Saturday, May 16, 2009

The End, Again

So yesterday, I didn't write a poem. I thought about it early in the day, figured I would do it later, and then it didn't occur to me again till this morning. So the streak has ended.

I take this as a sign. When I was doing the first Sonnet Year, it was always on my mind--I sometimes had to force myself, sometimes had to sweat it out, but I *never* just forgot about it. It was important to me.

I've enjoyed writing the sonnets again since I restarted a couple months back, but I'm just not feeling the importance of it anymore. I think it's time to do something else. Or just stop entirely.

Anyway, I"m proud of what I've done here, and should I write other occasional sonnets in the future--and let's be honest, I can't really see this *not* happening--I'll probably post them here.

Thanks to everyone who read, and the smaller number of those who cared.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

#449: Nightmare

I lost the path somewhere along the way
and soon I found myself amid thick trees;
their creaking branches rattled in the breeze
like ancient, brittle bones. Their bark was gray.

Around me in the shadows, snarling beasts
beat down the underbrush with padded claws;
the dry twigs broke, a sound like snapping jaws
impatient for their nightly bloody feast.

And overhead the moon looked like a hole
stabbed through the satin stomach of the sky
and slowly bleeding out its entrail cloud.
I stood there, rooted, fearing for my soul,
and listened to the horned owl's deadly cry
as darkness closed around me like a shroud.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

#448: The Green Revenger (Ret.) Remembers the Incident that Ended His Career

When you've been wearing tights as long as me
you know just by the model of their boots
if it's a joy ride or a killing spree.
You read it in the bloodstains on their suits.

This guy--the long black gloves, that leather mask?
He really meant it. No role-playing games.
No banter--stayed relentlessly on-task.
He didn't bother coming up with names.

My sidekick at the time, Flag Wavin' Kid,
tried some big action-hero kind of kick.
He never knew what hit him, but I did.
I saw it, and it made me kind of sick.

He laughed--a chilling sound--and leapt the fence;
and worst of all: nobody's seen him since.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

#447: Postcard on the Lam

The sun was bleeding out across the sky
like somebody had knifed it. Squared-off tops
of buildings stood erect like traffic cops
waving a funeral on. I wondered why
you hadn't shown up yet--here three hours late
and Louie's big palms itching for the dough.
He asked us where you was; we didn't know.
I figured dead, or staring out the grate
in some big iron door without a key,
or at the pier, your feet in wet cement.
You should have seen the look on Louie's face
the day he got your card. Although it meant
another bloody job for Ox and me,
I figured that was worth a few days' grace.

Monday, May 11, 2009

#446: Untitled

Sometimes I think I don't have what it takes
to be content; like something in my deep
dark heart that never rises from its sleep
dreams constantly of failures and mistakes
and future tragedies; gray thunderheads;
black puddles with a rainbow slick of oil;
the deep decaying scent of rich black soil
that never will be sown; unslept-in beds.

I've heard the tales of drowning men, near death,
who, kicking toward a world of air that seems
impossible to reach, feel sudden peace;
the way the sun's cold light dapples and gleams
must make their tortured souls accept release
exulting in the memory of breath.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

#445: Ode to the Martini

Martinis are my wonder drug of choice--
experience requires no further proof.
I feel sophisticated and aloof
and something smooths the edges of my voice
beyond that first sour sip. Like Cary Grant
I raise an eyebrow, light a cigarette
and instantly more than my lips are wet.
Each debutante becomes a sycophant
to my suave, worldly ways and derring-do.
There's something in it neither age nor youth
can quite explain--though its effects are sure.
And whether it's the gin or the vermouth,
or something psychological, it's true:
Whatever ails--martinis are the cure.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

#444: A Story without a Moral

So once upon a time there was this troll
who lived, like many did, beneath a bridge.
He earned his meager living taking toll
from tourists on their way to Witches' Ridge.

(The Ridge was an amusement park of sorts--
there were no witches really, just some crones
who put on shows for guests at their resorts
and sold them turkey legs and ice cream cones.)

The troll (whose name was Norbert) never got
to see the Ridge or ride the Broomstick Swing.
He took the travelers' money, cursed his lot,
and lusted for ice cream like anything.

One day they built a bypass round the town,
and both the toll bridge and the Ridge closed down.

Friday, May 08, 2009

#443: Considering My Cat Eli

I live my life in service of a cat--
a cold, ungrateful, evil sort of beast.
And though my care keeps him healthy and fat,
he never deigns to thank me in the least.

I've let him keep his claws, and my reward
is watching him destroy my drapes and chairs.
He walks the house as if he were the lord
and I a vassal far beneath his cares.

