Monday, October 28, 2013

Well, it was a good run...

But I'm afraid it's over. I was out of town and missed writing the sonnet of the day for Saturday and Sunday. The second cycle of 365 in a row is and will be incomplete.

I toyed with the idea of making it up and going on like nothing happened. But that's against the rules, and besides, I'll admit that I have not felt inspired to continue. In fact, it's kind of a relief to not have it hanging over my head for a change. Which I think says something about my motivations, or lack thereof. So ending it now is, I think, the right thing.

I'm proud to have managed so many in a row, even if I think I could count on my fingers the poems that were really good this time round, and still have digits left over. In a way, it makes me even prouder of my first time through: not only having completed it, but in the process producing some of what's likely my best work. Unfortunately I'm not in a place where I can repeat that now--in fact, I probably never will be. And that's okay.

To anyone who has been reading, I'm sorry for the anticlimactic finish. I don't think I'll stop writing sonnets altogether, and should I produce something I think is worthwhile, I'll definitely post it here. In the meantime, thanks for reading, and best wishes.


Friday, October 25, 2013

V. 2, #210: October 25, 2013

I just saw Papi's dog run down my street,
if you could call it running. One leg gone,
another just a useless piece of meat
that hung there as he hobbled toward my lawn.

He's obviously in pain, and I'd feel bad
but for the fact that dog's angry and mean,
with foam all down his jowls like he was mad.
More rank grotesquerie you've never seen.

On moonlit nights in Autumn that hound bays
for hours, and the sound is like a soul
in Hell. It makes me shiver in my bed.
Those blood-red eyes, that tongue as black as coal,
that smell like he's been nosing something dead...
and no one's seen old Papi now for days.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

V. 2, #209: October 24, 2013

That's it, get out! I'm giving you the boot!
The old heave-ho, as sailors used to say.
I'm stuffing you back down the garbage chute
you climbed up from. I'm calling it a day.

Like last week's papers, baby, you're old news.
Like birds that squawk too much I set you free.
You're out like my old pair of mud-caked shoes.
I'm pushing the ejector button, see?

You're welcome as mosquitoes, gnats, and flies,
or half a worm baked in an apple pie.
So buzz the hell on off now, if you please,
and let this gesture serve as my goodbye.

Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye, and fare the well;
on second thought, strike that. You go to hell.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

V. 2, #208: October 23, 2013 ("Night of the Werewolf's Wife")

Lawrence, we have to talk. Tonight the moon
is full, and I just have to have my say.
If you don't stop this foolishness, and soon,
I swear to God I'm calling it a day!

I've heard the story half a hundred times:
the beast that bit, the gypsy, blah blah blah.
Let's face it--that old hag's panhandling dimes
and mocking you, halfway to Omaha!

That silver star she said you ought to wear
is tin. You're not a wild, bloodthirsty cur.
And plus--you're bald. I said it! Yes! So there!
That's why you yearn for supernatural fur!

Now come inside and get back in your clothes.
Don't make me come out there and smack your nose.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

V. 2, #207: October 22, 2013 ("Zé do Caixão")

The Undertaker stood behind the tomb
and drummed his taloned nails upon the stone.
He smiled to think of every splintered bone
he'd placed inside the crypt. There still was room.

The girl stood weeping near the parish priest
as four young village men let out the ropes
that lowered to his rest the one her hopes
had centered on. Well, that was done, at least.

Soon he would call upon his hunchbacked slave
to bring her to his flat. Then he would see
if she was strong enough to bear his son.
If so, he would know immortality
through blood; if not, he'd find another one.
Joe smiled, his eyes and soul black as the grave.

Monday, October 21, 2013

V. 2, #206: October 21, 2013

The giant crouched down low. He spread his back
as broadly as he could, and clutched the child
close to his chest. The goblin general smiled
and signaled to his archers to attack.

The little girl clutched tightly at his arm
and cried. The giant gently kissed her head.
"There there, be brave, my little love," he said.
"I swear I'll keep you safe from any harm."

He knew he might, with one tremendous blow,
send goblins crashing down the mountainside
and free the kingdom from their evil blight.
But then he'd have to let the scared child go,
and turn away from her. He held her tight,
while arrow after arrow pierced his hide.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

V. 2, #205: October 20, 2013

It sits upon the lower playroom shelf,
its shoulders shrouded with a layer of dust.
The cymbals it once held have gone to rust.
Its yellowed teeth grin like the Fiend himself.

A tattered hat sits on its plastic head,
a pin-striped vest pulled tight around its waist.
The shards of that glass dome that once encased
the thing lie all around. Its eyes are red.

Once, long ago, a child put in the key
and wound the spring inside till it was tight.
He never could have known what he had done.
And now, the blasted thing's the only one
who ever moves, applauding every night
its handiwork. And no one knows but me.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

V. 2, #204: October 19, 2013 ("Soliloquy at The Slaughtered Lamb")

Why can't they just stay off the fucking moors?
I warn them every time they stop to rest
and have a pint. But no, they clear the doors
and head straight off the path, like they know best.

It's not like someone living in this town
would know when it's not safe to be abroad.
You see me out there when the sun goes down?
Fuck no! But hell, I'm just a rustic sod.

Go on, explore the moonlit, soggy plains
and laugh at me, your superstitious host.
We townsfolk will collect your torn remains
and send them to your mum next Royal Post.

Melt down the silver, tally up the gold,
and turn the locks. Christ, this is getting old.

Friday, October 18, 2013

V. 2, #203: October 18, 2013

The spider seemed to levitate. It spun
against the wind, on thread too thin to see,
while up above, the branches of the tree
wrapped dessicated fingers round the sun.

It pivoted, its jointed legs all splayed,
and beckoned with its jagged, thorny feet.
The boy inched ever closer, while the heat
came to his face and neck. He was afraid.

And then, before the shadows in the yard
could lengthen any more, and rob his soul
of this childhood resolve, he took his stick
and struck the air above the creature, hard.
It tumbled to the gnarled roots like a brick.
He ground it with his heel, his eyes like coal.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

V. 2, #202: October 17, 2013

One day I'm going to shut my mouth for good,
and never say another word again.
Goodbye to telling people what they should
and should not do, and how, and where, and when.

No longer will I worry if my voice
is heard or not, respected or ignored.
To offer my opinion is a choice
I will not be expected to afford.

I'll listen wordlessly to every thought
another thinks is worth the time to speak.
Though I might nod or shake my head a lot,
I'll do my best to stay silent and meek.

No more cruel, unkind words will pass my lips.
I'll rock no leaking boats, and sink no ships.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

V. 2, #201: October 16, 2013

The wooden door flew open suddenly,
and in the blast of cold and diamond flakes,
the stranger stood there, most majestically,
until the draft gave everyone the shakes.

"My name," he bellowed through his beard, "Is Ted!
The Terror of the Tundra! I've come back
to rain my vengeance down upon the head
of that pot-bellied pig they call Big Jack!"

"Well, stranger," said the barkeep, "you should know
that Big Jack's haunt's a hundred miles form here.
You musta got turned round out in the snow.
It happens. Let me stand you for a beer."

Then Ted the Terror hung his head in shame.
He drank the gratis beer though, all the same.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

V. 2, #200: October 15, 2013

Two hundred sonnets--quite a hefty sum
by any standard, most folks would agree.
Break out the champagne, diet coke, and rum,
and raise a glass to such tenacity.

Two-thirds a year or so of daily toil
of running through the alphabet for rhyme
(like this: first boil, then coil, then hydrofoil--
that's how these things get done, most of the time).

I know the quality has fallen off
since long ago I first took up my quill,
but if my verse should make the critics scoff
I hope at least to be praised for my will.

Who knows if in the end it's worth the while;
Still, if it's shit, at least it's quite a pile.

Monday, October 14, 2013

V. 2, #199: October 14, 2013

When I look back, a wheezing, shattered husk
upon a bed I don't expect to quit
until my sky has gone to black from dusk,
and God Himself shrugs, saying, "Well, that's it!"

I hope that all the dreary, drudgeon days
that, while I lived them, seemed to have no end,
will dash by at a speed that will amaze
my old, drug-addled brain. And when they send

for clergy to administer the rites
afforded to the soon-to-be deceased,
my soul goes round and shuts off all the lights
in his old home--I hope for this, at least:

that at the last, I feel one warm, soft hand
in mine, and hear these words: "I understand."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

V. 2, #198: October 13, 2013

Look on the planet Melmac and you'll find
a creature, unlike any you have seen,
that shoots destructive beams from its behind.
It's called the Wufflebump. Its fur is green.

On six thick, stumpy legs it treads the ground
in search of any unsuspecting prey.
Then, when it finds one, quickly spins around
and lets fly its hot, fearsome anal ray!

What unfortunate creatures are so cursed
as to receive the brunt of such a blast,
are burnt to smelly cinders, for the worst
of any planet's predators' repast--

a taste that Wufflebumps alone impart:
Irradiated kebabs, a la fart.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

V. 2, #197: October 12, 2013

The clock began to strike. The prince's date,
who'd been his sole companion for the ball,
exclaimed, "Oh my, how did it get so late?
I've got to go, your majesty. Please call!"

She stumbled down the steps and lost a shoe--
this is the part that everybody knows
--then disappeared, which left the young prince blue,
and then...well, you know how the story goes.

But what the books don't stick around to tell
is how, after the shine of new love's gone,
a heaven can be transformed into hell.
But then, you're stuck, and have to carry on.

The prince hunts game to satisfy his pride,
while Cindy keeps her lovers on the side.

Friday, October 11, 2013

V. 2, #196: October 11, 2013

He hiked the old trail, back over the pass
between the hills that led to Finder's place.
The wisps of cloud drew round the moon like lace.
The lake was like a purple sheet of glass.

He tarried by the water, kicking stones,
entranced by cricket and cicadia song.
He might have stayed an hour, or all night long.
The birch trees held bare branches up, like bones.

And all that he remembers of the thing
that rose out of the water there and spoke
to him, is how the bright, pale moonlight shone
like fire upon the simple silver ring
she wore, and how she moaned and went to smoke
before his eyes. He woke cold, and alone.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

V. 2, #195: October 10, 2013

I don't have much to write about tonight.
My day held nothing special nor unique.
I didn't fall in love or start a fight;
did nothing to provoke a Muse to speak.

