Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Work of Such Days

Each day I write a sonnet, if I can,
Although some days are headache-makers: flat,
Uninteresting, and unhelpfully pat,
Resulting in an inspiration ban,
So I might write something like this, a man
Without a conscience, taken to the mat
Attempting verse without the proper hat.
My beret's missing. So is any plan.

The valta comes: I'm turning on a dime —
Look how the antique wheelchair whipped and spun —
A sestet shoots out, like a rotten pun.
I've got no reason, but I have a rhyme
And metrical command, playing with time
Until the sonnet's done. Not good, but done.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I ate fifteen of those weird little things,
So now you'd better tell me what they are,
Or else I'll go outside, get in my car,
And drive through your back yard, whacking the swings
And then out, through the fence. These murmurings
I feel inside are moving me. I'll go far —
Too far, most likely. Meet me at the bar
With vodka, happy talk, and some cheese strings.

Look, I'm prepared to overlook the smoke,
The way the oysters wriggled in the light,
And then that smile, after the second bite.
You must have thought it was a damn good joke:
Pigs in a blanket, sure, pigs in a poke,
Pigs mumbling folk songs. But they're still pigs, right?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Your Feelings

How inappropriate your feelings were
When we encountered love, in its disguise
Of cooing doves holding a branch edgewise
Between them! "Peace," you said. "That's juniper,"
I told you, "not olive." "Or conifer,"
You answered, "Doesn't work. You could devise
A story that explains how, in their eyes,
You see love, but it all comes down to her."

"No," I insisted. "I forget her name."
You smiled and nodded. "Don't you fall apart,"
You warned me. I said, "Don't be so damn smart.
Love's hard to keep. If something is to blame,
It's not the embers of an ancient flame,
But how I see things now, inside my heart."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Reason to Party

I woke up, did a laundry, made some eggs,
And checked the paper for the day's obits;
I'm awfully glad to say I got no hits,
So everyone's alive. Unload the kegs
And start the party early! There are pegs,
Round ones, in square holes, but somehow it fits
Our life: I write a sonnet, while Sue knits
With two cats perched genteelly on her legs.

How odd is it that half that story's true
And half is fiction? The poor cats are dead,
Today's obituaries go unread,
Knitting has never given joy to Sue,
But waking, laundry, breakfast I did do.
So — start the party early, as I said.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Your uncle isn't nice, my father said,
And I always believed him when he spoke.
My father never did much, he was broke
Most years, although he kept his children fed
(In our best years still sometimes short of bread),
But each day, from the moment he awoke,
He told the truth, and never took a poke
At anyone — he turned aside instead.

All that made our lives harder, I might say,
So when my uncle, who sold shirts and ties,
Made me his partner, this was a surprise.
My father's ethics were the only way
He could survive, but with some cash in play
(Unlike my father), I will tell you lies.