Despite the food bowls I fill and refill
he never purrs beneath my gentle stroke,
He would not care for me should I fall ill,
and if I died, he'd eat me. What a joke.

I'd get no love if I had his dish pewtered.
I think next week I'm going to have him neutered.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

#442: The Lucky Frog

Come on: you must have kissed some frogs before
you got to me. It's only common sense.
How many? Dozens? Hundreds? Maybe more?
Not every maiden searching for her prince

gets lucky that first trip down to the bog.
Enchanted royalty don't come around
like beggars, forming lines on every log
with broad lips puckered, waiting to be found.

You must have sickened of the taste of slime
and failure long before you stretched your hand
to scoop me from my pad--Just one more time,
you thought. Don't worry love; I understand

the reason I now wear your golden crown.
I'll do my best to keep the croaking down.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

#441: Don't Get Me Started

Those motherfucking cocks! They don't know shit!
They act like someone gave them a degree
in Ignoramus Arts and Bastardy.
Too harsh? Bub, you don't know the half of it.

So high and mighty, putting on them airs--
much better than the likes of me and you!
That's what those asshats think. As if their poo
was fresh and sweet as roses! Ah, who cares?

Real guys, like us--the hearty, hale and sound
who work to make our pay--we know what's what.
Don't need to tell you which one is your butt
and which a goddamn crater in the ground!

But them? Those fucks? They couldn't find their asses
with flashlights, maps, and magnifying glasses.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

#440: Sonnet to His Dark Mistress

Oh Goddess of the Bean, your bitter taste
converts itself to sweetness in my blood!
Intemperate, I quaff you at a pace
less than I want, but greater than I should;

I let no cream nor sugar come between
my physiology and your dark heat;
My tall, black Dominatrix of Caffeine!
Each day I beg to suckle at your teat.

Without your curling steam, I'd walk the earth
in deep malaise, the listless living dead!
Nor will I suffer fools who doubt your worth
and down their tepid cups of tea instead;

So scald me! Stain my teeth and make me shake!
I'll crawl back to you, every coffee break.

Monday, May 04, 2009

#439: The Ancient Lover, to a Young Lady

Some men might watch you flirt and say, "Too much!"
And so, to them, you are--that much is clear.
But I, a connoisseur of scent and touch?
Too much is not enough for me, my dear.

You're wild as Queen Diana in her wood,
whom Actaeon watched bathing silently.
He bought her naked glory with is blood.
Ah, such a price is far too cheap for me.

I've plucked the flowers of virgins by the score
and sniffed the sacred odalisque's delights;
my memories are flavored with their dew.
My hair is gray, but we have countless nights
before Sweet Lady Death, that final Whore,
drinks my last spunk. Till then, Love--it's for you.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

#438: Tired

I'm slow as cold molasses, slow as pans
of tepid water creeping toward a boil;
as languid as the shifting desert sands
and thick as thirty-thousand-mile oil.

I'm sleepy like a puppy when his hours
of romping through the meadowgrass is done;
like Dorothy and the lion in the flowers.
Like any kitten stretched out in the sun.

I'm worn like some old suit with frayed lapels,
beat down like doors of long-since conquered keeps;
depleted like a year-old battery's cells,
and slumberous now as any thing that sleeps.

The time has come to hit the sack, lie down
like crooked fighters, bound for Sleepy Town.

#437: Hidden Talent

His tryout was disastrous, I recall.
He took the test like everyone, you know.
His fighting skills were zero, none at all;
His strength not super--average or below.

No water skills--he couldn't swim a stroke,
much less communicate with octopi.
His foot-speed was a kind of running joke,
forgive the pun. He couldn't even fly.

We broke the news as gently as we could:
"Thank you for coming in," that sort of stuff.
But told him, though we knew his heart was good,
The rest of him was not quite good enough.

He rose and thanked us, fighting back the tears,
then BANG! The modest bastard disappears!

Friday, May 01, 2009

#436: The Last Raid

The pirates stood surrounded on the foredeck,
outnumbered twenty redcoats to a man.
And every buccaneer knew what a sore neck
awaited him before his feet touched land.

And so the Captain drew his Spanish saber,
his Mate the curved blade of the Saracen,
and, having set themselves this final labor,
sang out courageously to all the men:

"Ahoy there, Lads! For yonder sails a frigate,
Its gut as fat as any English lord's,
and rum to drink from mug and glass and spigot,
the finest on the seas--so Up your Swords!"

The soldiers turned, the muskets came about--
and two, or one, almost had time to shout.