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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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Sonnet #268

My body is here; my mind is not
I get lost on the old trails of memory
Lost in the books that I carry and that carry
Me in return, lost in the way I wish what
I could do to make things better for us
And what I want to do to make my hands
Still, my head still, to try and fulfill plans
And finish what I started: to leave no mess
When I am done. My body is here, but I
Am an energy vibrating in time’s shadow
I will never be here with you, never just lie
In the darkness, where the wood shadows
My face and we can pause together as I
Am an energy, moving and dreaming and off I go

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Sonnet #267

We could take it all, someday, you understand

It is possible that man and woman mine it all

And nothing’s left in the ground, and drills fall

silent and all the rock down to the lava lands

have nothing left to take — We live in a finite world

It only feels infinite because we are far more finite

We couldn’t possibly make our way among the firmament

We will birth, love, death in only corners, gather pearls

Where we may, and never know the cost of what we take

There is a limit to the soil, a limit to the oil, a limit

One day, we’ll scrape it up, and that’s all we’ll take

Because there’ll be nothing left but climate

Burning off what’s left of us, the oceans boil to lakes

of fire, and the fever breaks; this place is finite.

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Sonnet #266

I take great pride in little things, like this:

Any time of day, any time of year, I go
into my little southern garden I know
that there will be butterflies, their whisper kiss
alighting on the flowers, there, planted
to call them down from the clouds —
the bees are always there — I’m proud
to say they bustle in the vines and shrubs
while I refrain from laying poisons down;
The work, when I am getting to it, shove
a few words down, a few more, grown
from meat in great discomfort, grubs
gnawing and i yank and pull and throw
I know someday they’ll be beautiful ones

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Sonnet #265

the stories we tell to our children
are the stories we tell to the future
the stories we tell to each other
are the stories we tell to the days olden
It sounds like perhaps I have this reversed
But, listen, when we speak of the past
to the children, we’re telling the stories that last
about ourselves, about life’s trajected, projected
And we mean them to carry down the line
When I tell stories to my peers, I say
I tell you what, man, I say do you find
that we are alike? Do you remember the way
the same way I remember the way, I’m tryin’
to be sure to take the shape of myself, have my say

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Sonnet #264

Even as I know the dreams we’re sold are broken,

I dream the dreams I’m taught. The big house, the big,

big kitchen, with the big island and the big, big, big

yard far avenues beyond the reach of subway tokens

My dreams of what it means to be a man break

The world that will be here when I am dead

Our children will stand in ruined suburbs, having spread

our ashes in the fall; whisper curses to our love, how we take

More than we give to the ground, how we

Break more than we heal, how they must

come after us and mine the tombs of cities, how we

hoarded all our failed ease in buried heaps, how they must

look into the sky we burnt for our dreams, how we

Make money and call it love, how they must

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Sonnet #263

These men who think they rule the world unto dust,
Do they truly believe their children’s children
And their children’s children’s children will bend
Enough guards to their service, hold against rust
In compounds and bunkers and underwater kingdoms
While all the rest of us are burning and drowning
And all the moneys of the world will have meaning
When there are no countries left to honor income?

The wild places of the world will avenge upon
The ones who believe so much in science and technology
That they don’t believe they have to stop open
-ing the tombs of time and burning all the geologies
The men who think they rule the world yawn
Where teeth rise in the shadows of hollow apologies.

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Sonnet #262

We never know what will be kept of us

Locked away in memories of those we know

We don’t own the memory of us, don’t own

The way people talk about the best of us —

The snout butterfly, late summer rains rise strong
So swarms scurry to seek nectar and appropriate leaves
The hackberry’s a weed tree, I kill all I recieve
A fast-growing thing, thank god snouts devour on
And on, great numbers accumulating, press towards

horizons and winds, grackles scatter among the drifts

Snatching between cars that smash through herds

Each fluttering tries to carry hope, tries to sift

the sky itself for signs of nectar, the proper tree;

Some live, some die as food or badly – whatever will be

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Sonnet #261

the obscurity of my work is a warm blanket
I don’t know how it came to me or when it goes
But here is it, upon my shoulders this throw
Of void between the work I do and the thanks for it

I leave these messages in empty places, ships
In bottles, floating on the sea and if the glass
Shatters I like to think the ship sails past
The battering, and for a while, before it slips

I hope. Without acclaim as a virtue chased
All work exists in my workshop, where I
Know Best what woods to use, what place
To leave it on the shore, where noise rise
And take what I give to the world, to be played
Where I can’t hear the song, my warm happy lie

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