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.