A carbon copy of the day before,
and copies just grow duller, indistinct;
a dozen more, and yet a dozen more,
till Meaning is illegible--extinct.

So what if I go through life uninspired?
Who said existence ought to be enjoyed?
Such is preferred, of course, but not required;
recall you're fortunate to be employed.

One day you'll finally have enough put by
to quit, go on a cruise, relax...and die.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

V. 2, #194: October 9, 2013

The weather's turning colder, and the trees
divest themselves of summer finery
Soon autumn's breath will silence humming bees
and change the songs of birds. I'm glad to see

the end of evenings sweating under sheets.
I'm happy Halloween is almost here.
The Harvest moon, the time of Tricks and Treats--
it's easily my favorite time of year.

But sadly in this life, there's nothing gained
without a corresponding loss, and so
while Fall is fine indeed, still am I pained
to see the Summer's pleasures have to go.

Bikinis, low-cut tops, bare midriff skin--
farewell, my friends, until we meet again.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

V. 2, #193: October 8, 2013

I did it, once. I held it in my palm:
the bottle's glass put out a sapphire light.
Inside, electric tongues, pale green and white,
traversed the cylinder with eerie calm.

My hair stood up, and spasms wracked my hand
as I considered what I had contained,
whose power and energy were once ordained
to mighty Zeus alone--mine to command!

But soon the phial grew cool--glass cracked and split,
the light within winked out, became diffuse,
and then just disappeared. It was no use.
It came, then danced, then died--and that was it.

One moment this hand held eternal flame;
a moment more than many men can claim.

Monday, October 07, 2013

V. 2, #192: October 7, 2013

I might not have as much hair on my head
as sprouts in ragged tufts from ears and nose,
and stairs up which my former steps had sped
I now must take more slowly, I suppose;

I may not stand as handsome as I was
back when I drank from youth's blue crystal springs,
nor half the loverboy--but that's because
I've spent my energy on other things;

I'm not the strapping lad who stole your heart
with compliments, good looks, and poetry;
I'm now a grim, cantankerous old fart
whose finer self's a fading memory.

I belch, I stink, I grumble, gripe, and groan--
but don't it beat the pants off being alone?

Sunday, October 06, 2013

V. 2, #191: October 6, 2013

Today I nearly called this whole thing off.
"I've had enough," I thought, "of squeezing stones
for blood, and getting ink instead. With knowns
and unknowns dancing in my brain, that scoff

at my attempts to lock them up with rhyme,
an alchemist who only gleaned fool's gold
from pencil lead--who now, exhausted, old--
has learned the bound and circuit of his time."

But then another voice, boist'rous but small,
spoke up: "Come on, old man, you're halfway there!
Don't puff your cheeks and act like you don't care
if this remains unfinished after all.

"It's true, another year won't make you rich;
but still--you will complete this son of a bitch!"

Saturday, October 05, 2013

V. 2, #190: October 5, 2013

"Stop spouting nonsense!" was my teacher's cry
when I was but a lad there at the school.
"Don't make your elders gasp and wonder why
you're talking like an addlepated fool!"

Then I would nod, and stare down at my book,
and think of goldfish wearing black toupees
who made their home in some old babbling brook
that only babbled Shakespeare's tragic plays.

I'd keep my lips shut tight, while conjuring
a land where purple grass feeds golden cows
whose honey-flavored milk is for the King
alone, and whosoever he allows.

It didn't make much sense, that I'll admit;
but still, I think I had a knack for it.

Friday, October 04, 2013

V. 2, #189: October 4, 2013

The rabbit made it to the brier patch
and leaned back on the thorns to catch his breath.
The fox stood glaring at him from a thatch
of nearby underbrush, his eyes like Death.

"You're meant to be so clever, sly, and mean,"
the rodent taunted. "I'd think you would know
that kits are taught from birth to slide between
these bushes, where no predators can go."

"I am aware, of course," the fox replied,
"of your foul species' penchant for the brier.
I'd hoped to catch you ere you ducked inside,
but you eluded me, just at the wire.

"But this loss I can easily forgive.
For I am sly--and I know where you live."

Thursday, October 03, 2013

V. 2, #188: October 3, 2013

One should not answer one's cell phone while pissing--
a truth each genteel person understands.
Whatever pressing news one might be missing
can keep till one has flushed and washed one's hands.

Should one receive a call whilst urinating,
one may be well excused to let it go.
It might seem rude to keep the caller waiting,
but in some cases, such is apropos.

So friends, obey this maxim when excreting:
eschew all telephonic intercourse!
Behaving otherwise is self-defeating,
and something etiquette cannot endorse.

Be not a slave to this technology;
In short, when at the urinal, just pee.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

V. 2, #187: October 2, 2013 ("Cold Comfort")

One of these long, cold days, when all the leaves
have tumbled from the trees like suicides,
and all that yet remains is what deceives
the predator with stillness; when the tides

are drawn out by the moon, but don't return,
and monstrous creatures pull themselves ashore
to gasp and die, and God grows taciturn
and turns away, ashamed; when nothing more

can warm the blood, and every human breath
is purchased at the cost of suffering,
the Earth lies bleeding on its bed of Death,
and final darkness swallows everything--

no one will care how one man spent his day.
It will not matter what I meant to say.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

V. 2, #186: October 1, 2013

That's it--you've cheated me one time to many.
I've had enough of your two-timin' ways.
You must admit, I've been patient as any
boyfriend could be. No more. Gone are the days

when I'd stand idly by and watch you flirt,
your eyelashes like butterflies in flight,
with every buff Bocephus. I've been hurt
again and then again. It isn't right

for you to sit there, lookin' so damn fine,
while I say adios and fare thee well.
Though...if you smiled and swore that you'd be mine,
despite past infidelities...ah, hell.

I guess I might give you just one more chance.
Just one, you got it? Good. Take off your pants.

Monday, September 30, 2013

V. 2, #185: September 30, 2013

Dust off the pumpkins, polish up the skulls,
and launder all the sheets the ghosts will wear.
Put new hardware on those guillotine pulls
and oil the swinging blade works. It's a scare

we're wanting to impart, so muss that hair!
Put on a fright wig, should it come to that.
String cotton webs around this evil lair,
and from the ceiling hang the vampire bat!

Make haste! In stores the managers are quick
to push us out before we've had our due.
Stuffed snowmen in September? Makes me sick!
To sentiments like that, well I say BOO!

I'll chomp blood capsules, paint my forehead green...
just one more month to go till Halloween!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

V. 2, #184: September 29, 2013

I know that on the outside I might seem
the sort of man who never causes strife.
Well-mannered, kind, the sort who'd never dream
of hurting anyone. A pretty wife,

two kids (yes, one of each) who are polite
and never show their elders disrespect.
A steady job, home every single night--
a good man, if a little circumspect.

And yet, I could accuse me of such deeds
as Christian men should quake to call by name;
reveal a monster in my mind that bleeds
rage without cause, and deceit without shame;

You'd gasp at what I hide, if you but knew.
But then, I bet it's just the same with you.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

V. 2, #183: September 28, 2013

The kids are outside playing on the swings,
which means inside, an eerie silence reigns.
These moments I can steal for other things:
I can veg out with TV, wrack my brains

for clever rhymes I might use in a verse,
or read a book--my God, such luxury!
Just drink a cup of tea? I could do worse.
I'm paralyzed by possibility!

But no, the whoosh of sliding patio door
alerts me quiet time is at its end.
The house is mere cacophony once more,
the broken peace beyond my skill to mend.

My singing muses suddenly are mute.
Good thing for children they're so fucking cute.

Friday, September 27, 2013

V. 2, #182: September 27, 2013

We'd stayed up late, and Grandma didn't mind.
A few feet from the black and white tv,
to popcorn cold and salty, soda cans
with drinking straws beside our tucked-up knees.
We whispered in between commercial breaks,
"How long now till it starts?" Then Johnny said
goodnight. The tube went black. We sat and stared.

The old pipe organ groaned. Pale cobwebs lined
the screen. We leaned in, straining eyes to see
what would emerge: monstrosity of man's
creation? Werewolf? Vampire? Killer bees?
A dinosaur, or maybe giant snakes?
Later, awake and trembling in our beds,
we'd laugh at each other for being scared.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

V. 2, #181: September 26, 2013

I figured you'd be up and gone by now.
No one would blame you for capitulation,
I know I make a mess of things, and how.
Most women would require a stipulation

regarding end dates on this love affair;
They'd specify a bunch of exit clauses
to let them out should I seem not to care
about their favorite films and cherished causes.

They'd tell me I would have to get in shape,
to trim my beard, forsaking all tattooing,
to act more like a man, and less an ape.
It's clear, my love, you don't know what you're doing.

Yet there you sit, demure and undemanding.
But wherefore is beyond my understanding.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

V. 2, #180: September 25, 2013

The dreams I have might be achievable
in some strange universe apart from this
where there's no word for "unbelievable,"
and longshots hit more often than they miss;

I like to think there might exist a plane
but slightly changed from this in which we're living
where it's a simple matter to attain
one's goals, and gods of Fate are more forgiving.

The sun would shine, with no precipitation
to mar parades or cancel tee-ball games,
desires would never suffer sublimation
nor waste the heat of their initial flames;

It might get boring there, eventually--
but still, I'd like to try it out and see.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

V. 2, #179: September 24, 2013

A jellyfish was floating in the ocean
at one with lunar ebbs and warming flow
when suddenly its dreamy, fluttered motion
was stopped. Because it had no way to know

the cause of this transoceanic hiccup
(for brains are something jellies do without)
it waited for the salty whoosh to pick up
afflicted not at all by fear and doubt.

It could not see the dread form of Cthulhu'd
burst upwards like a rocket from Ry'leh;
would not have shaken, even if it knew who'd
brushed past it on his vile, destructive way.

It simply waited. Soon the flow returned.
It floated on, while mankind shrieked and burned.

Monday, September 23, 2013

V. 2, #178: September 23, 2013

This body will not last as long again
as it already has. The halfway mark
recedes with every passing day, and when
the next signpost appears, its script will mark

a finite distance toward a fixed, black spot
that was not visible when I began.
It will be possible at last to plot
the miles that yet remain. The track I ran

will stretch behind, with every turn and bend
that brought me to this point now etched in stone,
unchangeable as that predestined end
toward which every man must run, alone.

