Sonnets

I write sonnets to hold myself together.

Tag: women

Iridescent incubating skull bubble

Context — A recent Bay immigrant lent me a cap that helped me write. And now I’m 10 sonnets in to Vol 2 of the Annals, and 128 sonnets behind in posting Vol 1.

 

Six weeks since keys on board I’ve sought to peck,
bereft of inspiration so as to
thus merit allocating time. Then fleck
of fiery cosmic trail swept my view:
from farthest port she set her moor strings loose
determined to depart from busy-ness,
relocated where nature/city truce,
renewed her manufactures, fizzy lest
the shift stir up anxiety. That she
in reinvention landed in the Bay
caused me to be the pro tem addressee
of mental-incubating hued crochet.
Thank object forcing rainbows on my skull
for waking pen from three-fortnight-long lull.

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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.

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.

Gifts of Thirty: Epilogue

Context — Someone wonderful turned 30 last year. I described my gift in 5 sonnets, released over the course of this week. #5 of 5

 

By now you see I’ve drawn from infinite
array of possibilities for week
in which we’re both equipped to smile when it
becomes reality: I don’t misspeak
to promise you two tickets to the place
your heart desires to go, with me in tow.
I only ask your child within embrace
the opportunity to dare and grow.
To pilot, kite surf, chow, scoot, lounge, or glide,
to meditate or read, withdraw from web,
or rather to immerse ourselves inside
a tested second life’s first flows and ebbs.
Let’s make you free for seven days, to start
the year you steer your life to pasts depart.

Gifts of Thirty: Option 3

Context — Someone wonderful turned 30 last year. I described my gift in 5 sonnets, released over the course of this week. #4 of 5

 

The third is an escape by all accounts,
vacation to an altitude or sea,
to forest cabin topping giant mount
or jungle, lake, savannah, tundra, scree.
We’d swim or scuba, expertly traverse,
backpack or hire a motor scooter as
required to your adventure sense reverse
and start your thirties with offshore pizzazz.
The continents seek your attention, so
your challenge is to pick where our first trip
will be, to be looked back on as tableau
of nature’s splendor ’round our partnership.
Agnostic to the flora, fauna that
surround us, know you’ll be my habitat.

Gifts of Thirty: Option 2

Context — Someone wonderful turned 30 last year. We lived in different cities. I described my gift in 5 sonnets, released over the course of this week. #3 of 5

 

The second is a full embrace of one
of our cities–the pick is yours–to test
how life would feel were we to have undone
the barrier of space between our nests.
We’d for that week live like we’d both just moved,
attending open gyms, trying routines
for exercise, to see if we approved
of how life felt amidst the big betweens
we witness one another having. Time
would feel almost endless, now I fear
while writing, so much listlessness would prime
a fight, which in its mending would cohere
us further. By the end the other’d know
his or her love for lover’s lived borough.

Gifts of Thirty: Option 1

Context — Someone wonderful turned 30 last year. I described my gift in 5 sonnets, released over the course of this week. #2 of 5

 

The first is a pursuit of family:
a liberated week in which we both
fly to a spot where I’m the inductee
who meets and greets whom you’ve to date been loath
to introduce me to. You’d get to see
the people whom you hold so near and dear
in time and place where their improved esprit
would, over recent heartache, domineer.
Location, certainly, would be your choice
though now I’d think an Arizona or
Chicago sojourn best for such rejoice.
I’d see firsthand your mirth as we explore
the bridges where your family divides
and places in your heart where it resides.

Gifts of Thirty: Preamble

Context — Someone wonderful turned 30 last year. I described my gift in 5 sonnets, released over the course of this week.

 

The knowledge that you view today as an
inflection point from downward dip to cloud,
caused consternation as I tried to plan
a gift to suit occasion so endowed.
Unable to attend in body, I
was further pushed against the ropes, myself
advancing on myself critiques whereby
I’d ask if what I’d found was sold on shelf.
If answered “yes,” returned to drawing board,
if answered “no,” then three more asks were made:
is it of proper depth, could I afford,
and could it help her turnaround? Okayed
was only one, which in these verses shall
be shared in three example rationales.

Standing upright under a newfound doubled gravity

Context — we grow into each other, like topiaries into their molding.

 

He knew himself as simply part of her.
She knew herself as simply part of him.
Extenuating circumstance recurred
until their intertwining lights went dim.
She turned to ritual to fill the gap.
He turned to cigarettes and whisky glass.
Identity to both was still entrapped,
assimilated parts of joint morass.
The watch dial’s turn brought purgatory pain
laced hourly with monsoon rush of doubt,
uncertainty as selves they’d overlain
the things interred they’d once seen other sprout.
In time’s avoidance dance they tipped and tapped,
and fell. And fell again, limb with crutch snapped.

