I write sonnets to hold myself together.

Tag: water and ocean

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.

Phoenix in my bathroom

Context — Bathing rejuvenates.


I’ll slip past frosted glass and into steam
with soil afoot, and underarms unclean,
my skull awaiting cleansing water stream,
a psychiatric flush of harsher mien.
Sensation spanning all five senses, sound
a static thrum to slow the psyche, taste
forgettable, the touch of heat abounds,
the aromatic greenhouse air erased
my nasopulmonary mucous blocks.
Propellant water droplets canvass wall,
designs improbable yet orthodox.
I’m eye of hurricane Pacific squall.
As long as there’s been water here on earth
immersion in it feels like rebirth.

#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.

Serendipity six

Context — I’ve had 5 random how-the-hell-are-you-here run-ins around the world. In a wide-reaching conversation initiated by my boss at the only bar in the Nairobi airport lounge, I ended up discovering that the girl sitting there knew me. She became number six. We mused about the evangelical dominance in Solomon Islands and coping strategies on life. She demonstrated one by cleverly ordering two beers at once upon getting the bartend’s scarce attention. May 2014


The serendipity was number six,
perhaps most powerful of the sextet.
Discovery historic paths were mixed
in interweaving stories, perplexed. Yet,
at once parts shared and parts distinct, as when
two souls collide in transit, work-inspired,
and discourse to the dominance of men
swings to, then fro to Christian island friars.
Indeed it seems improbable to share
the formative experience of youth
and in an airport bar two-fist lay bare
the times we’ve used to calibrate our truth.
You made me, at departure, somehow miss
your warmth of company and parting kiss.

Answer the day’s call

Context — my mother always used to be my backup alarm clock, bless her. Shouldering that for myself is hard enough, I don’t know how parents do it for two or four or twelve.


The monotone alarm beep ancient as
the recollections of Decembers in
which quilt at desert dawn was Alcatraz,
entrapping me sans boat or oar or fin.
In youth back then, I’d backup parachute–
the knowledge that, if will were failing, mom
would open door and like chimera boot
me out of bed toward kitchen with aplomb.
Alas, those days of secondary care
have faded, leaving me and discipline
alone with blanch-gray fog that oft ensnares
resolve, to favor jersey’s bliss on skin.
You sadden, Age! Responsibility
migrated waking’s mantle onto me.

Island talk

Context — I never really belonged in business school. I found somebody else who’d also spent time on Pacific islands and we reflected together over a meal. It was formative for both of us. He was considering a book on the experience at the time. Sonnet #41, written May 3, 2010.
By blankets blue reflecting daylight haze
both stuck in place defined by what it’s not,
they tanned their hides and brains into malaise
atop forgotten atoll ocean dot.
In prior lives they’d made all kinds of New,
brought music, dance and deepened thought to air,
yet on these islands heads bent straight askew,
creatively confused when talked the pair.
With happenstance alone, show the excuse,
a mental heritage each shared with word,
engendered authors’ thoughts of written truce,
their works raised twice, with each man’s circles heard.
Compendia of thoughts await to give
our battered island voices chance to live.

Riverine ontology

Context — there is always a next level.


You’re born. You learn to float. You drift along,
swept slowly, quickly, as the currents move.
Inhabiting the surface is that throng
without mobility were flows removed.
A smaller group has muscles that react
to periodic jetsam scudding by,
collecting shiny objects to transact
aware of water ‘pon which they rely.
The smallest group all perch upon pontoons,
they’ve hoisted selves from river of events.
Though recognizing water, they’re immune
to sorrows spawned by seeking its contents.
Perhaps some day I’ll graduate to know
I am the boat, and bridge, and water flow.

The days we stopped fighting

Context – We used to have family reunions in Myrtle Beach when I was young, thanks to the generosity of my grandfather Art. Every year under the direction of my uncle our ankle-biting hordes would spend the entire day building a giant sandcastle. I wrote this in the Houston airport on my way to grandpa’s funeral.


The scorching sun shone southern rays on sand,
surrounding surf susurrous, seagull shriek
reminding runt-sized engineers that land
in castles oceanside’s forever weak.
Rambunctiousness and sunscreen. Teamwork. Juice.
Each plastic pail scavenged from the seas.
From sunrise war for only lunch would truce,
while stalwarts stayed to style their filigrees.
Its summer arc shorn by umbrella’s shade,
the sun surveyed our juvenile hive.
Approving from the seat beneath, Art’s grayed
hair topped a daylong grin: he liked our drive.
For evanescent unity and glee
of child delight, thanks Art for memory.

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