Sonnets

I write sonnets to hold myself together.

Tag: Stella

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.

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Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 2, #57

Context — As brief as East African linguistic history can get.

 

57.
Swahili as a language came about
when local Bantu language family
put sprinkled nouns from Arabic throughout
its lexicon. They fit uncannily
by making simply one new class of nouns
for ported words. It matched in syntax and
in structure what the Bantu spoke. Scale down
the breadth of words a speaker need command
to few, with fewer synonyms–voila!
A language meant for trade, and quick to learn
emerged. And thus those following Allah
could come and talk and trade, go and return.
Their commerce spread the language nationwide,
cohesive grout that unified the tribes.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 2, #31

Context — Further evidence that Volume 2 is being written. I’m finally getting back into production mode.

31.
Young Abu’s brain plasticity was high
and matched by dread and drive from family’s chat
about today and futures it implied.
He’d seen hand-lettered poster, dirtied matte
hung low beside headmaster’s broken door
so kids could read it. There would be reward
from China’s embassy for s/he who scored
the highest on the test: they’d be offshored
and sent to Middle Kingdom on exchange,
overtly building business ties between
the countries. They were wise to prearrange
such opportunity to make serene
their future interactions. Abu’d rest
not once until exams showed him the best.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers: Earth Day edition

Context — It’s Earth Day. Another excerpt from the second volume in honor. Or, at least in lambaste of climate change deniers.

26.
To punctuate the dryness of the sky,
and sate the shriveled souls on plains who prayed,
a single day of storm swept to supply
the creeks with flows enough to ankle-wade.
Deniers on the radio used this
and recency, a bias we all share,
to say that Man’s done naught to shake earth’s bliss
with CO2, those hackneyed doctrinaires.
As rain made waterfall of cloud, Abu
attached his own self-worth to mastery
of syllabus his country’s retinue
of ministers, professors, teachers see
as critical to education for
the youth, new Tanzania’s guarantors.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 2, #Prologue

Context — I haven’t written anything public in a while. I’m working on Volume 2 of Stella’s book right now, while Volume 1’s getting gussied up with beautiful work from a local artist. I’m far (far) from being done with number two, but here’s the first draft of the start, for whistle-whetting.

 

PROLOGUE

I’d once thought elephants just animals,
that is, before we made them to our own,
pretended pogo’s bounce like man, in wool,
made emblem of the Pioneers alone.
We’d earned our Afro title, but not yet
our Asiatic half, so here I’ll give
perspectives from the front lines where quartet
was forged from trio’s sleuthing dividends.
We’d learned from solving Gumi’s mystery
dependence on ourselves when foreignness
from nature, nurture, custom, history,
surrounded. We’d be needing more than this.
I thus present to you the second tome:
of how we left and recreated home.

Stella
September 22, 2037

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #37

Context — Send in the little guy to get the big guy.

 

37.
The window through which she’d just one dog tossed
was open wide to welcome evening breeze,
but closed by metal netting, crissed- and crossed
defense against mosquito-borne disease.
Unfortunately for Abu, it failed
to serve its function, as a gaping hole
in no way this dog’s entry did curtail,
and thus a bug could easily just stroll
directly through the window, toward its prey,
while wing-to-wing with thousand closest friends.
And so BLING flew that unimpeded way,
a wingless bug in flight, the girl pretends.
The forest howls from darkness briefly met
a thrilling YIP! as pup turned air cadet.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1, #36

Context — Off to extract Abu for a nighttime test.

 

36.
In no time flat they found themselves before
the house and humble home of young Abu.
They snuck away from front to backside door
and sat to quickly plan what they would do.
As Stella whispered plans, she gauged response
by checking change of puppy panting pace.
And all the while sitting, heard the taunts
of distant creatures in night’s carapace.
With plan selected, Stella threw the ball
of fluff that trusted her since rescue from
the log months back, a life she could recall
compared to this one, well, was deaf and dumb.
She got a chill and shivered. Life apart
from listlessness and teasing warmed her heart.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #35

Context — People test people.

