Sonnets

I write sonnets to hold myself together.

Tag: Stanford

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.

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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.

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.

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.

The Cheesecake Factory

Context — Improbably, I attended business school. At the start of it I began writing sonnets; I’d email them to people after events that I thought would be fun to remember. This one went to a dozen. I slowed and eventually stopped with time as responses were sparse. Likely only makes sense for the GSBers out there. Written 10 October 2009, sonnet 16.

 

CAT, Global, LPF, finance
stacked back-to-back to end the week,
from Gladwell’s Blink to bribing rants,
our brains were full, our wills worn weak.
One part of our day remained free,
the end of much and start of more:
our evening dining, merrily
without participation scored.
The service sucked, the food was great,
we waited more than one forever
before Melis could join, we ate,
our banter hearty, witty, clever.
In three hours of our savoir faire
Alas! Not one ate cheesecake there.

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