Sonnets

I write sonnets to hold myself together.

Tag: society

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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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.

Us, if known nothingness

Context — If sunset ended the universe, how might we fill today?

 

With neither rapture nor apocalypse,
tomorrow simply ceased to hither come:
we knew precisely twelve o’clock eclipsed
our world back to interstellar mum.
Work stopped without a future left to serve.
In instants, life lost sense of scarcity.
All peoples said their peace, left naught reserved.
Folks cleansed themselves with prayer, errs set free.
Most lacking time to travel out to where
their loved ones dwelled in distant places, they
sought solace from their neighbors, offered care
of human warmth they’d let days’ grind decay.
It took catastrophe to strip facade
so each treats each as delegate of god.

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.

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.

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.

Splintering herds

Context — Changing natural patterns disequilibrates.

 

Were prides to fall apart and cubs all stood
alone, their youth would bear calamity.
Were pods to cease existing, dolphins would
be mavericks drifting, stripped of amity.
Were flying V’s transformed to flying slash
with mutiny of members, looking out
for selves, they’d leave a cloudy balderdash
of jet streams vying alternating routes.
Were penguin, fat with blubber, waddle from
the belly warmth of strangers, arctic snow
would pierce his hide until his frame succumbed
to reaper’s natural adagio.
When man departs who reared him and withdraws,
we toast his gutsiness and give applause.

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.

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.

Piling together our comfort-inducing trifles of transit

Context — Thoughts of inequality haunt me. This version came as we were landing at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg.

 

A mustard light shined through the dingy glass,
augmented by the bulbs of chandelier,
illuminating tilework with last
adulterated dusky rays. A tear
began to well on iris, as to wilt
its floral lens so often tinted rose.
For there an overwhelming sense of guilt
to winter thus my spring bud view had froze.
Grand Central Station, thousands treaded through,
and purchased Dunkin coffees, three bucks each,
a sum in minutes, were it to accrue,
enough to fix a shortage, let us teach
Rwanda’s thousand hungry pupils met
so distant from our well-intentioned fete.

Shard of the reverberating urban story

Context — rural America brain drain.

 

With brain too large to fit her birth’s small town,
her valediction speech marked final part
with Hillsboro, to college from godown
to fill her head while trickled dry her heart.
For four flash years she changed taxonomy:
community from family tree to fern,
its leaves abuzz. What home lacked spawned from glee
at having people everywhere she turned.
Post-second graduation, seasons fell–
a swelling freeze that isolated leaves
in ice. Aloneness housing’s walls impelled,
adulthood youth’s community upheaved.
Her loved ones parted once for brain, and twice
when friends for jobs their tethers sacrificed.

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.

Binge, binge, binge, binge, purge

Context — Today you are given chances to live as did the richest of historical empresses. Yesterday, you were also given that option. And will be tomorrow. Purchasing culture is almost as ingrained as the habits I chide below.

 

Two dozen binges and their matched-up purge
were marketed to modern me today.
Buy kicks, style bangs, drink upper shelf, the urge
to purchase more was everywhere purveyed.
In decade past, I’ve cycled nearly through
the glitter given gaudily by each,
got guilt from the impermanence, eschewed
reactively the advertised life preached.
In purges, though, I see philosophy:
the habits of our daily lives are hid
in cloaks mundane. Restart! If lost, if freed
is test for substance, ego, thought, and id.
With nine and twenty years of grime, machine
I live in might need periodic clean.

Eye blink

Context — dinosaurs lacked the Haber-Bosch process and didn’t emit CO2. If they were around for an entire human lifetime-equivalent, we would just have been born. Dinosaur names aren’t iambic (i.e. ig-WAH-no-col-AH-sus) so forgive me for changing the meter and relaxing the syllable constraints so it’s readable.

 

The stygimoloch (demon, horned, from Styx)
existed in the late Cretaceous age.
With quetzalcoatlus wings intermixed,
both ground and air had macro macrophage.
Iguanacolossus was whale of land
to demon as old as demon to us.
I clarify so you don’t misunderstand
improbably lengthy time length discussed.
Triceratops (young torosaurus) ate
the foliage that mammoths left behind.
Post-millions moons of feasts, we excavate
its bones. Once, Gaia’s climate redesigned
itself. Despite ten-thousand year romance,
mankind’s supremacy on earth is chance.

Cretaceous caffeine

Context — an inspiringly heavy cup of coffee started some thinking about the point of origin for our organic and inorganic society.

 

I like my coffee’s closest counterpart
to be La Brea’s sand pits, dinosaurs
reduced as age’s pressures pound apart
the bodies’ bones to effervescent ore
that’s viscous as six dozen million years’
compression of organic creamy gook.
Yes, take the tar’s obsidian veneer,
the jet black gold tectonics overcooked
and skim the top for hydrocarbon vim,
the disembodied energetic eau,
distill to gasoline, then fuel our whim
with fire powering our robots’ glow.
Tyrannosaurus spirits feed machines
mechanical and live amphetamine.

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.

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