Sonnet #255

Things that clean the skin and kill infections:
Salt and acid waters pouring out from inside skin
The sweat that drenches washes us from within
And sunlight dries the damp and mold, is our protection
And moving bodies flush the blood through stiff
The way we move, the hard or gentleness depends
Upon the manner of our frustrations and how well bends
Still it heals, it all heals, all this hard summer heft
I have a stump in back and when I am sickly take the axe
In all weather, I take the mattock and dig and churn
It is not so mighty of a stump but it still grows back
And racing roots I work to break the deepness and spurn
Where all roots spread, to haul it up from earth, my back
Cracks where the metal hits the tree, it heals — I burn.


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Sonnet #254

Flow like water, In your life, be water, say the wise

Where I live rich men drain the aquifer
They reroute rivers and bottle up water
From the delicate places, wrap in plastic fly
It over land in huge trucks, or sell water rights to cities
Desalinate for cities, huge, impossible palaces
Cool and soft in hard, dry places, crowded offices
Pull water in pipes up, fountains, green grass, pretty
Where ten miles out the sand blows like Ozymandias
Waiting out the rich men and their water, all that water
Water everywhere, and all of it to drink, our land of this
Rerouted stuff, to reach a limit.
Flow like water
Say the wise, let life’s flow pour like water, towards the rich
Pour into their labor forces and desert mortgages: don’t resist.

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Sonnet #253

Beloved daughter of the beast in question,

Has no words to speak to how her parents met

In fact, I’ve never heard it spoken, yet

How mother was tricked, held against her intentions

Until the monster’s mask was shaken free

By their great wrestling and shouting matches –

She speaks so highly of her father, she latches

to his great work, his great kindom in the trees

When asked about the curse, she says we are all

born with original sin upon us, let us move on

From such tedious subjects as the sins we share all

done in the name of, and let the servants’ son

in to serve us tea. Beloved son of candelabras

He was born inherited to serve, and to sing a little opera

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Sonnet #252

Let’s say we walk away from Omelas

Out into these wide wilder fields

Where the bracken chokes the grass

And the clustered trees scratch not heal

Let’s say we live among the trash

That floats into the mangroves from the city

Construct our lone utopias, gather, lash,

what sticks we have to lean-to in the trees

Let’s say the seasons come, it’s cold

Let’s say we know the starving time is here

Let’s say Omelas in plenty casts it’s hold

In trash we gather to eat and scare the bears

Did we walk far enough, Ursula? Is this enough?

When we are wilder creatures, lean and rough?

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Sonnet #251

The vine is handed down from masters,
The methods are more modern, digital tools
An electric range, clean sugar, free of bone…

Wait until the halfturned grape, grackles’ laughter
In the leaves, then pick them tart like fools
To soon to eat, too soon for wine, leave none
Behind. Okay, let’s clean them up, for starters
Knock the spiders out of them, be not cruel
They are good friends, help them back home

And they’ll help the vine next year, the clusters
Must be gleaned, of rot and ruin and insectivores
At last crush, mill and now we’re finally at step one

measure out the sweetness, start the fire, pure the jars
The work more the vine’s, not ours: a sun, long green arms

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Sonnet #250

This is why we fight: Because the happi-
ness that we were promised comes in fits
and spurts at best and in between the bits
of time we fill with toil and nothing, lacking
joy while striving for it, there is no contentment;

The rose will bloom in summer, seasons turn
and push and push as miser’s advisory burns
the forest down to weeds, empties night music
where the toads are silent, crickets gone, the bird
bones decay in falling nests, where void breaks
no song of memory, the absence of life is a word
that forgets to speak itself, a field of rocks
that forget how to be awash with trees and flowers
No echo of them, either; this is why we fight.

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Sonnet #249

The skin of snakes resembles corpses eaten hollow

Upon this open grass, I wonder why she chose to shed

Where no shelter from the sky is, nothing’s hid

She broke the scales, and peeled herself anew

Abandoned this particolored cape and pushed afield

On open ground, a busy road, hawks in all seasons

Wild dogs run in the twilight, filthy and mean

The coyotes sneak in, too: in darkness all reveals

The skin of snakes betrays the snakes, extends

Their territories, shining brighter than scat

A dazzling display upon the grass, a jeweled end

A brazen scent for the sniffers, a warning to cats

and all creatures, rattlesnakes roam this bend

Devour themselves hollow, from the inside-out

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Sonnet #248

Cicada songs of summer, come to me,
Where life drones on despite the heat
I watch a tiny insect sing above a street
In evening twilight, starlight breaking free
A galaxy around us, an infinite expanse
And this precarious insect’s tiny love song
He was born in soil, died in soil, rose strong
from death to sing of life and to dance
Behind them always death, the shells,
a life in transformations come; how
weak we were, we ring our churchbells
Fall in water, say we’re transformed now
And transformed again as our husks all fell
We sing among the stars, someday: we know.

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Sonnet #247

I will fail again, I know this, so will you,

We’ll fail at what’s important and what we need

We’ll fail also at what matters little, and we’ll bleed

for those tiny things. We’ll fail, and fail, and be blue

I nearly killed three birds: I thought their nest

was empty in the attic vent, it was not, and their

faint chirps for two days felt like echoes, there

where so many birdsongs echo, until they pressed

against the new metal screen, sad and desperate

Fledglings ready to fly, but trapped, they had hid

While we had reached into the corners, nest despots

Yanking all the down and straw away. We did.

We did. We monsters stapled metal, and it’s hot

I failed the birds. I cut them free. I hope they live.

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Sonnet #246

I heard some word that God won’t give

a weight to you that you can’t carry;

I don’t believe it. With crap like this, be wary –

It’s the thing that people say who give

A little more weight, a little more

Just one more piece, until the straw

Is made of heavy iron and they hem and haw

at you, blame you for your pain and sores;

A camel can’t pass through the eye of a needle

Unless its crushed under the weight of god –

He smashes you down, with help from the Beadle

to smash you down more, more weight, more rod

cracked hard upon His errant child, God will wheedle

You can carry what I give. I know better. Be awed.

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