Sonnet #288

It takes damage to get to the top of the heap

It takes planned, organized damage to rise

Until all of society bends to the way your lies

about yourself, about how you can easily sleep

How you made yourself, you say, and still

The way we value cities is how we sell them

Best to men like you, who stand above and stem

the cost of damage with money, we build

each place for men like you, how you dream

how others who wish to emulate you seek to grow

The things the rich men do not want seem

To drift away: dirty work, untamed grass, unknown

people with different ways: They must fall in stream

Share your damage, demand damage built and grown

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Read “Tiger” free at Reckoning Magazine’s Website

TIGER

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.
I was following leads among machinists and fine artists in my region to no solution, limited by my own budget and time constraints, perfectly happy to find nothing at all until I retired and the case was old and forgotten, when I was suddenly assigned a powerful data crawler: an AI-algorithm named Deep Thor. The case was assigned his advanced intelligence analysis for three weeks, total, which is an astonishing amount of usage with a powerful AI on such a criminally trivial matter. I had no request or desire for this assistance. Apparently, Deep Thor had found a special interest in Doolittle, independently, and requested this deep dive to assist in case of terrorist escalation that was, I had to admit, possible given the machines’ high-level industrial design and the integrated radical political manifestos. I felt I was to blame. This was a result of my own official reporting intended to justify my long-continued investigations, fed back to me by machines incapable of human nuance.
AWARDS REMINDER: This story was published in print in 2018, so is currently eligible for awards and nominations in the current cycle. Now. Right now. Do check out this fine publication and make sure not to miss it, because there’s a lot of fantastic material worthy of consideration in this rising, quality publication!

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Sonnet #287

All the words we’ve ever spoken hang in space

The energy of them, the ripple of them extend
Into the wind, itself, we are all the weathermen
We are all blowing every phoneme to the place
Where all the lost words gather. I breathe, you breathe
The breath of us spills out into the trees
It falls into the ocean eventually from capture in the leaves
It sinks into the groundwater, we drink what we seethe
Shout all you want into the endless skies
Sing every song you want to be carried
For even if we cannot hear the lingering sighs
The echo of every cry out trembles unburied
When the music plays, it never stops, it lives and dies
Out in the air: Make good music, good words, and varied

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New Patreon

Follow this link, and participate.

New Patreon Who Dis:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/new-patreon-who-24416712

Gain access to the original novella, “The Mountain” and some short fiction, too.

https://www.patreon.com/jmmcdermott

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Sonnet #286

Catkins, cattails, cats and kittens, will all,

bob and bounce and beckon to be tugged,
And not a one respects the lines we plugged
into our maps, just wind and the passing fall
of weather in the streets of spring’s ripening
I know the familiar dances of the season
I watch the sky for sudden storms and reasons
to wear a raincoat, listen for the cats that sing
Because there will be waves of cats, pouring
up from all the cracks and hidden places
Among the reeds and long grasses, scouring
every little living hole, every tussock, these vast races
That scurry and bob and dance and their soaring
The wild, unkempt grass – that beautiful long grass

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Sonnet #285

Here comes the wind, again, the howling blowing off

The harbinger of it is this rushing pushing flushing
That punches all the palm trees, knocksbranches and brushing
the forgotten nuts and fruits and leaves, hats will doff

One way or another: pay respects and bow if only
To collect the loose papers and lost scarves
I have seen the signs: two eyes burning, a close shave
On the early morning hours, the sirens withholding

A white heron stands in the storm drain runoff
Hunting where no fish are found, just trash
And sometimes toads awake too soon and lost,
The green algae and bracken will not last
But that is what is left, and where I stand, too
The great white bird of me, sunk into

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Sonnet #284

I take great comfort in your indifference, fair reader,

How I am shivering as much to myself as to you,

And nothing that I bluster will last much longer

Than the wind it took to breathe these words through

 

The letters on this page will keep for no one

The letters on my tombstone will moss and fade

The only future spirit of me is not the glory of the blade

Or the wisdom of the pen, only the echo of what I’ve sewn

 

It will not be attributed to me, this echo, but it moves

where my hands move, following the spirit of the hawks

That hover where all the birdfeeders are, the waves

that crash the shellfish, crush them open and seagulls walk

among the shells devouring; all the brave

stumble, no courage here, just wind in the cornstalks

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Sonnet #283

On the ceiling of the world, a jumping spider leaps
From stone to stone, alone, to hunt the blown
things, the wind carries bugs up too far, they’re thrown
into the ice and rocks where these spiders creep;

Let’s say that means, the highest things, above all
biomes, above all ecosystems, above all of us
the spiders, alone rule, they march among the rust
colored and wind-blasted and sunbleached and snowfalls

Victory is theirs, dominion is all theirs, untouched
by predators except each other, I assume, they rule
this kingdom mercifully, ignoring all the lesser wretches
Only taking offerings of the Aeolians songs, only cruel
Where they can be bothered to extend their royal reach
The rest of all their kingdoms permitted to be so, below.

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Sonnet #282

Church is where we go to imagine who we are

I think, perhaps, we have gotten busy worrying
About imagining  who other people are, burying
Our consideration in the mess, forgetting stars
Exist without concern for who observes them—burn
With consequence, turn slowly into black ice—
And the words of a book will never splice
The distance between all things; but it turns
in a little, makes us remember stories
That carry other stories that carry others
And echo into us the silence at the heart of stories
The vast, beating darkness that made mothers
And will strip away the bothersome noise of stories
Of moments in this moment; a steam, a rudder

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Sonnet #281

The pomegranate trees believe in spring so much

They burst with any sign of turn in weather

Not me. I know the cold will come to touch,

another hard wind, another long night, down feathers

piled upon down feathers, a faucet dripping

And in the morning, when the sun wakes up

the warmth will remind us of a dream of spring

But, not yet. Go back to sleep. This is night’s cup

to drink away the darkness, and grow no leaves

This is the cynical hour, the misery hour, the late,

late hour, where every gesture of the daylight flees

when damp, wet air coughs storms, wait, and wait

Pomegranate trees, burned again, will never yield
Spring is ever in their branches — again, they unpeel

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