No time to rest, and little time to think.
It's getting closer, every time I blink.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

V. 2, #177: September 22, 2013

If I broke bad, you wouldn't have a clue.
I'd keep my job, trudge off to work each day,
then slouch back home again when I was due.
I'd say the same dull things I always say.

No matter what the count of lives destroyed
or evil plans I'd culminated was,
I'd mow the yard, pretend to get annoyed
at all those little things our neighbor does;

I'd play upon your lack of interest in
my work, my hobbies, all my boring dreams,
to cover up my life of crime and sin,
for none of us, my dear, is what he seems.

You'd never guess, and I'd never be caught,
if I broke bad...but who's to say I've not?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

V. 2: #176: September 21, 2013

Stop making sense: consider that the pig,
however steeped in mud or garbage smells,
owns some mysterious beauty, just as big
as that of butterflies, or polished shells;

Just turn your brain around: see how the toad,
not blessed with smooth complexion like its kin,
sang just as sweetly nonetheless, and showed
itself as worthy an amphibian.

I'm sure some whales are floating in the seas
who wish themselves as thin as garter snakes,
and elephants who dream of being fleas,
and cows who wish they could dispense milkshakes;

But that just goes to show, both near and far,
you'd best content yourself with what you are.

Friday, September 20, 2013

V. 2, #175: September 20, 2013

Below the lab, where kings kept enemies,
and chains encircle wrists long gone to bone,
the madman's failure festers, like disease,
and drags its claws across the living stone.

It's fed on table scraps, and bits of meat
the doctor grows in cultures he creates.
Sometimes a nosy cop makes for a treat,
but mostly it lies in the dark, and waits.

Its Father, not indifferent to its pain,
has promised one day to concoct a friend;
but even with its faulty, malformed brain
the Creature can foresee this story's end.

At night it glares up through the dungeon bars,
and when it's very lucky, glimpses stars.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

V. 2, #174: September 19, 2013

The jester could not think of any jokes
(a danger to his job, and worse, his life);
so, desp'rate, he consulted with his folks,
tried out his new material on his wife,

but all to no avail--from their retort,
he might well have been droning Latin texts.
So he sought help of quite a different sort:
applied to all the varied comic sects

to find the name of some dread deity
or demon he could bargain and cajole
to give him undeserved prosperity,
if not good jokes. The price was steep: his soul.

Familiars now hiss punchlines in his ear;
and that is why Dane Cook has a career.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

V. 2, #173: September 18, 2013

A gollywog is not a pollywog,
no matter what they teach you at that school.
The rhyming names put some brains in a fog,
but Son, your daddy didn't raise no fool:

You might as well confuse fishes with dishes,
though two more different things will never be.
One might present t'other, fried and delicious,
but that's a far cry from equality.

You see, the Polly grows his rear legs first.
In contrast, Golly sooner sheds her tail.
And G-wog does her business while immersed,
but P goes pee on dry land, without fail.

So now you can discern betwixt the 'wogs.
Till they mature, at least--then, frogs is frogs.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

V. 2, #172: September 17, 2013

I might not have as much hair on my head
as sprouts in ragged tufts upon my face;
and stairs where formerly my steps had sped
on up, I now take at a slower pace;

I may not be as handsome nor as sleek
as when I drank from crystal springs of youth;
while knees and hips and other joints might creak
as ne'er they did ere I were long o' tooth;

You might find, on inspection, that my brain
is not the Tesla coil it used to be;
the lightning thoughts it once could not contain
reduced to static electricity;

But there's one comfort I still hold on to:
I may be old, my dear--but so are you.

Monday, September 16, 2013

V. 2, #171: September 16, 2013

The eyes that used to watch me now are blind,
Egyptian lashes covered by the sand
that buried all the tombs you left behind,
no more a witness to that ancient land

wherein I once belonged and felt at home,
if only for a moment; where your breath
perfumed the air I drank, and made a poem
of every thing I felt. So come--let Death

erase at last the memories I've kept,
as dunes erase the crumbled legs of stone
that seemed invincible. Let how we slept
in one another's arms decay, like bone

and flesh. Let nothing of me now remain
to mar the roiling desert of your brain.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

V. 2, #170: September 15, 2013

When all this goes to ashes, and the sun
destroys the planet it once nurtured; when
the wetlands bake to brick, and there are none
to witness this new shattered wasteland; men

will be a distant memory, or less:
a ghost with no house left to haunt, no kin
to pester for remembrance; just a mess
of charred leaves and bleached bones; if someone then

should come upon this ball, some other race
from distant stars should walk the dried sea bed
where life began and ended on the face
of dear, departed Earth, and count the dead--

I hope, before they shrug and carry on,
they'll wonder who we were, and where we've gone.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

V. 2, #169: September 14, 2013

By now a tired theme, but once again
I've got no time to write a sonnet well;
therefore, I must commit the poet's sin
of crafting sloppy verse. But what the hell.

No batter hits a homer every time
he steps up to the plate to face a pitch.
Just so with meter, imagery, and rhyme:
sometimes you've got to fudge the ol' sumbitch.

If I'd an ivory tower, I'd take me thence
and view the kingdom from aloft; my quill
would dance in fairy rings around the sense,
and draw from words and beats the dreams I'd will.

But I've got chores, a dinner to be cooked,
a wife to please--so you can see, I'm booked.

Friday, September 13, 2013

V. 2, #168: September 13, 2013

Oh, spare me! Don't you think we've heard enough
of all this bitchy whining you emit?
You'd like us to believe your life's so rough,
but face it, baby girl: you're full of shit.

Your shoe habit is driving you to debt;
your car smells worse than when it was brand new;
Your TV's on the fritz; your Internet
just keeps on getting slower? Whoop-de-doo!

You sit in air-conditioned rooms all day
and answer phones when there's no other choice.
A billion folks would trade with you and say
they'd never seen such comfort. So rejoice!

You've got a house; a car; a place to work.
So don't complain. You come off like a jerk.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

V. 2, #167: September 12, 2013

Old Terence knew what he was on about;
I've praised the man before, and will again.
That, in a life beset with pain and doubt,
Booze is the balm available to men.

There's whiskey for your worry, beers for fears,
and gin to hold depression's clouds at bay.
Red wine is fine for mixing with your tears,
and rum can give the dumb something to say.

To those who call intemperance a sin
and shame the drunk with their religious deeds,
I say, God made booze and this world we're in,
and one's the cure the other sorely needs.

See, Jesus thought wine ought to flow till dawn,
and water? Only fit to walk upon.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

V. 2, #166: September 11, 2013

The horrifying monster in the cave
outside of town is fierce as he can be.
He scares the pants off everyone but me;
see, I made friends with him. I call him Dave.

His insect eyes are big as bowling balls;
his tentacles are thirty feet in length,
and no one knows the limits of his strength.
He loves to have tea parties with my dolls.

My folks don't think a little girl should play
with with some abomination from the deeps;
but I say when you're friends, you're friends for keeps.
The kids at school don't like me, anyway.

So if the cave emits a rumbling moan,
it's Dave singing to me. Leave us alone.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

V. 2, #165: September 10, 2013

The dog, who's on the couch, scratches his ear.
His tag takes on the semblance of a bell,
and maybe somewhere, not too far from here,
a Pixie Fire Brigade mistakes the knell

of that aluminum identifier
for some alarm sent up from forest keeps
of their Dread Pixie Overlord, whose ire
they should not wish to court. He never sleeps.

And so they rush from out their mushroom beds,
strap on their gear, fill thimbles full of dew,
to quench a blaze that's only in their heads.
They'd mock their own confusion, if they knew.

The Pixie Lords may punish as they please.
Meanwhile, I think I'll treat my dog for fleas.

Monday, September 09, 2013

V. 2, #164: September 9, 2013

He's sealed the windows, bought a sensor light,
and put two brand new deadlocks on the door,
made sure his chimney flue shuts nice and tight.
She won't be coming round here anymore.

There's garlic in the kitchen on a rope,
and cryptic circles drawn on every floor.
Black candles, too. Now he can only hope
she won't be coming round here anymore.

He keeps some holy water by the bed
and on the nightstand, books of ancient lore,
plus warding charms to use against the dead:
don't let her come around here anymore.

Midnight, she comes, more rotten than before.
"Love, please--don't come around here anymore."

Sunday, September 08, 2013

V. 2, #163: September 8, 2013

What is it, but the insect pulse and thrum
of Summer, beating in your ears like blood?
The hot wind pushing through the trees, to come
upon you like wave. There in the mud

below the leaking tap, jut from the brick
and keeping time with every wasted drop,
a wood frog nestles, comfortable and slick.
and sings his satisfaction, while me mop

our brows and watch the violet skyscape fade
to purple, blue, and black, just like a bruise.
A few peekaboo stars slip past the clouds
then disappear again, just to amuse
themselves at our plain bafflement. Dark shrouds
the sky. The moon cuts through it like a blade.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

V. 2, #162: September 7, 2013

She's got a soaring eagle on her thigh
and shooting stars adorning either hip.
On one forearm, the Great All-Seeing Eye,
and on the other one, a battleship;

One shoulder shows an angel, bright and fair,
and opposite a devil, bat wings spread.
She got a stoned koala on a dare,
and next to it, a Mexican death's head;

A dragon on her lower back, which hides
the kanji script of some ex-lover's name;
memorials and mottos on her sides,
and peeking o'er her waistband, racing flames.

Some people call it art, some call it sin.
But she's quite happy now in her own skin.

Friday, September 06, 2013

V. 2, #161: September 6, 2013

The way it was, was this: I'm at the bar
with Willie, when the guy walks in and smiles.
You seen that gravel parking lot. We're miles
from anyplace. We never heard no car.

He steps right up and plops down on the stool.
He spoke--I can't remember what he said.
His voice was low. He smelled like something dead.
And all the time just grinning like a fool.

That grin--too wide, too many teeth. It grew
until his nose and eyes were just three slits.
He disappeared behind it, like the cat
in Wonderland. Willie gets up and splits,
but I'm plum froze. He gapes. His tongue is blue.
I don't remember nothing after that.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

V. 2, #160: September 5, 2013

Like something disconnected--rusted wires
now frames for cobweb tapestries, their lace-
thin shadows fall where centipedes displace
forgotten bits of newsprint. Outside, choirs

of insects line up, thrum, and resonate
like motors, while the blank, noctlucent clouds
await some lost projection. Meanwhile, crowds
of frogs and field mice find their seats, and wait.

