Sonnet 277

Every sentence must be doing, being

Every thought we have must come in sentences
An actor or participant engages in a thing
We move. We seek. We scurry. We fence
ourselves, inside our minds, to moving, moving
Always doing. We think this way: get busy
living or get busy dying; as if death is a thing
requiring our participation, as if the hurry
is the sign of life; what did i do today?
What did you today? What accomplishments
will line the walls of your obituary?
We need a new way of talking about existence
That does not demand anything of anyone
To speak without speaking, both did and undone

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Fiction Coming Soon: “Tiger” in The Reckoning

“As a one-star Inspector General for the UN’s military police, I was uniquely positioned to assign myself any case that I chose, particularly after many years of hard assignments. I had chosen the matter of the mysterious Doolittle, a sort of multi-national guerrilla artist whose work I had encountered in my time amid the water riots of Bangladesh. The machines were dangerous, like wild animals.”

Here in a week or two, my short story “Tiger” will be available in Michael J. DeLuca’s The Reckoning 3.

Watch for it here:

This publication is eligible for awards for the year 2018, as well, so read well and adjust your ballotry accordingly.

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Sonnet #276

If I am supposed to be a man, to earn

my place among the ancestor ghosts
who earned their place among the holy host
who earned their place when light was a burn
And every day was scratching and long knives
And still they found a way to love another
And still they found a way for peace to cover
All festering coals, I think I should live
a little leaner, then, and walk a little narrower
Where the barrows beckon and hard games
play hard ways until i fall down into the harrower
Let me be a man like they were, if I am to blame
myself for all my sins, allow me strength of scarecrows
To stand strong in the skyline, scare birds with no name

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Sonnet #275

Before they burn in autumn sunlight, they

will feast on candlestick trees, golden yellow

as the sun where the flowers feed their fellow

firebirds, to burn without a puff of smoke, they

eat a feast of sunlight, fly to heat, burn with no clouds

Cloudless Sulphur on the wind, the beating wings

Flicker brimstone, dead oak leaves falling

And these little golden flames fly proud

About the place; to decay is to burn a little

To feel the energy being peeled to gone

And in this gentle, slow fire’s spittle

New life follows seasons’ longest song

Where the leaves fall, brimstone butterflies flicker

And the ruins’ end comes quicker, quicker

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Sonnet #274

“We who own the wind,” they say, “We own

the sky and ground. We own the wind, how it

blows through the canyons, how it screams, sit

down in a field that we own, too, and know

these men who came before you and took claim

of the water in the sea and the minerals in soil

We planted flags on moons and invented water’s boil

We own the process of the boil, we own the same

things everywhere; nothing is new, nothing is not ours.”

That is what they say, what they always say to us

That come after them into the canyons and valleys and fjords

That we owe them just standing. At first, we believe because

We have heard this song so much, until we shout

loud enough into their wind, and decide that no one owns us

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Sonnet #273

In morning twilight, the moon shone bright beyond

the whisper clouds, a purple blue, a brightest white

I thought to snap a picture of the moon, but I

had left my phone inside the house, the moment gone

I knew, and would be broken if I went and came

again out here, beneath the orange tree; the range

of twilight colors, the shift of clouds, all changed,

the grandeur of this moment moon will never be the same


(At my mother’s house, last week we scoured old albums

She said she was amazed at all the pictures with no one

in them, monuments and mountains, wasted ink, common

for now the things she wanted most were family, her children.)


The greatest meal I ever had, I think, was a glass of cool water

On a warm day in summer. Life’s beauty lies in such simple affairs.

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Sonnet #272

The dead leaves and dirty ground will keep the roots

So leave the mess where it is found until the spring

Be patient, for until the music of the frosts unstrings

We never know what swell of song will stomp the boots

What keening winds will come, these broken ruins

Will bear the worst of all these songs to come

And leave beneath the grotesque twisted bones

The sweet of green wrapped up inside the cambium

Be gentle, be patient, leave all the leaves to blow

Allow the stalks to wilt upon the ground

Where fireflies root and salamander stow

Until the rise of sun and heat comes round

There the worms devour and there the toads:

A messiness is living when the symphony resounds!

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Sonnet #271

The stone fruits in autumn are an exhaustion

I can understand: They pushed so hard

Into the light, reached every root until exertion

swelled into the bloom of life, a hundred new words

hang from every limb for weeks, and then they break

The wind blows, the dry times come, the storms

And the sun, itself, yawns apart, leans back;

What else can be done but decay a little, let the worms

among the fallen leaves, and let the leaves

we lost become the soil we eat, devouring self

And devouring those we welcome as thieves;

From the outside, we are sleeping, that’s what they tell

But what no one sees is roots reaching, ever creating

The stonefruits and I look snowstorm still, roots reaching

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Sonnet #270

The line between nature and man is easy

There is a trail along the ground and mowers

Come to clear the path, but tractors

Don’t travel into trees, so there, a line you see


It follows us home if we let it, where the line

could be anywhere, hidden behind a fence

In empty flower pots where anything’s presence

Is allowed – spiders and ants and weeds, it’s fine


Let the line fall over the night sheets, where dreams

and possibilities wrestle in the dark, wild places

kept and unkempt, a hidden shadow kingdom

where the eyes look out from darkness, faces

unknown by even us, carry this unknown seams

loosely in the daylight, be vessels for feral graces


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Sonnet #269

All the elders come together, all the young men
and women come, gather where the kings
will stand above the dais, where they ring
the new season of the lord, and we can bend

the ears of heaven with our sacrifices, our prayers
At the very top of lungs, where no king shouts
back and is heard above the din of our voices out
loud, where all the songs we sing are greater

Than all the noise of kings, the cymbals and din
of commanding voices, where no gunfire quells
the fury of the voices, we can shout the bullets down
We can shout them all down, where all is not well
And shout and sing and shout until the bells
of heaven are all that’s greater, and rings the crowns

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