Sonnets

I write sonnets to hold myself together.

Tag: self-improvement

Unfree will

Context — We expect much of each other.

 

Perfection was endowed on day of birth,
a canvas sans a single shade or stroke.
Discoveries of childhood left mirth
as sole emotion humanhood unyoked.
The purity was riven when first word
of anger from frustration sliced her ears.
That temperamental outburst overheard
loosed brainstem acid, shame, remorse, and fears.
At once her psyche’s solitude was ceased,
in unlit mental grotto sprouted one
of many goblins yet to be released
who’d taunt her towards what others wanted done.
This bow to crowds’ wants multiplicity’s
corrupting act of all societies.

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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.

Unconscious doctrinaire paths

Context — On the way down Yosemite’s Four Mile Trail I looked north across the valley toward the greatness of a two thousand foot waterfall. My eyes saw it but my mind was elsewhere. In that visual I realized I’d never intentionally made a choice to try or not try to be a bigwig.

Eight thousand feet from eye to waterfall
quadrupled height the water fell. Yet glaze
preoccupied view with stigmata’s pall.
That darkening concerned my dossier:
I’d spent my school years reading of the greats—
Ashoka, Christ, Mandela, MLK.
That hero-worship soon indoctrinates
desire to rank oneself. It did conflate
inspiring eminence with grounding fact.
And so I grew to systematically
doubt choices made, as each one could detract
from greatness. Pain’s source? Just fanatic me.
Removed from falls, I saw whole close concealed,
thereby revealing own Achilles’ heel.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tailored shirts covering fools’ hearts

Context — The difficulty of saying is that one cannot un-say.

 

The finest shirt, French cuffed and cotton, pressed,
portrays sophistication none denounce.
Yet when the shirt of thread is dispossessed,
its sole unraveling takes ounce by ounce
aesthetics first, then function, cancer that
a scissor snip can slow, but never stop.
I worry that in world aristocrat
rogue thread is unintended malaprop:
to fly ideas fancifully as if
they came in passing, unconsidered, may
if seen as overstepping, cause a rift
in fabric, as in trust that’s cast away.
The yarn you pull to weave could wreck what’s on
the cloth: beware the heart-fueled lexicon.

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.

Identity is so easily decomposed

Context — The simplified Olympic rings of me.

 

As kid I thought no separation kept
myself from all the universe that served
me. Individuation slowly crept
to psyche as I wider world observed.
Upon reflection now at thirty, Venn
describes identity and concept of:
I’m overlapping circles, self is when
my stories, skills, and habits mosh and shove
each other in the center of the chart.
Why? I am who I tell myself to be,
my body’s limits anchor me apart,
my routines yesterday’s–fait accompli.
I’ll reinvent myself, these mental wings
all stem from view of self as triad rings.

A seance for my grandmother

Context — I never learned as much from my ancestors as I should have. At this life stage, it’s making me wish I’d known how to do that better.

I knew no way in which I’d ever walk
down paths that those before me here have tread,
thought words they shared halfwitted poppycock
accrued by minds who’ve lesser lives here led.
Myopia and utter hubris were
Achilles’ heel while growing up, and now
I’ve lost so many joys to what recurs
from failing to have learned lessons endowed.
Exuberance at bushwhacking own trail
has waned, exertion heavy to the bone,
as age begun on body to detail
and threatens to leave me two score, alone.
With wand I’d wish to summon parents past,
soliciting their wisdom life’s amassed.

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.

Expectations make roads, nobody says you can tread on grass

Context — Quell fear with a rebranded view of the track you’ve been set upon.

You’re born and you become the object of
two overwhelmed adults who’ve sacrificed
their social lives and duties. You’re above
the all of their past selves that they’ve repriced.
And then the race begins: the race to speak,
the race to crawl, the race to walk, the race
to talk, the race of smarts and of physique,
a path dependency that’s you encased.
To view each step as moving towards a goal,
advancing also further from liked paths,
in fear that all your choices are controlled
by choices past is fearful, faulty math.
Days’ supernova possibilities
digested can themselves will your mind free.

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?

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