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.

Lim[x->sonnet](your claims) = lies!

Context — I wrote this on a Caltrain ride in late 2011, to someone who claimed she liked math and verse. She never replied.

 

When Sundays linger, on my back, in grass
responsibility all cast aside
I ponder mathematics, fluids, mass
and sonnets, quite like you (unless you lied).
I equally lament the lack of rho,
the absence of e, pi, and Golden Mean:
iambic tens in couplets are the foe
of calculus’ lexicon. Obscene
to think the haiku couldn’t choose base ten!
I laugh at limericks’ length limit of five!
All other verse lacks ying, lacks yang, lacks zen
compared to sonnets. Q.E.D.: derived.
If proofs above echo your inner voice,
perhaps we might at length further rejoice.

The anticipation of a correspondence

Context — #51. Partly the compunction of missing a hello, partly the joy of sleep, partly the anticipation of renewed engagement.

 

a purity of company amidst,
i’m basking in the humor of the crowd,
unconscious till departures that I missed
the message that your prior had avowed:
a wednesday’s sleep, a midweek gift of peace
recharging juices brackish, stale, and sour
had promised to your cortisol decrease,
your mood improve and appetite empower.
tis bliss for me your hunger is to say,
in clearest ways that “say” translates to “write,”
emerging from our evening soiree,
exchange beyond the wedding’s simple rite.
so I, in moments quiet, dark, and late,
await your brain’s debut of words ornate.

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.

Go, solve the problem of bars

Context — the share of people who have the social skills to navigate bars and pick people up is small. Yet bars persist as a dating venue out of the hope that some day, those of us without will somehow strike it lucky. Here’s a proposal to shortcircuit patience.

 

A problem that we’ve yet to fix is this:
at bars, the boys and girls in circles chase,
yet few possess the charm and steadiness
to launch themselves at strangers. Commonplace
is groups that came together shutting out
all others, yet at same time survey prey.
“Brah, go and get her,” goading goes, knockout
demurely sitting not so far away.
Imagine if one charmer there was brought,
employed to mix the people, did what our
denominators’ common lows do not
and matched you using social superpower.
Two people, one suggestive starter noun
and watch connection barriers come down.

Migration

Context — I was once concerned that someone lacked a halo after moving between some odd places. Written some winters ago.

 

The kidney of a caribou is ripe
when made in Inuvik, but nowhere else,
an Arctic try at replicating tripe
as raw as raw can be without its pelts.
Kannapolis, from Canada, appears
red, white and blue at least, but suffers from
its Southern clime, a backwardness that nears
an incapacitation, deaf and dumb.
To boot, I hear from Dale Earnhardt Way
that solace isn’t had at home or work,
as you weren’t choosing where it was you’d stay
so, housed with boss, you’re bound to go berserk.
Such news brought worried furrow to my brow,
as if to ask: “I know it’s gone–but how?”

Introducing the Butt Tap Game

Context — the butt tap game can be played with an arbitrarily large number of people.

 

I’ll now unlikely game soon introduce.
Herein instructions are to break the ice
of company that, else-wise, might induce
a suicidal fit, whose sole device
is waxing on and on, or those who lurk
on edges of your conversations, then
at moments inconvenient vault in, jerk
a joyful chat towards grisly CNN.
So gather all these folks, and tell them there’s
a competition starting: you’re to tag
the heiney of competitor, while theirs
is do the same to you. They’ll then zigzag
about the room like bats. A bettered scene
you’ve left by changing terms from trite routine.

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.

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.

Love Quest Colorado

Context — my best mate from college, to whom I owe far more than a single sonnet, realized when we were in China that his love was elsewhere. We were delighted that he left to live with her family in Colorado, earn room and board by helping out around the house, and get her back. Written 1 October 2009, sonnet 13.

 

John, once cardinally confused,
misplaced the place that California goes
and, leaving every friend bemused,
drove eastward, eastward, climbing rows
of mountains piling high: the Rockies,
to lend a hand in house and work,
where autumn falls and snow soon jockeys
for the ground. And in exchange, the perk
was warmth of home and hearth, the glow
of doing things by hand, creating
a permanence anew. Her beau
so close! Indeed, she tired of waiting.
Kira, patient, would take him back
and fill for both what both had lacked.

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