 

35.
While settling to bed, an air remained
unsettling and incomplete. Both stirred
instead of nodding gently off, they strained
to shake the air that made them feel interred.
“Hey BLING,” said Stella quietly, to test
if pup was subject to an equal haunt,
“you think Abu is different from the rest?”
She filled ensuing silence, “Yes! A jaunt
is what we need to really verify
if he’s as wedded to adventure as
the two of us, we’ve got to clarify
he’s got precisely what we think he has.”
Unclear if understanding was the cause,
BLING rose to go, and stretched his limbs, and yawned.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #34

Context — Canine instincts to rake together a bed hold strong.

 

34.
This somnolence inured to help our team,
arriving sans the stress of discipline
atop their minds, for Grandmum was adream
and showed all signs that she would miss it when
they entered, loud or soft, on toe or heel.
BLING dug his bed into imagined leaf,
as dogs are wont to do, not minding real
floorboards of wood (not leaves) stretched out beneath
their paws. Perhaps we’re opposite of dogs,
who let imagined objects contradict
their eyes and act as asked by body’s logs
encoded for survival. Nature’s tricked
at least one species with genetic code,
that seems from kin to kin does not erode.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #33

Context — ‘Shamba’ is the Swahili word for farm.

 

33.
By time that BLING and Stella made it home,
old Grandmum, deep asleep, was unperturbed,
her habit never had been to go comb
the outdoors for her girl. A tame suburb
was not remotely where their shamba stood,
encouraging the elderly to stay
indoors, and sheltered from the fearsome wood,
to not participate in nature’s fray.
And, much like humans everywhere, her fears
ensconced themselves in hidden world view,
her attitudes soon justified the years
she’d never ventured forth to find the new.
But actions molding mind deserve no blame:
dear Reader, we’re both subject to the same.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #32

Context — …

 

32.
of sun, as hope, that shined through thickened banks,
intoxicating childhood fantasies.
Then Stella said, “I never thought our ranks
would swell to three. So, maybe you agree?”
Once voiced, the weighty ask left Stella light,
as wispy in the wind as he had seemed.
Her simple act of being so forthright
was tinged by risk that, offer unredeemed
from girl in search of true companionship,
would crush her confidence like bully’s punch.
“You know, I heard a lonesome banyan strip
is hidden in the forest. After lunch
tomorrow, let’s go bushwhack, just because
it isn’t native shouldn’t give us pause.”

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #31

Context — Resonance’s delirium.

 

31.
“It’s all affected me since I was young.
My duty’s to become a worldly sheikh,
regain the face we had before we’d flung
ourselves across the world.” Right then, heartbreak,
as far as it could be felt by a child
enveloped Stella, who had long without
a standard parent ever reconciled,
no mother, father figure. Left in doubt,
she there, with Abu, jointly understood
they longed in ways to see the wider world,
they sought in ventures meaning, wondered could
they forge themselves in wilderness. Thoughts swirled
above their heads as if they’d conjured clouds
of dreams between them, heads as hills with shrouds

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #30

Context — Nobody has a simple story.

 

30.
“At home,” Abu began, “I’m one of eight.
My parents heard their cousin’s sister’s niece
was near to an inherited estate,
as diabetes hit. Her man, obese,
was ousted from his title to the land,
my family was left in foreignness
of Tanzania, food and home unplanned.
Imagine,” he continued, “sore in this
is me, forgotten as my family coped
by squatting on some land and planting crops,
subsistence eked out on a plot that sloped
so much your standing view was of treetops
the next plot over. But they still upheld
the family honor, as they felt compelled.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #28

Context — Languages cross-pollinate.

 

28.
“I did!” Abu said, looking then to calm,
“and sorry if I jumped on you just now,
it’s just that no ones gets it right. ‘Salaam’
was our word first in Arabic, like ‘ciao:’
Italian first, then stolen by the Brits.
Swahili’s words ‘salama,’ ‘nyumba,’ ‘saa,’
are ‘peace,’ ‘house,’ ‘hour.’ The tongue of whom submits
to God, translating from Islamic law.”
“You sure do know,” young Stella jumped to add,
“a lot about the globe Miss Gumi got.
And me and BLING been scheming a launchpad
to rocket outta here, a real moon shot!
Assuming that you get my drift, maybe
consider joining in: we’re fine with three.”

