Sonnets

I write sonnets to hold myself together.

Tag: life lesson

A morning prayer

Today I wake and wish tranquility
has steeped into my soul from light of stars.
I hope as well that found humility,
sincerity and warmth will thwart all scars.
Today I wish that optimism brings
the energy and focus for to change
the darknesses to which our foibles cling
amidst respect that life is thus arranged.
Today I wake my gratitude the just
hold righteousness and peace in either hand,
my knowledge that with industry we must
seek ever-loving ways to understand.
Today I seek companions of compare
and welcome every help to live this prayer.

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Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 2, #30

Context — There are many kids of intelligence

 

Linguistic mastery is but one face
of all intelligence a body has.
Its kinesthetic face allows for grace
and tonal face births unexpected jazz,
its numbers side perfected by savants
allows near-instantly computed sums,
its introspective side dissects your wants,
and geospatial side makes true maps’ rhumbs.
As many kinds of smarts exist as lives
are postulated for a cat to hold,
yet placement test would eight of these deny
and simply ask retell what has been told.
Evaluations sadly thus exclude
assessment of the boy’s full aptitude.

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.

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.

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.

We harbor civil war

Context — A new friend described the tension elaborated on herein. I hope he is wildly successful in his marriage of the two.

 

There’s folks in California northern here
agreeing with what Vedas say in script
that souls in repetition reappear
until transcending all that’s derelict.
Geneticists, on other hand, propound
millennia of ancestors controlled
dimensions, penchants, habits that abound
in frail body vehicles ensouled.
Affliction thus corporeal against
resuscitated pneuma, wise with age,
experience this time’s by body fenced,
and limited by ancestors’ writ page.
This conflict stews as chowder in our lives,
in cycles both enhances and deprives.

Painted faces

Context — Who doesn’t hide?

 

The painted face of clown a frown conceals,
like insecurities from high school hide
beneath the pancake makeup’s rouge ideal
that blends to blandest blank when misapplied.
The painted face of politician shows
a pearly reassurance, while inside
exposure of his costume’s seams’ poor sews
would spew the toxic stuffing he’d allied.
The painted face of me in settings dense
with people who I’ve never met, smile wide
is channel for anxieties intense,
pretending I’ve no fragile underside.
No matter how we try be genuine,
our daily lives at times make mice of men.

Respectful disagreement with the chorus

Context — It is pleasing that so many voices are trying to work out The Good Life.

 

A Rolling Stone says live to truly rock,
GQ attests that life’s pursuit is class,
the pastor asks you shepherd family flock
as Jesus would with love that’s unsurpassed.
Your teacher says it’s diligence that’s key,
your coach proclaimed that sweat is all that counts,
The Prince would posit ruthlessness decreed
and rule through power’s how you life surmount.
Our heroes, saints, and stars, our parents, kin,
and friends and guides and authors’ deadened prints
proclaim the good life’s reachable therein,
if we’re to acts advice they give imprint.
With chorus’ clamor voice here disagrees:
go follow none. Just BE authentically.

Material, companion, blueprint

Context: Raw materials alone do not a building make.

 

From binge to purge to living far away,
and coming home, reflecting on my deeds,
in time I’ve moved beyond naiveté
about beliefs and habits, tastes and creeds.
Proclivities thus understood, I think,
brings rebar, lumber, glass to vacant lot
where life I’ll build with these joys interlinked
will weather fires and floods that life will plot.
Materials are key, but incomplete:
I lack a way to architect the blocks
because my future visions all compete
despite each one perfection in its stock.
A dozen lives of good could manifest–
what’s built depends on who I brook as guest.

Even the happy man searches out his own discontent

Context — Yesterday I wrote about one episode of a persistent searching behavior I couldn’t seem to understand. It spans other parts of my life.

