Sonnet #183

Omens foul I’ve seen this day, the laughing crows
Two trickster crows, nipping wings, I stopped
They sounded odd, rogue cicadas songs, I chose
to seek them out, the strange rattle, they swooped
Above the cars, saw me true and cackled

Next a dead coyote ruined on the road
The stench of meat, the bones, blood spackled
Then home in heat, the devil’s goad
Drove black cats along the path beside

The dry wind whistles in dying grass,
The darkness comes, the gloom abides
The hour grows late, and still I pass

The signs of dead end roads, prayers of fear
Black angels walk the roofs, I hear them near

 

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Sonnet #182

Play child’s games and win child’s prizes
What is the prize for a life lived well?
Immortality in some aether above the hell?
A brand of identity that is mostly not lies?
If we are to live this life together let us not
Pretend we have to hurt each other, or push
We don’t have to stand above the rush
Or flow into the kneel of prayer and thought
Imagine what the God would do if here
Imagine life is more than one life
Imagine all known is a seashell by a pier
Us all deep inside it, all known is the knife
That cuts us free, forces of water, near
Forces of sun, sand grinding on the shell
And we have no sure way to dig out of this well

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Sonnet #181

If I draw my soul out for the hungry
divide it up like unbaked dough to rise
Inside the hunger of the holy, to fill their size
If I carve my soul out for the hungry
If I walk to the silent land for the word to come
Where the birdsong is lost in the heat
And blossoms drop down unlit streets
And grass climbs over what I think of as home
And I pull these remnants up to my chin
Open my mouth and pray for rain to come
Abandon the world’s yoke, where all bear sins
Abandon the words to these guttural moans
Will I be holy enough to speak again
And when I speak, return, sated deep in the bone

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Sonnet #180

I can imagine Hell, but never Heaven

When I think of death, I can picture
A nightmare that extends in structure
to unravel a soul in a comatose prison
But what of heaven? How can the dream
of peace we forget upon awaking let
us imagine an eternity of forget, forget
And would I even be who I think I am?
When I think of what a soul might be
I think of memory, the story of myself
The way I tell myself and you our histories
Forget all loves, for those are stories, shelves
full of books disintegrating, stuck together
All this dust was once the library of Alexander

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Sonnet #179

If God wanted you to be rich, they say
He’d make you rich. If you were worthy of his
blessings; that’s what they whisper and hiss
When they kneel upon their balconies to pray

Consider the sparrow, how she is dressed so fine
How all her food is free for the taking
Until we cut down all the trees and mowed and raking
Until our owned ground is clean and neat, we’ll mine

Some distant topsoil to grow all the seeds
We’ll sell them back to sparrows for their feathers
If God wanted sparrows not to meet their needs
By selling their feathers, why make the feathers
So beautiful? God’s blessings skip the weeds
God’s blessing bends sparrow skin to our leathers

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Sonnet #178

Not tonight, not ever, not until the stars burn out
I will not sleep until the work is done
and the work is never done by rise of sun
So I work, and push my eyes and hands to doubt
The meaning of all words, the worth of this
When all that lives and dies is just a beard
of green, a stubble growth, that time reared
And time will shave down with a glacier kiss
And everything we work so hard, and all will
All will… Please, but let me leave this mark
Let me just make a mess that’s worth the still
awake of me. I can clean it tomorrow. The lark
of wakefullness was once a childhood thrill
No joy, just terror enough to attempt a melting ark

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Sonnet #177

Even when the poem kind of sucks
There’s something caught between the teeth
That merited some jive and shuck
Some music, a little bass, a decent beat
Can you dance to the poem? Is there rhythm?
Is there enough of a presence there to spare
A single thought to verse? Holy chrism
of the kings is best when it’s not so rare
When nothing is so walled away that divinity
Will not scatter into the weeds as well as fields
Let us all have our moment – let all serenities
of voice and soaring join for even broken wheels:
An engine that barely turns, a mud-packed vessel
That takes great effort to dig out, shovel and wrestle

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Sonnet #176

I know the storm is coming but I don’t

know when the storm is coming, but it will

I’m supposed to have a plan, and I will

But, right now, I have no plan. I don’t

even know what direction to run when the time

to run begins. The bathroom, I guess?

All those pipes are supposed to help, guess

a direction and watch out for glass and time

will tell if I guessed right. And when it passes

The wreckage it leaves? I’ll call the insurance

I’ll take photographs and beg for bus passes

If there’s still bus passes. Is that enough insurance

against it? If the storm is a big one, God passes

the flood down, no savings, no plan, no insurance

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Sonnet #175

The tip jar that consumes the world
Exists so owners don’t have to pay
So they can tell you it’s your say
Whether you make a living wage or
Not. Everyone needs a tip jar, now
We must be kind on Facebook
Get as many people to seek and look
Otherwise when debts and bills grow
When cancer comes, when lost jobs
When sick children, when broken cars
When the month adds up to rob
And no one knows how anyone ever
Made a living in this country before
No one ever has enough, just tips for more

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Sonnet #174

They run along the wires above the dogs
If they fall, it’s thirty feet to ground
And even there, up there, the dialog
is loud, the angry shouts, the sound
of the frustrated hunters, the warnings.

To get to even one sunflower head, it takes
A courage to face every morning
Because the whole world hunts and slake
their bellies on squirrel meat and bones
The brave leave safety, run to bury
All they need to brace for storms
To starve or race the feathered or hairy
The barking dog, the hawks and swooping falcon:
Grant me a squirrel’s courage to brave grimalkin

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