But up above, behind locked doors, the cold
stiff body of the lone projectionist
sits silent, dead, and long since gone to rot.
Spooled off the reel, a story never told
will dry to crinoline around his wrist,
and soon--by all save one--will be forgot.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

V. 2, #159: September 4, 2013

A tinker built a magical machine
out of some copper pots and bits of wire
connected to a crystal, glowing green,
he picked out of the ashes of some fire.

(The fire's cause, a falling meteorite
from far across the galaxy, he could
not know a thing about. But that's all right:
he used it, same as any tinker would.)

Just how he knew where to connect the nodes
and how to set the power source just so
to unlock all those secret, alien codes,
we can't, and maybe shouldn't, ever know.

But now we all live subject to the whim
of Gnarthan Warlords--all because of him.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

V. 2, #158: September 3, 2013

I used to read that Larkin poem and smile:
"They fuck you up, your mum and dad." How true,
I thought! Equal parts tenderness and bile
in that, "They may not mean to, but they do."

But now I scan Phil's verse with different eyes.
The focus shifts, seen from the other side,
when one's done harm he could not recognize
as such, however hard he might have tried.

You had your chances, sure--you might have said
a good, kind thing. Might not have raised your voice
at small mistakes. Taught happiness instead
of bitterness. You could. You had that choice.

I only hope one day I live to see
my son a good, kind man--in spite of me.

Monday, September 02, 2013

V. 2, #157: September 2, 2013

Just think how awful everything would be
if all I ever told you was the truth!
How different would your image be of me?
Right now you think I'm sweet--at times uncouth,

but mostly good. How could I disabuse
your unsuspecting mind of such kind thoughts?
I'd sooner crush a butterfly than lose
your ignorance of all these different Scotts:

The one who ponders murdering the guy
who cut him off in traffic; one whose lust's
insatiable and weird; the one who'll cry
if he hears one more Coldplay song. What trusts

could well survive such truth? But never fear:
I love, therefore I lie to you, my dear.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

V. 2, #156: September 1, 2013

Sing me a song you've never sung before:
just take a good, deep breath and let it flow.
Like those Aeolian harps of long ago
let air determine melody. Before

your conscious thought resolves itself to words,
and introduces doubt, give it your voice.
Hold forth as if you had no other choice,
freely and heedlessly. Sing like the birds,

who could not even fathom keeping still
and silent, those whose very breath is sound,
whose music is the essence of their being.
If you don't do it now, you never will.
Don't worry if there's anyone around.

Your soul is music too. For God's sake: sing.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

V. 2, #155: August 31, 2013

It's just one of those nights where nothing comes,
and what's drug out by main force just won't fit.
You scratch your aching head, twiddle your thumbs
for hours, without one word to show for it.

You run through lines abandoned in the past
for inelegant meter, dodgy rhyme,
or bare stupidity, try to re-cast
them into something usable this time;

Of course that doesn't work, so you just glare
at your impotent pen, that mocking sheet,
so clean and smug, returning your blank stare
 until you blink, admitting your defeat.

Sometimes it hits me light a ray of light--
but I guess the Muse had other plans tonight.

Friday, August 30, 2013

V. 2, #154: August 30, 2013

Somewhere beyond the velvet pinhole stars,
light years away from this poor, muddy ball,
there may exist minds similar to ours
except without the notion of a fall

from grace--rather, a species well assured
of its basic benevolence from birth,
not doomed to Hell, diseases to be cured
by cruel damnation, as we are on Earth.

Perhaps these other beings, spirits freed
from guilt for sins they can't help but commit
would build a very different world indeed,
most unlike this. We've made a wreck of it.

But then, we could not have done otherwise.
The Bible tells me so. Look to the skies.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

V. 2, #153: August 29, 2013

My friends got old, have given up their drinking,
and do not care to tie one on with me.
They're tired of coming home on Fridays stinking,
then sleeping off their hangovers till three;

Nobody wants to dance, smoke cigarillos,
and get in fights with every local tough;
they'd rather turn in early, hug their pillows,
and tell their wilder friends they've had enough.

Gone are the days when we were young and winsome,
with livers fresh as daisies on the loam;
now if I want to paint the old town crimson,
I guess I'll have to do it on my own.

The streams of youth must trickle to their ends;
so raise this lonely glass: to absent friends.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

V. 2, #152: August 28, 2013

They say that minotaurs can be quite rude,
but I can't say that's true of those I've met.
Likewise, I'm told some ogres come off crude,
but I've not known one to be so, as yet.

If there's a dragon, evil to his core,
in my acquaintance he will not be found.
An impolite, offensive manticore?
I'll let you know if I see one around.

In fact, I've never met one faerie being
who cut a wicked figure to my eyes.
And as we know, believing equals seeing:
to find one now would come as a surprise.

Of course, I've never met a nice one either--
I'll let you ponder that one at your leisure.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

V. 2, #151: August 27, 2013

Where would I be without the helping hand
you give me every morning of my life?
You make a rainbow out of what is bland
And shape ease and contentment out of strife;

You make me warm inside when I am cold
and wake me when I'm shacked to my sleep,
Rejuvenate the mind, however old,
and float me like a blossom o'er the deep.

Some might call me an addict of your charms,
a junkie desperate for the high you give,
but I don't care--come to my outstretched arms
and by your ageless magic, let me live.

Denied your power, I'd never be the same;
Dark Goddess, Life's blood--Coffee be thy name.

Monday, August 26, 2013

V. 2, #150: August 26, 2013 ("The Phantom's Secret")

Beneath the Opera House it's damp and cold,
with bats the size of flying Pekingese
(One bonus re: the mask, it keeps out mold,
but gets a little yucky when I sneeze.)

But still, it's not so bad. The sound's sublime
performance nights. Acoustics are the key.
Otello, Traviata--makes the slime
and cobwebs almost bearable for me.

Of course that street's two-way. When I get down
and make my underground pipe organ sing,
my mournful chords go blasting through the town!
It spooks Parisian kids like anything.

But one thing makes a heaven of this tomb:
the peephole in the divas' dressing room!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

V. 2, #149: August 25, 2013

The mighty Elven King lifted his blade
and smote the Evil one last, fatal blow.
The blood roared like a fountain as it sprayed
and rained upon the meadow far below.

Shocked and dismayed by their leader's defeat,
the Goblins fled the field, a jumbled mass
of malformed limbs and armor in retreat.
The Elves rejoiced how it had come to pass

the way the runes foretold. Meanwhile, not far
away, a rabbit crept out of his hole
and stepped in something viscous, black, like tar,
that shot up through his veins, and soon his soul.

And that's how Elvenkind was doomed to fall,
and now the Bunny Lord rules over all.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

V. 2, #148: August 24, 2013

I found a furry thing behind the bed.
At first I thought it made of dust and hair,
but when I poked it with the broom, it said,
"You'd fight me thus, unarmed? That's hardly fair!

"Let me come out into the light, a space
much better suited for a mortal duel.
Then match me hand to hand and face to face!
You're no barbarian; less would be cruel."

With that it rolled across the carpet, grew
to man-size--humanoid, its head a puff
of hair and dust. It shouted, "Have at you!
And curs'd be he who first cries 'Hold! Enough!'"

That I'm still here reveals who won the fight;
since then, I use my Swiffer every night.

Friday, August 23, 2013

V. 2, #147: August 23, 2013 ("Lottery")

I read about them on the Internet
and see them on TV: their slack-jawed grins,
eyes still half-glazed with shock, the truth not yet
reality to them. When someone wins

enough to keep them idle all their lives,
to put their kids through school with pocket change,
pay lawyers for their next half-dozen wives'
divorces, and no sweat--it must be strange.

I think about it like a weightlessness:
a sudden free fall, all the anchors lost--
the health care bills, the tax, the daily mess
that kept you chained, but focused, with its cost.

It must be terrifying in its way.
I hope I find out just how much, one day.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

V. 2, #146: August 22, 2013

Turn back the sheets and show yourself to me.
Let eyes caress the polished curve of hip
and trace the shadow of your breast, then slip
down to the dimple of your navel, free
to wander over silken, downy thigh,
to cup in thought and sight the bend of knee
and curve  of ankle--watch, deliciously,
your pale skin flushing rose before my eye.

Then let me trace again, with hand and lip
those same contours, and test the boundary
of sense, where taste and touch and smell combine
with lust, imagination, memory;
Let me open you, kneel before you, sip
the nectar of desire, and make you mine.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

V. 2, #145: August 21, 2013 (The Free-Association Rag, pt. 1)

A purple monkey sporting roller blades.
A floating shark balloon with bubble prey.
The Gillman sinking in the Everglades.
Mosquitoes swarming calves at end of day.

The girl at work whose smile is like a mask.
The crack a roasted nut makes as it cools.
One night a year, the snakes come out to bask
under the moon, their scales ablaze like jewels.

A half-forgotten lover's scent, her moan
as I sank into her like water. Glass
around a perfect rose. A dusty bone
behind library shelves. Ignoble gas.

My nerves, which let me feel pleasure and pain,
all crisscrossed in the fishnet of my brain.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

V. 2, #144: August 20, 2013

I'm going to start a club. We'll all wear hats
shaped like cacti, with piping down the side
and golden thorns. Boots: leather, platform flats,
and pants of finely polished naugahyde.

Our secret handshake, forty phases long,
includes the Forearm Smash and Backhand Slap.
It starts with Trade-Me-Eyepokes, then a song,
and ends with one guy on the other's lap.

We'll meet in secret, write our laws in code,
and hatch our plots in darkened, smoky rooms.
Then at the end, dessert: pie a la mode,
as we confer on schemes and mete out dooms.

We'll raise our fists and revel in our power!
Then have a slide-show, to fill out the hour.

Monday, August 19, 2013

V. 2, #143: August 19, 2013

I wish I could believe the way I did
when I was young. Tooth fairy, Santa Claus,
the goddamned Easter Bunny--just because
my parents said so. When you're just a kid,

nothing's ridiculous. There might be elves
inside your pantry, gnomes tending the yard,
and angels watching you. Belief's not hard
for children, who are miracles themselves.