 

I angered at myself when browsing lists
of properties as yesterday described,
and knew not how contentment coexists
in mind with want to greener grass imbibe.
In vein alike, I woke from stupor as
I looked at other job descriptions, not
the man who’s thankful with all that he has,
but rather whose decisions ever-fraught.
Confused I sat, reflecting why lust’s eyes
ranged far into these lives I did not lead,
when daily way I did was optimized
for joy within my means, nigh guaranteed.
The life not lived can cloy the strongest mind
to thinking lot he has wrongly unkind.

Your shiny tools contract my pupils and vision

Context — Envy is motivating. Envy is demotivating.

 

How often I did lounge in corner dark
while viewing boisterous silver tongues hold court
amid a leaned-in crowd hung on remarks
of wit or gossip, treasure, or disport.
I looked across those rooms with jealous eyes
below my mask of softened face, a glaze
to hide green envy grown to agonize
my mind tomorrow, molding more malaise.
And others still had qualities I found
improved upon mine own in measures great.
The thing I never noticed when spellbound
was how they altogether aggregate:
I’d judged their single tools of better grade,
forgot full toolbox has one tool outplayed.

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!

Knowing not which mountain until crisis

Context — We climb the same mountains relentlessly and blindfolded.

 

I’m stranded on a cliff sans bivouac,
its pockmarked cleft unrecognized, although
I’ve trapped me here before: amnesiac
to past divined solutions apropos.
The cliff of stilted speech, the cliff of stress,
the anxious cliff, and cliff oblivious
stand geologic time, their routes outguess
ascent attempts. They think me pity, thus
presenting selves identically as problems time
and time again. Why must ability
to know I’m back in broken paradigm
lag so behind? Each time futility.
Why must my speed of self-improvement be
so limited to problems I’ve perceived?

The sprinter is forever out of time

Context — I know a lot of driven people. Time passes quickly for them.

 

High lactic acid’s now become her base,
exertion past the point she recognized.
Her muscle equilibrium’s replaced
rejuvenating oxygen. Disguised
as daily dulling pain, she feels her neck
begin to stiffen, and her head to ache.
Her office now in ergonomics decked,
though yet can’t body’s healthful thirst quite slake.
She knows it not, but others quickly see
she’s running ever-faster in slight curve.
she misperceives as straight and leading to marquee,
her name lit up for colleagues to observe.
In churning, there’s a key thing she forgot
it takes some time to have reflective thought.

Teach me the skill to recognize I am an experiment

Context — I navigate life using an endless series of small tests.

 

I run experiments to go without:
to stay awake, to forego meat, to stop
bad speech about a person, to not pout,
to keep a month of temperance, to swap
my thoughts of future for the thoughts of now,
or to compare myself to only me,
instead of others, or to disavow
my inner critic, or go gluten-free,
to radically decrease sweets and caffeine,
to ignore what my mind suggests for guts
and instinct. As result, my life careens,
its definition’s ever-shifting gluts.
Instead of all the facts they teach in school,
why not make self reflection Golden Rule?

#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.

Directive ghosts of individuation

Context — for all souls who have ever felt different.

 

The fire started burning round age eight
as if he meant to strike a different path.
It popped to flame from ember when sedate
as if aloneness solely solved the math.
He walked among the others, just like them
in thought and insecurity, in deed,
aware in no true way his forked brain stem
would from his wanted world make him recede.
For, louder than his voice there was a roar,
subsonic yet perceptible. Its slant
an influential contra-sweep of oar
against the river’s customary cant.
The years would force him soon enough enquire
if he could salamander be, not pyre.

Stressss

Context — …

 

The dead in deadline lines your mind, the grave
gargantuan and ghastly, grizzled ghoul
from filter fog advances, face concave
and cut with foolish failures, ridicule.
Approaching closer still, you see beyond
the caverns carved in look, and breath aborts–
you’re frozen, yearning, cannot correspond.
You see it’s you before you who reports.
“The grind,” your future past coughs out,
exhaustedly. Her crater cataracts
tell quietly of how she’s been devout
to work. Once prose, whose words her work redacts.
As minionlike to work you yourself veil,
life catalytic cortisol curtails.

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.

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