, once cardinally confused,
misplaced the place that California goes
and, leaving every friend bemused,
drove eastward, eastward, climbing rows
of mountains piling high: the Rockies,
to lend a hand in house and work,
where autumn falls and snow soon jockeys
for the ground. And in exchange, the perk
was warmth of home and hearth, the glow
of doing things by hand, creating
a permanence anew. Her beau
so close! Indeed, she tired of waiting.
Kira, patient, would take him back
and fill for both what both had lacked.

Hennessey and fear of heights doth neighbors make

Context — Saturday afternoon I received a text asking if I wanted to go to Santa Rosa to boulder. Yes, obviously. We instead lunched with a panorama view of SF, went to a bouldering gym in Potrero, and somehow got invited in to take shots of Hennessey at a 3-year old’s birthday party. It warrants picture proof.

photo 3

 

Improbability was key. She texts
to say we’re headed up to where wine’s made
and that in twenty minutes she’ll collect
my body to climb rock without belay.
Upon my seat in car, the plan becomes
tectonic in predictability
with items beyond lunch earning but mum
and audible to Thai soliloquy.
So noodles on Twin Peaks we had and then
by arbitrary vote drove to some walls
where slipping was okay, where closest zen
was recognizing when it’s time to fall.
Graffiti tour in Mission jacked by boss
who forced a salvo dozen-strong of sauce.

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