I'd take the boogeymen, the graveyard ghoul
that sent me weeping from my childhood bed
to Mother's waiting arms, if I could just
remember how it felt, simply to trust
that magic's no exception, but the rule.
I think I'd rather have that world instead.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

V. 2, #142: August 18, 2013

There is a door behind which lies a room
wherein I hide the things that I enjoy.
I keep them locked away, not to annoy
the ones I share my life with. In this tomb

I stow the dirty jokes I'll never tell,
the movies I can only watch alone,
perverse desires she never would condone,
much less indulge. Perhaps it's just as well

to keep that secret part of me enchained,
pretend I'm only what they want to see,
ignore the dungeon moans from down below.
For if one day I went there, turned the key,
and let the monster loose, what would be gained?

Destruction? Peace? Content?

                                                 I'll never know.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

V. 2, #142: August 17, 2013

An open window--gentle summer air
drifts, pulsing with cicada song. The moon
an eye half-closed, made drowsy by the tune.
Wide open porchlight twin that casts its glare

on flitting moths and junebugs. In the yard,
pale light on wind-bent grass mirrors the sky
sprayed thick with stars. Street noises swell and die,
while inside, I feel old--an Abelard

without his Heloise. But here is no
new muse: only the sounds of dark, the night
that slowly closes round, a curtain drawn
on all that's first to pass and yet to go.
Soon now I'll close my book, put out the light,
and hide myself in dreams until the dawn.

Friday, August 16, 2013

V. 2, #141: August 16, 2013

He's got a phone that rings with actual bells
and dials with a spring-loaded rotary.
There's rabbit ears on top of his TV,
all wrapped in silver foil. Whatever smells

behind his dirty couch--a cloying scent,
like orchids on a pile of rotting meat--
no longer bothers him. He props his feet
on stacks of papers: old demands for rent,

junk mail and racing forms. A tissue box,
long empty, sits beside his gnarled left fist,
and in his right, the gun. He'll sit there till
one of his kids realizes he's been missed
and sends someone around to break the locks.
Till then he's patient, cold, and very still.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

V. 2, #140: August 15, 2013

Where Sam the Sea Slug slumbered in the sea,
a dozen dolphins also made their home.
They were a rowdy bunch, and sometimes known
to party late at night, obnoxiously.

Sam was a quiet sort, like most his kind,
and confrontation was not his forte.
But the noise! He couldn't take another day,
and so a seedling plan grew in his mind.

Now, even after months of poring o'er
the charred debris that was the dolphins' place
and several autopsies, there's still no case
against the soundly sleeping slug next door.

But one thing's certain--no one makes a peep
at night. They know Sam really loves his sleep.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

V. 2, #139: August 14, 2013

Forget about what I said yesterday.
Today the weather's fine as fine can be.
The water's clear and green, the sun is bright,
and cooling breezes dance in off the sea;

The palm leaves whisper sweet, tropical songs
while swooping gulls sing backup harmonies,
and every good thing feels like it belongs
to you, and all you do is what you please.

Oh let me stay forever on the beach,
a cooler full of beer down at my feet!
I'll hear the mermaids singing, each to each,
and watch the girls strut by, naked and sweet;

I'll live in paradise each blessed day,
until the money runs out, anyway.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

V. 2, #138: August 13, 2013

You can't expect fine weather every day,
no matter what your latitude might be.
Occasionally the rain will come your way,
and storms will rock the once-becalméd sea.

The sun shines on nobody all the time,
not even  desert reptiles caked with dust.
The clouds will come, regardless of the clime,
and rain will always fall, because it must.

There will be days when, stepping out the door,
a blast of wind will toss you back inside.
You're deafened by the thunder's mighty roar,
and all your troubles come back multiplied.

But sun is weather too, just like the rain,
and must also, in time, return again.

Monday, August 12, 2013

V. 2, #137: August 12, 2013

There's something going on next door. The lights
are on all night, but no one comes or goes.
There's music, usually: a string quartet
plays something in a minor key. Then, late,
a shadow flits across the crimson drapes
like someone dancing just beyond the pane,
in some shape that is not a human one.

I called the local cops the first few nights,
but they won't come, 'cause everybody knows
the place has stood empty for years. And yet,
beyond the rotting porch and rusted gate,
there's something haunted, misshapen, that apes
a human life, but cannot quite contain
its foul, true form. It's gone before the sun.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

V. 2, #136: August 11, 2013

The nicest man you'd ever care to meet
was Franklin Funke, before he went insane.
A loving husband, father--caring, sweet,
and never one unkind thought in his brain;

But then for reasons no one could explain
good Mr. Funke went clear around the bend,
said to his sanity, "Auf Wiedersehen!"
and brought his former life to its sad end.

Oh, he still teaches Sunday school, still takes
his kids to their appointments after class,
still eats his favorite dinner--minute steaks--
and compliments his wife. Still goes to Mass.

He's still the same old Franklin, same old Dad--
the only difference is, that now he's MAD.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

V. 2, #135, August 10, 2013

If you can write a sonnet after hours
of driving, carting wife and family
to Florida, sir, I salute your powers.
You are a more resilient scribe than me.

If then that poem, scribbled with your eyes
all bleared and bloodshot, should be worth a damn,
your gift is rarer than you realize.
You're many times the sonneteer I am.

But if you rack your brain and only find
cobwebs and road signs clogging up your thought,
the dream of rest enveloping your mind
and robbing you of what small skill you've got,

And yet you try to do it, faithfully--
I've solved your riddle, charlatan: you're me.

Friday, August 09, 2013

On Vacation

Just a quick note for anyone who might be reading--I'm going to be on vacation for the next week, and while I do plan to continue to write a sonnet every day, I may or may not be able to post them every day, depending on wifi availability, time of getting in, etc.

I'll try to post every day if I can, but if not I will post the tardy sonnets asap--next week at the latest.

I need the holiday. :P


V. 2, #134: August 9, 2013

The thing he couldn't do was walk away,
just leave without a cutting final shot;
allow his enemy the final say
and take the higher road. No he could not.

It caused no end of trouble for the lad.
So many times he would have been all right
if he just stopped when it were best he had,
instead of jawing till there was a fight.

So battered, bloody, bruised, he'd limp back home
and--here's the thing--it never once occured
to him, if he'd left well enough alone,
controlled himself, bit back that last hot word,

how calm his life would be! How free of pain!
Two days, or three, he's sassing back again.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

V. 2, #133: August 8, 2013

My Bayou Baby bounces through the swamp,
just singin' and a-dancin' as she goes.
She shakes her tail and gives that foot a stomp,
and where she found that rhythm, no one knows;

She's got a voice could charm a crocodile
and bring a N'awlins gator plumb to tears.
There's Portuguese pearl inlaid in her smile,
and hair like Spanish gold around her ears;

No fine Parisian dame could teach her how
to hang her dress or better fill her skirt,
and it's near more than Heaven should allow,
the thoughts I get when I peek down her shirt!

I'm hungry for her every single day;
at night, I eat her up like etouffee.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

V. 2, #132: August 7, 2013

How many times have I felt somewhat peckish,
and ambled toward the cupboard for a snack,
only to find that ship is empty deck-ish,
all hands below, not likely to come back?

I've scoured the fridge for cold, leftover lunchies,
or bits of half-forgotten, bready stuff
to satisfy my all-consuming munchies
and found no sustenance, or not enough.

How could we let it come to this? I ponder,
while rooting through the crisper, balefully.
Is one dry carrot all there is? I wonder,
besides that yellow, wilted celery?

In China, kids are starving--this I know.
I'm still off to the store for ice cream, though.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

V. 2, #131, August 6, 2013

Just tell me what you want. That's what I'll do.
I've grown too tired and old now to resist.
Commit all your desires to one neat list
and put it in my hands. I won't say boo,

won't grumble or complain how life's unfair,
or weep about how far I've fallen short
of all I dreamed I'd be. I will report
on time, sit in my cubicle and stare

at this warm screen, and gladly do my bit.
I will not even turn around to see
where, just beyond the boss's office door,
a window offers one thin slice of tree
and sky, the only glimpse from where I sit.
I do not need to see that anymore.

Monday, August 05, 2013

V. 2, #130: August 5, 2013

The thunder interrupts my daydreams like
unruly children stomping on the floor
in metal boots, and every lightning strike
a cookie sheet slammed hard against my door;

But then the rain--which sizzles on the street
and brings to mind faint childhood memories:
the garden hose turned on against the heat
of summer, all the possibilities

of swimsuits. One bright red, half-filled balloon
in stark relief against the slate-gray sky,
grass clippings stuck to muddy feet at noon,
till thunder stopped our play. Inside, we'd dry

ourselves in soft clean towels while music played
from Brother's room, and Mom brought lemonade.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

V. 2, #129, August 4, 2013

He's old now, all his research prizes lined
on shelves beside the model of the brain
he made, books annotated to explain
his methodologies--how he refined

and altered DNA from donor cells,
nurtured them in a dish until the two
pink crenelated domes emerged and grew,
then joined to build the temple wherein dwells

that mystery, the Mind. Since then his fame
has grown much faster than a germ could sprout
on agar in a lab. The hulking brute
he planted that brain in, which bears his name
(mistakenly) he doesn't talk about.
Since it's most likely dead, the point is moot.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

V. 2, #128: August 3, 2013

If no one opened up his mouth to speak
before he had a worthwhile thing to say,
we'd live in silence most days of the week,
and words would bear the weight they should today;

If men were not allowed to eat a bite
before they thought of how they gained their bread,
obesity would vanish overnight,
and skeletons would walk the streets instead.

If you could hear my thoughts, and how they sing
whene'er they chance to conjure up your face,
perhaps you'd run away; perhaps you'd bring
me--failing, fainting--into your embrace.

How different a world I would create
if I but could. Perhaps it's not too late.

Friday, August 02, 2013

V. 2, #127: August 2, 2013

Cliché, perhaps, but thank the Lord above
(or Lords, or Aliens, or what you will)
that Friday's come at last! Let's laugh and love
and eat and drink until we've had our fill;

At work I'm pushing rocks up mountainsides
all week, and often just to watch them speed
back down. But now no vengeful Zeus presides
o'er me, a day or two. Just what I need.

