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.