Sonnet #213

Performers are not supposed to talk about the guns

That come in the night, those thousand tiny

injuries that mark the skin, just make fun

Dance for the camera, smile and be friendly

Pretend that everything is going to be all right

When the gunmen come in the dark to take

People who made the best choices out of bad, night

comes, good people lie awake in dread, wake

the artists up to help forget that they are afraid

In the same way, the keepers of guns want to forget

The twinge of guilt that hardens like a pearl laid

black in the back of their mind, where lie regrets

How dare anyone make anyone remember the gun song

all stories sing to the gun song, who holds the gun belongs

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Sonnet #212

The big, black, ugly bird that clings
to rooftops in the city, long of wing
And long of neck, naked, warty thing
That swoops out of the twilight, singing
Songs of ugly hunger, early death
Where lost breaths are swallowed breath
by breath, we walked in city streets, enwreathed
in sidewalks, green grass and oak leaves wreath
the idylls of we who pretend until the bird
black bird cawing in the break of dawn, a word
of darkness, swoop upon the rooftops, heard
in bedrooms still dark, waking to a dead word
A kitten half-eaten by the dogs of moonlight
The wicked tooth, and vultures own all twilights

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All Roads Lead to Rome

Baudicia will tell you this about civilization:
It happens to the body, first the women
Experience the effort to civilize
Where the glory of the empire reaches in
And hammers down and whips away
nothing is left to her own devices,
Then, as if that isn’t enough, the men
Must help or die – their bodies
Will be civilized, too;
Then it keeps happening over and over
Until no one even remembers what
Was before, was it even possible
To stand alone in the forest
And feel the shape of destiny guided
By the wind in the trees, the fish swimming
Up the rivers, trapped in the weirs and plums
Dropping in early autumn

This is the story of Adam and Eve
Where the apple of knowledge was a metaphor
For the way it always begins upon a body
Inside a body, and who controls the body
Before it was a paradise on earth

When the braceros came north to work the farms
They were deloused in sheep vats, fully immersed
In ddt. Blasted with it. They screamed in pain
When the lettuce and strawberries were more
Valuable than human spines

Many of the children don’t remember
How it all started.
It hurts too much to tell them
How we got to here.

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Sonnet #211

They call the place Cathedral Rock
The Balcones Fault rises to a balcony
A large bluff, they say it was holy
Where ceremonials were held, we walked
A long trail, the live oaks were green
New growth in buds and dead leaves
Drifting like autumn, the quiet breathes
In the space between hills where mean
City noises do not reach, where even birds
Their music and cicada songs drift away
The silence made by hills where the word
Itself becomes a memory and the sway
Of leaves descending holds the language
That makes whole, without majesterial baggage

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Sonnet #210

All the steps it took for one day’s weather
A pretty day, a cool breeze blowing, light heat,
Was made at the dawn of time where tethers
broke and all the cosmos scattered in a heartbeat
For millenia, the atoms clumped and scattered
Until a solar star emerged slowly among the scores
And emerging rock with life resilient and battered
Kingdoms rose upon the bones of dinosaurs
And of the days, as momentum spins the rocks
Of endless tiny patches among these galaxies
A little green where we, in smallness, walk
A pretty day, a perfect day, a dawn so perfectly
It’s all connected, hurricanes become a breeze
Supernovas push at matter rustling leaves

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Sonnet #209

Tyger, tyger die afright in the
headlights of the cars, the cops who shoot
at boys from fear will quiver in their boots
With every flicker of your growling teeth
If fear can kill a child, it can kill a king
Slayer of giants, kidnapped from temples
Fed hamburger meat in some crowded rental
Enough is enough and the doorbell rings
All the bolts click free, Run! You, gorgeous!
Run into the forest, the city is all trees
All useless beasts more curious than nervous
Until the headlights come; the people see,
Shoot to kill, and brag forever — Tyger, Tyger,
Stolen twice: They only get to hunt you here.

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Sonnet #208

“I’ve come from the future,” he said

He sat down at my table in a rush

“We need to talk,” he said. I shook my head

“I can tell you the future already, so hush

and don’t ruin it for me. We will all die.

All of us will die. It will be fast or slow

or in a crowd, perhaps, afraid. We try

to live, but it ends. It always ends. So,

in between then and now, we do what we can

to make the world a better place, make babies

Teach them to do better, and try to make a plan

In case things don’t get better. Whatever you say to me

doesn’t matter,” I said. “Have a drink and go home.”

He nodded. “Death, they say: All roads lead to Rome.”

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Sonnet #207

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me, and I ask her
Why she rose to heaven, why she comes here
Why it feels like the visions of self are doubled
For visions of the holy feel like a dream,
And physical embodiment doesn’t see her light?

Speaking words of wisdom, she said -Don’t fight
Just let the contradictions come, like an unseen beam,
The work of reconciling is too much, let it go
The expectation of desire is the agony of want
The lack of expectation is the agony of no
To live is to desire, and to risk being ghosts that haunt
Long after the time for haunting passes, let it go
Desire then abandon, to find a place both full and gaunt

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Sonnet #206

“I don’t know which wave to poem,” he said
“There are so many words coming, all the time
I must be careful where I position this rhyme
I must not speak ill of the living or the dead
Because no one likes negativity, unless veiled
In innuendo of perspicuity, and I can’t be too smart
so I shouldn’t have said perspicuity, or claim high art
And If I claim low art, alone, they’ll think I failed
I must speak only in feelings and cautiously,
lest I turn off all these tides, those going and coming.”
That is what he said, and I told him this about poeming:
“Pick your waters and choose standing stones bravely
If you don’t swim to make waves and to push
The waves will swim over you like a rush.”

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Sonnet #205

The family viewed from afar is uncertain
it reminds me of the train cars
Looking through the glass at other cars
How the jostling makes nauseas reactions
For the motion sick, how the two cars
Bounce around independent of each other
On the same tracks, and we gaze over
At the other car and it feels wrong from afar
It is hard to say if they are jumping tracks
If they are falling into each other while stumbling
Or tripping from the push upon their backs
We are not supposed to judge while witnessing
We are not supposed to judge. We don’t lack
For confusions, enough, to find any failing
We like, any reason, we don’t cross the crack.

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