For hours three score and two my blood and sweat
are mine! (Subtract sixteen or so for sleep--
still, not too shabby, you'll agree.) And yet
Monday still looms...enough! Trouble will keep

until we come to meet it. Let's not run
its way. Breathe deep. Exhale. Relax. Have fun!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

V. 2, #126: August 1, 2013

Please bow your heads with me and say a prayer
for creatures slain by my marauding cats
this year: for rats they ate or disemboweled,
for sparrows crushed between their bloody fangs,
the shrew, chipmunk, and mole torn by their claws,
and corpses undiscovered, left among
thick weeds in other yards to bleed and die;

Lord, grant that poor eviscerated hare
they left--a macabre gift, eyes swarmed with gnats,
its lung or liver separate, befouled
by flies--some sweet reward for earthly pangs
inflicted by my pets. Let his soft paws
tread on heavenly grass. Let him stay young
and happy, and intact, up in the sky.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

V. 2, #125: July 31, 2013

I've heard it said a man cannot survive
without a dream to make his life worthwhile,
a vision he can call to mind, and smile,
of some bright future toward which he can strive;

It gives his days a meaning, steels his will--
each dollar earned, each hour he spends at work
is just another step out of the murk
toward his shining castle on the hill.

They say a life without a dream is dark
and void, the formlessness that was the Earth
before God spoke and shaped it with His voice.
And I have dreamed, and set my shining mark
upon the clouds. I set it there by choice,
and missed. So in the end, what was it worth?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

V. 2, #124; July 30, 2013

The  kingdom fell on dark days--all the knights,
whose skulls did not adorn his throne, had fled.
The earls and dukes had given up their rights
to that cursed, blasted land. The beast that fed

upon the serfs and vassals that remained
lay undead in his crypt, fat as a leech.
His nails were black with earth, pale white lips stained
with every brave man's blood, as if to teach

all humankind what price is paid for sin,
in this world and the next; to show there's worse
awaiting man than simple death--his skin
a parchment on which God hath writ His curse:

"Here is the end of Pride and Vanity,
the mouth of Hell agape--it waits for thee."

Monday, July 29, 2013

V. 2, #123: July 29, 2013

It's not a night for writing poetry:
the day has beat me almost to a paste.
Ground me under its heel like cigarettes
that have no more to offer. I have spent
my store of thoughts on trinkets hardly worth
the toting home--code queries, database
designs. Not what you'd call a poet's dream.

So: not a night for looking in to see
 what's left. Such introspection is a waste
of time and muscle. Nothing but regrets
for days slipped through your hands, and where they went
no sage nor magus strolls upon this earth
can tell. But you can ask 'em, just in case.
Meanwhile, I'll sit here, trying not to scream.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

V. 2, #122: July 28, 2013 ("Eureka")

It may not be the answer, but at least
it's not another question. My head's full
of riddles and enigmas, all this bull-
shit I can't figure. Water, malt, and yeast

have never puzzled me with subtle snares
nor kept me up at night with no recourse
save to themselves. And if I felt remorse
next day, it did not catch me unawares.

There's things in life I'll never understand,
injustices I'll never see set right,
desire no earthly knowledge satisfies.
But in this glass, a shaft of liquid light
that smites my brain and stills my shaking hand,
asks me no questions, and tells me no lies.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

V. 2, #121: July 27, 2013

We don't know how he did it, but it seems
the radiation set these powers free:
gigantic size, ocular laser beams--
a hell of a mutation, you'll agree.

What's more, the creature--Phil--seems strangely drawn
toward that from which his powers take their source.
He'll cross the northern border before dawn.
We're locking the reactors down, of course.

We're hoping Dr. Smith might calm him down--
she worked with Phil in Research, Biotech.
She's outside, in a low-cut evening gown.
Word is he's sweet on her, so what the heck.

And if that doesn't work, I guess we'll fight.
Get comfy, boys. We're in for one long night.

Friday, July 26, 2013

V. 2, #120: July 26, 2013

I don't think I could eat a kangaroo.
Their drumsticks are too big, their arms too thin;
though if their tails should prove too tough to chew,
you'd have the pouch to put leftovers in.

A rhino would not whet my appetite;
its skin would bend my steak knives, I suppose.
To get one on a plate would be a fight
(that ain't no toothpick sitting on its nose!).

But on the other hand, a bat might make
a tasty snack, once battered and deep-fried.
Or how about a candy-coated snake?
No sense in knocking food you haven't tried!

The same with life as with exotic meat:
you never know when you're in for a treat.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

V. 2, #119: July 25, 2013

Don't have much time, so let's get this shit done!
I've got places to do, and things to be.
As poems go, this won't be a great one,
so keep your expectations low. You see,

To be a poet's not that good a deal--
you have to sing, although you want to scream.
And if you slip, you're not "keeping it real,"
as punk kids say. But I won't break the stream

of words I've started. Keep the pressure high!
Put both fists in my temples now, and squeeze!
I'll pop this sonnet like a zit. Let fly
the pustulent parboiled prose, if you please!

So now I'm at the end. No need to strain.
Come back tomorrow, and we'll try again.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

V. 2, #118: July 24, 2013

Don't mind me: I'll just sit and do my work
like any drone would do. While I'm alive
I'll put my needs behind those of the hive
and if I'm happy sometimes, that's a perk.

If not, it's no more than my kind deserve--
we build our hexagons and chew the food
the Queen will eat while pumping out a brood
of next-gen workers, born and bred to serve;

I must admit, sometimes when I'm in flight,
in search of nectar, my antennae burn
and twitch toward the horizon; then I yearn
for some sweet flower, just beyond my sight.

Perhaps one day I'll chase it, just to see.
Till then, I've got responsibility.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

V. 2, #117: July 23, 2013 (Men's Room, Revisited)

It's bad enough when you try to converse
with me while in the men's room at the wall.
But when, enthroned, you choose to make a call
on your cell phone--my God, that's so much worse!

What must your poor girlfriend or mother think
to hear you grunt as foul excretions flow?
Does she just sigh, as if she didn't know,
or is she glad? At least she's spared the stink!

If I burst in, ripped that phone from your hand,
and flushed it down the next bog in a huff,
would you then realize enough's enough?
Would it take that to make you understand?

I'm sure of one thing, friend, and this is it:
nobody wants to listen to your shit.

(Author's note: a companion piece to this sonnet from the first volume, detailing a personal pet peeve.)

Monday, July 22, 2013

V. 2, #116: July 22, 2013

He calls his daughter by her mother's name,
and doesn't recognize his son at all.
He's been quite lucky--never had a fall,
at least not yet. Most days are just the same:

breakfast, then TV. Sometimes exercise,
or else board games. Miss Johnson thinks the staff
steal blood from them at night. It makes him laugh.
Bedtime, he says his prayers and wipes his eyes,

and wonders how he ended up this way--
an empty shell, a burden, nothing more.
Sometimes he smells his mother's biscuits, yeast
and butter--how it makes his stomach sore!
He wakes at five-fifteen A.M. each day.
He gets to watch the sun come up, at least.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

V. 2, #115: July 21, 2013

We used to get together every week
for dinner, drinks, perhaps a game or two;
we'd laugh and sing, and most important, speak,
about the wondrous things we planned to do.

And then we did those things--the babies came,
we all found jobs that challenged and paid well;
our dinners, less frequent, were not the same.
We laughed less, and had not so much to tell.

The children grew, the jobs demanded more,
and now we barely even telephone;
We hardly ever sing, but do drink more--
though now we do it somber, and alone.

Remember all those games we used to play?
I can't think now just what I meant to say.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

V. 2, #114: July 20, 2013

When he was twelve, Rick Smith got in a fight
with big Butch Jones, whom everybody feared;
and thought his friends thought he was brave, all right,
the truth is this: Butch won, and Rick got smeared.

For weeks Rick nursed his wounded, broken pride,
which unlike cuts and scrapes, is slow to heal.
It gnarled and twisted Rick down deep inside.
He swore he'd live to see that bully kneel.

Years later, now a black belt first degree
in Tae Kwon Do, Krav Maga, and Kung Fu,
he called Butch up to challenge him and see
who was the better man between the two.

They fought, and someone stood and someone fell;
but which? I wasn't there, so I can't tell.

Friday, July 19, 2013

V. 2, #113: July 19, 2013

Let's have a beer for you, and one for me,
and one for our companion to your right.
As sure as one and one and one make three,
we're celebrating well into the night!

You're welcome, sir! I'll drink mine to your health,
as many as our lovely barmaid pours.
If we have friends and beer, what need of wealth?
Drink up, I say! Mind you, the next round's yours.

Our days, much like the free nuts on that bar,
are salty, finite, cracked, and gone too fast.
But are we gonna stop? Like hell we are!
No fine, delicious thing is meant to last.

I'll leave you gents to ponder what I said,
as well you should. I gotta hit the head.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

V. 2, #112: July 18, 2013

It's midnight, and he lies awake in bed
rehearsing possibilities. He frets
over her phrasing--if or not he gets
the true meaning of every word she said;

Whether she meant to look him in the eye
and smile, sending his heart rate through the roof,
or was it accident? Could there be proof
of deeper feeling hidden in her sigh--

or was it just a yawn? There could be reams
of stories undeciphered, signals missed
in every awkward pause or stammered word.
He wonders--do realities exist
wherein she meant just what he thought he heard?
He sleeps--she whispers answers in his dreams.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

V. 2, #111: July 17, 2013

Aw, baby--I could write a goddamn book
about the many ways in which you're fine,
with three appendices just for the look
you give me when you tell me that you're mine;

A chapter on the way your body moves
around the house, just naked as can be,
and how when I make love to you, it proves
that God is in His Heaven, presently.

The index would have separate entries for
each leg, each breast, each soft, ecstatic moan
you make when I'm on top of you, and more--
the most exhaustive study ever known.

And for a dedication, just one line:
"For you, sweet Baby Love--Goddamn, you're fine."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

V. 2, #110: July 16, 2013

The kid is seventeen at best. Dark hair,
with skin like Yellowstone, erupting grease.
His flat, bored unconcern shows in the crease
that brackets smirking lips. If he could care

enough to look my way, I'm sure he'd see
a bald nonentity in khaki slacks,
my age-lined face like something from a wax
museum: an old man, like he'll never be.

Perhaps I ought to warn him--let him know
how years can ambush you, then slip away
like thieves. Maybe he'd find it frightening.
But I'm no mage. I'm fat. Forgetful. Slow.
I tried; I didn't win. But he still may.

I doubt that I could teach him anything.

