Wednesday, June 27, 2007


"This can't go on!" the rebel said.
But oh, it could. And so it did.

The Awful Uncertainty of the Artist

Maybe this is it:

the depression/mental illness
that will finally make my work (and life)

(oh God)

...what if it's not?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Learning to Say Yes

Just tell them I accept. I'm getting tired
of blowing up balloons that sink like stones.
I'm ready now to loose those trailing strings
and watch their multicolored orbs disperse
to fall, sperm-like, out of a barren sky
toward who knows what airless lack of fruition.

I'm ready to accept, accept it all. I'll take
their golden chains, I'll gladly put them on. I'll wear
quite willingly the yoke, I'll pull the plow until
it sinks, until it wedges in the cracks where lack
of rain has broken, even here, the earth's own skin.
My hooves will throw up clouds of yellow smoke, the dust
made ghostly, powdered, like a broken shell.

I'll put on vestments like a village priest
who can't remember now when he believed,
when God flowed through his brain like liquid light
and haloed all creation through his eyes.
I'll stand up at the altar, say the words;
I'll swing the censer and cough on the scent,
Say prayers, baptize and bless, and listen while
the rain rattles the roof, the windows crack;
inside then, safe, I'll snuggle in my bed
all tired and drunk on sacramental wine.
I'll do it, I accept. Go tell them now.

I'll take it now, I will. I'll take the years,
impotent, yes, but sheltered, weak but safe.
I'll black the stars with ink until no light
can filter through, till all those colored dots
have disappeared. I cannot be accused.

I won't be shamed. I'll sow those borrowed fields
whose crops will feed me better than my own
however bitter they may be to reap.
I'll eat and give my thanks, although the grains
of sand wear down my teeth and make them blunt.

I'll swallow bitter bread and sour wine,
approximating ecstasy for show. I'll raise my voice
until, quavered by age and use, it will not
answer more. And even then I'll make the signs,
and croak the words of near-forgotten prayers
to children, widows, new-deflowered brides,
so strongly no one would ever suspect.
All of it, I accept. It would not do
to give those yet faithful a cause for doubt.

So tell them to prepare it. Let them spin
like hypnotists their gold watch on its chain
before my nose. I'll follow, I'll walk straight
for years--this I can do.
And will.

I'll track it like the Magi's star
until that day when, palsied at the edge
of all, I miss my step--

and falling,
snatch it from their hands.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Sonnet Project Reject: Whatever's Wrong with Me

(Alternate entry for April 19, 2007)

Whatever's wrong with me today's been wrong
for years and years and years. It isn't new.
These insecurities were formed so long
ago, there's nothing much now I can do.

Like how I think I'm never good enough
for those I love, hard-wired in the brain;
the way a carved word when the wood is rough
and green will scar, emblazoned on the grain.

And so these trials we suffer in our youth
in many ways are never overcome;
though years convince us of our fears' untruth,
a sound, a sight, a word will strike us dumb

and drag us back to dungeons we well know,
though we thought we'd escaped them long ago.

Sonnet Project Rejects

As my loyal readers know, the key rule of the now-complete Project was that I had to write a new, original sonnet every day. I couldn't store them up, I couldn't write five one day and take a week off, and whatever I completed that day as my project representative, I had to post on this blog. And I managed to do that, for better or worse, 365 days straight--a fact I'm still pretty proud of.

But here's a little secret for you--I did, in fact, write MORE than 365 sonnets last year. It's true.

Every now and then I would write two sonnets a day. Then I would have to pick one to post, and let the other languish in the notebook. Sometimes this happened because I was just inspired, and liked one result better than the other. Sometimes it was because my first attempt struck me as so bad that I had to write something else to keep from embarrassing myself posting that drivel. Either way, I had to pick one, and the other just got left behind.

Reading over some of these rejects recently, I got to thinking that they weren't all that bad after all--at least most of them were on a level with the rest of the crap I published here. So I figured what the hell--why not put them online and let history and the internet be the judge of their quality. So that's what I'm fixing to do. Starting today, with the post above this one. Enjoy.