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #27

Context — Dream about the diverse wonder of our little dirt ball.

27.
“I think you’ve mixed up your geography.
You’re thinking of the hats that farmers wear
to plant their rice beside the great Yangtze.
Instead, I’m from a place where morning prayer
is routine, so the bells we hear at school
repeatedly remind me that I miss
the modern beat and warmth of Istanbul.”
While listening to Abu reminisce,
young Stella squirmed at being proven wrong,
she hoped she hadn’t bungled this first chance
by thinking Abu’s heritage Hong Kong.
“Apologies! I’m sorry. Would perchance
forgiveness be in store?” the girl replied,
“I thought you perked when she said ‘worldwide.’”

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #26

Context — Cross-cultural understanding + social awkwardness.

 

26.
“Hello, my friend!” our heroine called when
the bells to end their class began to ring.
“Are you from China? Near Tiananmen?
I hear these days we’ve migrants from Peking.”
Abu was startled thrice. The first word, “friend”
had not been said to him since he arrived,
and now to hear so leisurely intend
relationship struck him as quite contrived.
A second startle struck when question mark
was used in Stella’s sentence said to him,
as once from plane his family disembarked
he hadn’t once been asked his thought or whim.
The final startle was, at core she meant
Abu appeared to come from Orient!

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol. 1 #25

Context — Stella wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the speech.

 

25.
delighted Stella, grinning ear to ear
as if she’d heard the words she’d waited for,
who scanned the room to find the most sincere
expression matching hers, on boy ignored
in previous encounters. He was new.
He wore a fez above his eyes afire,
known only by his first name, this Abu,
whom after which not one had once inquired.
Abu looked up at Stella as if asked
the moment Stella looked across at him,
their interest thus at once to both unmasked,
and yet the thought of friendship remained dim.
The hint of interest in the world at large,
plus BLING, empowered Stella to take charge.

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #24

Context — Teacher Gumi’s speech continues.

 

24.
in which your family makes its home. Your birth
was likely under roof you now repair.
Go forth! Uncover each of your own worth
discovering the world. Become aware
of who and what your neighbors are, and why
they act one way and you just find it strange.
Our cultures differ, Paris and Shanghai
could never prosper if both rearranged
their streets and people, let alone swapped out
entire populations, one for one.
There is no guiding road or central route,
you’ll never know you’re done, or lost, or won.
I know you’re young, your vigor and your vim
should guide you.” Silence fell. Her passioned hymn

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #23

Context — Where does our world stretch to?

 

23.
“Our world,” she said, “is vast and stretches past
the farms and fields known by you and yours,
we’ve seen on maps that, though we’re unsurpassed
in resources, there’s places like Azores
which, held by Portugal but partly free
are rich in beauty rather than in stone,
and so to show you global potpourri
I’ve asked the library to put on loan
this globe, to us. An aid to educate
the Tanzanian future pioneers
of veld and forest, Asia, Europe, Strait
of Hormuz, inland seas and sands, Algiers,
I care not where you end your journeys, but
implore you venture far away from hut

Annals of the Afroasiatic Pioneers, Vol 1. #22

Context — I was fascinated by globes as a kid.

 

22.
in posture, eyebrow, spirit, tone and word,
because Miss Gumi never had before
in such a forward way to them inferred
that something good indeed was soon in store.
As guesses slowly quieted and lull
swept through the classroom, none had spoken right,
the boys maintaining box contained a skull,
the girls aligned in hope against that wight.
Instead, revealed with flourish and a smile
Miss Gumi held a ball of deft design,
its intricate lined borders scaled to miles,
its dotted streak displaying day’s date line.
In history the class had never owned
a globe, our world diminutively cloned.

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