Monday, July 15, 2013

V. 2, #109: July 15, 2013

I know it's quite unlikely I'm the best
of all the guys from whom you had your pick;
there must have been at least one of the rest
who'd make my love and care look downright sick.

He would have brought you flowers every day,
been better with the kids and loved his job,
have pleased you more in every single way,
and not become a balding, grumpy slob;

And yet you've stuck with me for eighteen years,
despite each careless word and dumb mistake
that caused you pain and inadvertent tears
those other, better men would never make.

I guess there's only one way to explain
your love for me, my darling: you're insane.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

V. 2, #108: July 14, 2013

He fell asleep beneath the blasted tree
and dreamed prophetic dreams: a monolith
built by some inhuman machinery,
a new Babel, unmatched in height and width,

cast its long shadow over battlefields
locusted with the writhing, bleeding mass
of wounded, dying warriors, whose shields
bore crests of kingdoms yet to come to pass;

And there, among the rills of steaming blood
that flowed from neck and arm and heaving chest--
with eyes like pure, blue glass, a child stood
and cradled two white eagles to his breast.

He shrugged. One leapt aloft; its feathers shone
like gold. The other one fell like a stone.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

V. 2, #107: July 13, 2013

I've thought of giving up, a dozen times,
just stop, and never think of it again.
Quit updating the blog and wrestling rhymes;
find some secluded spot to stow my pen.

Let someone else call out the iambs' march,
beat dactyls and trochees back into line,
or bend their metered thoughts until they arch
into a pleasing shape, that isn't mine.

I've really got no reason to continue.
Not much here worth the time it takes to read,
and no one frequenting this run-down venue
to see if we're still open. Grim indeed.

So--if a poet doesn't make a sound
and falls, who cares, if no one is around?

Friday, July 12, 2013

V. 2, #106: July 12, 2013 (High School Medley Revisited)

The Go-Gos did not really have the beat,
they just thought it was something cool to say;
Bananarama weren't desire, nor heat.
Sue Hoff says Sunday's just another day.

The Final Countdown--not so final, right?
The Footloose teens have arthritis and corns.
We're much too old to rock n' roll all night,
and now they're breeding roses with no thorns.

She's got the legs, but now they're no use to her,
That child o' mine's not really very nice.
Those New Kids on the Block--well, they've been newer.
Less said the better re: Vanilla Ice.

The summer's past; time to get back to school;
As it turns out, I'm everybody's fool.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

V. 2, #105: July 11, 2013

I'd crank out sonnets every single day
as long as I could hold and pen and pad,
if I thought, at the end of it, you'd say
I'd done a noble thing few people had;

I'd force my secret thoughts in molds of verse,
expose my red, raw heart for all to see,
if afterwards, while following my hearse,
you told the world how well you thought of me;

But I do not expect such eulogy,
from you or anyone. I've made my peace
with how I'll be remembered when I'm gone:
a vomiter of doggerel, that's me,
who only gave his rotten Muse surcease
at death, and was no one's sine qua non.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

V. 2, #104: July 10, 2013

The sink is full of dishes, and the kids
will want something to fill their bellies soon.
The pots and pans are missing all their lids,
the cupboard's bare--it's one familiar tune.

The pizza place is miles on down the street,
and I don't have the cash on hand for tips.
But still, we're going to need some food to eat,
and more substantial than this bag of chips.

If only I had found a magic lamp
when I was young! I'd rub it and produce
a feast fit for a conquering general's camp
in ancient times. Caesar--ah, what's the use?

I guess it's PBJ's and milk again.
Lord bless this haute cuisine we got. Amen.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

V. 2, #103: July 9, 2013

Young Gunther haunts this room. He was a child
who caught the pox in 1865.
He's friendly to the guests--a little wild,
but kids are all the same, dead or alive.

His best friend is our Bogeyman named Bob.
He's ugly, thin, and glum, but still quite nice.
He lives under the bed (hey, that's his job)
to snatch at toes with fingers cold as ice.

The attic houses three sisterly shades
who leapt out of the window on a whim.
Down in the basement, teeth as keen as blades,
there's Ashtaroth--we'd best steer clear of him.

Round back, a dozen restless spirits roam--
it isn't much, but still, we call it home.

Monday, July 08, 2013

V. 2, #102: July 8, 2013

Oh, darling--I can tell you had it rough
today at work. Your shoulders are all stooped.
Let me take over now--you've worked enough.
Sit down. Here's the remote. You must be pooped!

I fixed your favorite meal, chicken and rice.
It should be ready soon. Here, have a drink--
a gin and tonic, easy on the ice,
just how you like it. Fancy, don't you think?

The kids have done their chores without a fuss,
and gone to bed. The pets are all asleep.
We'll have the evening to ourselves, just us
and my new lingerie...I want to BEEP

BEEP BEEP goes the alarm. I nearly scream;
I should have known it was only a dream.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

V. 2, #101: July 7, 2013

So now I've passed one hundred posts again.
It's something to be noted, one would think.
The dreams and visions I've leaked through my pen,
the blood and sweat I've used in place of ink,

have now produced this electronic stack,
a figurative ream of poetry
quite worse that those I did a few years back,
but still--if quality and quantity

are not entirely separate, I might hope
that perseverance will pay dividends;
that if I give my muse a nice long rope,
she'll trap a few fine thoughts before it ends.

So I'll continue cranking out the rhyme.
At least no one is watching me this time.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

V. 2, #100: July 6, 2013

Behind the old abandoned house, there stands
a stone globe on a base of plain cement,
unmarked, and six feet high. A monument
to what, the former owner of these lands
alone would know, and he's been in his grave
a hundred years. He had a son, I've heard,
who left his family home without a word
the day he came of age, no more a slave
to his strict father's whims. One summer night
I chanced to walk nearby while on my way
back home, and saw it bathed in eerie light,
like cold blue flame. Then, with a mighty groan,
the sphere shifted, and turned. I didn't stay
to find out more. I won't go back alone.

Friday, July 05, 2013

V. 2, #99: July 5, 2013

If you're going to share your domicile with cats,
you'll have to deal with dead things now and then.
Decapitated chipmunks, stiffened rats,
three-quarters of a squirrel. They'll bring them in,

or leave them on the doorstep like a gift,
a gruesome, sad, first-class delivery.
Those critters not as healthy, not as swift
as their kindred, are doomed. All shivery,

one day I took a shovel to the fence
behind our house, where in the knee-high weeds
a half-skint rabbit lay, gasping for breath.
The blood bejeweled her fur like ruby beads.
Her almost-killer lolled, all innocence,
and licked his paws while I clubbed her to death.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

V. 2, #98: July 4, 2013

Let's all ask God to bless the USA,
And also all our flame-grilled shish kabobs,
Let's thank Him for this celebration day,
And for the fact that most of us have jobs;

Let's all festoon our houses with the flag
And sing our favorite patriotic songs,
Inhale barbecue corn chips by the bag
And pinch our neighbors' wives' butts with our tongs;

Let's drink too much, eat all our meals off sticks,
And say those things we only should have thought;
Fight with our families over politics,
And be Free as we like, till we get caught.

Then later, when it's dark, light up the sky
With fiery, exploding octopi.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

V. 2, #97: July 3, 2013

The warrior's left his trusty sword to rust.
His helmet's on the mantel, under glass,
a piece of ancient history, gathering dust.
He spends time at the Y, teaching a class

on low-impact aerobics, in a pool
with middle-aged ladies in swimming caps.
They tell him how his battle scars look cool
and bat their eyes whenever he does laps.

Sometimes he wakes up in a sweat, his skin
still raw where it was licked by dragon flame
or sawed by goblin knives. He drinks his gin
neat at the bar. The drunks all know his name.

He reads his Bible every single day.
His beard is long and white. His eyes are gray.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

V. 2, #96: July 2, 2013

I wish I had a room where I could go,
just shut the goddamn door and disappear;
soundproof--no blaring SpongeBob Squarepants show,
no children's siren wails. I would have beer,

a full-stocked minifridge. Also, nearby,
a locking liquor cabinet full of booze.
TV, Blu-Ray, game console with WiFi,
and all the snacks and mixers I could use.

I'd be like Kubla Khan in Xanadu,
enthroned on pillows, framed by odalisques.
But most divine: the sweet freedom to do
whatever I wanted. No buts, no tsks.

Sometimes I'd trade the riches of a shiek
for just a little peace, three times a week.

Monday, July 01, 2013

V. 2, #95: July 1, 2013

The week after he died, I found myself
distracted by his widow's gentle sobs
through tissue walls. We friends stuck to our jobs,
thumbing through files, inspecting every shelf

for bills neglected, one recent receipt,
some sentimental things--a dog-eared page
marked with a daughter's note, yellowed with age.
It read, "I luv u, Dad." I kept it neat,

right to the lockbox, doing what I said
I'd do, those years ago, that drunken haze.
I found the envelope, the photograph,
him and the girl I'd called not seven days
ago, who'd screamed when she learned he was dead.
They smiled, so young, while I ripped them in half.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

V. 2, #94: June 30, 2013

Of course there's nothing wrong with beer; in fact,
I think you'll find the opposite is true.
No threat you make, no law you could enact
could sully my opinion of the brew;

Likewise, I've no bad things to say of wine
to serve as a prescription for your woes,
and though it's not my favorite, it's just fine
for those with finer palates, I suppose.

But when the cocktail hour has rolled around,
the workday actors all have played their roles,
a gin and tonic in my hand, I've found,
sweeps clear the table and inverts the poles.

And some days, when I'm weighted down with care,
I try all three--you know, just to compare.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

V. 2, #93: June 29, 2013

A quiet house, a cold afternoon beer,
and silly horror movies on TV,
with nothing much to do and less to fear,
I'm happy keeping my own company.

I play guitar, sing loud as I can shout,
talk to myself and answer back as well,
go to that website friends told me about,
but couldn't click at work, for fear of hell.

Tonight the house will fill with noise and light,
the kids returned, the wife there at my side;
much less peaceful and free, but that's all right--
my need for loneliness is satisfied.

I'm not an antisocial wreck, you see;
I just know, without a break, that I could be.

Friday, June 28, 2013

V. 2, #92: June 28, 2013

This work week's back is one I'm pleased to see--
it's lingered, listless, longer than it should
I'd kick this anthropomorphology
in its unwelcome keester, if I could;

It's been a monster, wreaking havoc with
my peace of mind eight hours of every day.
And worse than that, like vampires out of myth,
has sucked the joy from time reserved for play.

But now its reign of terror must needs close,
and in its place, Goddess Weekend Divine
sheds light and idleness on all of those
who've kept their faithful eyes upon her shrine.

Some say I should improve my attitude;
to them I say, "It's done. Now beer me, dude."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

V. 2, #91: June 27, 2013

So White is purity--a virginal
young woman, her white robes spotless and clean,
led to the altar, while a madrigal
vibrates cathedral pillars, lichen-green;

And Pink, carnality--the folds of flesh
bedewed with lusty moisture, slick and sweet,
where wild young oats are sown, and bodies thresh,
discovering the ecstasies of meat;

Then Red, mortality--the pulsing flow
of thick, rich blood from veins cut heedlessly,
thoughts thickening, the puddle creeping slow
past fingers tugging earth, most needlessly.

A flash of White again, fading to Grey,
then finally Black--past that, no one can say.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

V. 2, #90: June 26, 2013

He draws the lines exactly how they look
to him, the photograph in black and white,
like lines of poetry in his sketchbook,
erased, redrawn until they flow just right;

He pays attention to the empty space
between the features, all proportions true;
the gentle, soft gray contours of her face.
It's perfect. There is nothing left to do.

But still there's something missing in the eyes,
a form resistant to the graphite's trail
that he is powerless to realize,
against which his artistic efforts fail.

He crumples her and throws her in the bin.
A fresh white page. He sighs. Begin again.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

V. 2, #89: June 25, 2013

Some days there's just no water in the fountain,
no wind to blow your sailboat to the shore,
no rope to haul yourself with up a mountain,
no apple left around the bitter core.

Some days you've emptied every brimming vessel,
and spent your last two bits at the arcade;
some days the train's gone clean around the trestle,
and all that you can make has done been made.

But some days there's a jar of peanut butter
with just a little left stuck to the side.
You grab a knife, and scrape and cuss and mutter
and finally get your craving satisfied.

It isn't much--it isn't even free.
But some days, friend, it doesn't have to be.

Monday, June 24, 2013

V. 2, #88: June 24, 2013 (For My Daughter, on Her 9th Birthday)

Thea, my love, my most beautiful rose,
today I sing the glory of your birth--
who brought down to this undeserving Earth
perfumes no other flower could disclose;

You put the gentle summer breeze to shame,
such is the loving warmth you radiate--
a beauty poetry can't duplicate,
a sweetness that could have no other name.

Whatever sadnesses may yet remain
for me, whatever tragedy still lies
in wait, I have known happiness enough;
for galaxies of stars could not contain
the simple sacred wonder of your eyes,
nor bound the vastness of your father's love.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

V. 2, #87: June 23, 2013

Perhaps I could have realized my dreams,
had novels lined on shelves in every store,
my name on all the spines, fans wanting more.
I'd buy my printer paper by the reams;

One different decision, other paths
pursued, I might be up there on the stage,
a god to screaming groupies half my age,
who'd give me head to sign their photographs;

But then I might have been a drunken wreck
like Hemingway, or died of overdose
in some record producer's opium den.
The happiest might be the path I chose:
day job, my daughter's arms around my neck.
Perhaps this is the best it could have been.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

V. 2, #86: June 22, 2013

There is a place behind the hospital,
beyond the pauper's graves and wrought-iron fence,
that saw the suicide of Donnagle,
and every night for years has seen it since.

Who knows how he slipped out, got away clean,
eluded nurses, searchlights, and barbed wire,
lugging his can of stolen gasoline,
and, calm as bishops, set himself on fire.

And so it's been for fifty years or more,
behind abandoned rooms and rusted gates:
at midnight, spectral flames begin to roar
and that poor madman screams, and dissipates.

Some say a doctor was involved somehow;
but anyway, it doesn't matter now.

Friday, June 21, 2013

V. 2, #85: June 21, 2013

No time to put your feet up on the bed
and contemplate the things you did today.
No time to put your hands behind your head
and watch the lazy evening drift away.

No time to sit and have a glass of tea
with dear old friends who've stopped to say hello,
nor to re-read The Old Man and the Sea--
short book, even for Hemingway, you know.

No time to watch TV or strum guitar;
no time to go for walks or play a game.
No time to look around at where you are--
tomorrow and tomorrow look the same.

No time for anything but turning in.
Best get your rest--soon we begin again.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

V. 2, #84: June 20, 2013

The monkey sat upon the mountaintop
where cold winds blew and snowstorms raked the crags,
and charged supplicants twenty bucks a pop
to ask their questions, and receive gift bags.

Most queries tended toward the quite inane:
"Will I ever be rich?" "Who'll be my mate?"
It drove the wise old simian near insane,
but still he answered, at the going rate.

One day a young girl summited the peak,
and said, "I have no question for you, sir.
I think the ones who trust your wisdom weak,
and lacking fortitude. Don't you concur?"

He smiled, stretched out his hand, and shook his head.
"I do. That's twenty bucks," the monkey said.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

V. 2, #83: June 19, 2013

If you were truly happy, you would smile
each time a trifling pleasure went awry.
you'd wink your eye without a trace of guile,
and in the face of disappointment, sigh.

It would not matter much if now and then
things did not go the way you wished they would;
you'd take the loss, anticipating win--
a balance beam tipped always toward the good.

But no--you grit your teeth and agonize
each minor irritant and small defeat,
quite sure that every setback prophesies
a life of failure,  total and complete.

Each cloud is lined with silver, though, my friend:
one of these days, its going to have to end.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

V. 2, #82: June 18, 2013

Oh Motorist! Who gunned your Honda through
this four-way stop, though I had reached it first!
Of all the reprobates I ever knew,
you and your selfish ilk are sure the worst!

Discounting traffic laws and decency,
heedless of all potential accident,
you count yourself the roadway's regency.
May birds bespatter you with excrement!

You risk collision, injury, and jail
to shave three seconds off of your commute.
May your headlights explode, brake systems fail,
and hornets build their castles in your boot!

Till Justice turns her sword on you at last,
I curse thee with my horn's contemptuous blast!

Monday, June 17, 2013

V. 2, #81: June 17, 2013 (Happy Birthday to Me)

I guess I'll never be a movie star,
be loved by millions, live a life of ease;
I'll never drive a fast Italian car
or date as many models as I please;

I'll never do a Fresh Air interview
about my novels and their fine awards;
I'll never be a rock star idol, who
makes female fans freak out and flip their gourds;

I'll never be the things I dreamed I'd be,
I won't accomplish what I yearned to do.
I'll live a life of sullen normalcy,
No better and no worse than all of you.

And when I die, it will be all the same.
In fifty years, no one will know my name.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

V. 2, #80: June 16, 2013

I crammed my words into a pepper mill
and ground them down to sounds and syllables,
shook consonants into the mix until
they'd seasoned all the stewed participles;

I reached for parsley, rosemary, and thyme,
but put them back for spicy similes
as fiery as flambe. I added rhyme
for flavor, then threw in some English peas.

Now that the pot was almost full, I stirred
it vigorously, bringing it to boil;
the mixture steamed and bubbled, then a word
popped out and burned my fingers like hot oil.

It's done, so sit and have a cup with me.
It might not taste that good--but hey, it's free!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

V. 2, #79: June 15, 2013

Let car-crash noises infiltrate your dreams,
awake to a cacophony of bells;
have coffee while a fireman's siren screams,
and breakfast to the sound of cats in wells.

The car alarms will get you through midday,
and chattering chimpanzees will stay for lunch;
all afternoon a mad wild ass will bray,
then listen for the trash compactor's crunch.

With any luck, when evening rolls around,
the chainsaws will be almost out of fuel;
the metal grinders' loads will all be ground,
and neighbors' Harleys will have ceased their duel.

Then you can lay your weary head to sleep,
lulled by the smoke alarm's relaxing beep.

Friday, June 14, 2013

V. 2, #78: June 14, 2013

It's travel time! Wake up and help me load
the car. Shake out the cobwebs in your head.
C'mon, let's get this freakshow on the road!
I felt your pulse--I know that you're not dead.

There's miles of open road ahead of us,
and hours without a single bathroom break;
I won't be moved, no matter how you fuss,
so hit that toilet now, for goodness' sake!

We'll stop at every roadside tourist trap,
and gawk at each pickled two-headed snake.
We'll buy a lot of useless plastic crap
that says, "Wish you were here! Pookausey Lake."

Then, once we've finally reached our destination--
well, that'll be the end of our vacation!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

V. 2, #77: June 13,2013

It won't be long, my love, and all the care
that kept us up at night our whole lives long,
the bands around our wrists we thought so strong
will dissipate like steam into the air;

One day, perhaps not soon, but not too far,
desires and needs will vanish with our breath,
and in that restful slumber we call Death,
we'll hope to be no more than what we are.

So, knowing that such freedom is our due,
and waits for us no matter how we strive,
it makes no sense to pound our chests and fret.
Let's walk a little slower, just we two.
Watch sunsets. Smell the rain. Just be alive.
Kiss me.The sun's still high. We've ages yet.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

V. 2, #76: June 12, 2013

The sleepy little Snufflepuff had stopped
to rest along the steeply sloping road.
His chubby fuzzy body stooped and dropped
onto a very rockish-looking toad.

The toad croaked out, "Get off me, you big lump!
I'm not a stool for floppy, furry freaks!
Besides, the downy whiskers on your rump
will likely give me allergies for weeks!"

The weary, worried Snufflepuff arose
and made apologies for his neglect.
"I didn't mean to irritate your nose,
good sir. I'll just move on then, I expect."

The toad harumphed, then turned to let him pass.
That's when the Snufflepuff cold kicked his ass.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

V. 2, #75: June 11, 2013

The tall man never moved; he simply stood
stock still, under the shadow of the trees.
Leaves swirled around him like a swarm of bees.
His grinning lips stretched farther than they should.

With thirty yards between him and the pane
of glass that shut the night wind from my room,
his eyes still shone like twin coals in the gloom.
Above, the moonlit cloudbanks threatened rain.

It felt like hours, eyes fixed on that blank stare,
my teddy bear clutched tight. I could not cry,
could barely even breathe--until at last
the storm broke. Lightning tumbled from the sky
brought momentary blindness; when it passed,
I turned to call my mother.

                                             He was there.