Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Mission

The mission is a little hazy, boys,
But there was something in the note I got
About the factory where Gus was shot,
And using us as practical decoys.
We were supposed to make a lot of noise
Both going in and coming out. I thought,
When I first read it, it might be a plot,
But if it is, let's show a little poise.

Think how Achilles, who embraced his death,
Ran at the walls of Troy, and Ajax, too.
They never saw their homes again, but you,
You're still alive, boys, and still drawing breath,
So let me hear your barking shibboleth
And fall in. Let's see what these arms can do.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I'm macerating in my own juice here,
Like that delicious fruit in alcohol
You have there on the mantel, by the doll
With an expression of distaste and fear.
You understand, I love you and revere
Your every thought, even the ones you call
Religious, but I'd rather hit the mall
And shop for thongs than pray. I hope that's clear.

I hold no brief against that holy wine,
Or St. John's Passion. Those things seem all right,
And if you want to eat by candlelight
I don't need to inspect the food. I'm fine
With your believing in something divine,
But supper's growing cold, and that's not right.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Written on the Wall

Who said I had to fight? I never fought,
Because my arms were weak, and my soft hands
Were used to playing flute in marching bands
And working in pastels, which I was taught
By maiden aunts, who told me that they thought
The world was savage, but there must be lands
Of peace, where everybody understands
How beautiful is gentleness. Why not?

So sometimes I was beaten, not too much,
Not meanly – just a little now and then,
And I stood up as in a lion's den
To face each blow, embracing every touch,
And then they'd hand me back my cracking crutch,
Repeating, "Daniel! Now you are a man."

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Endurance is my virtue. No one here
Compares with me. It isn't patience, no,
Nor perseverance, which is just a show,
Not substance. I, of course, could persevere,
But that's too active – it's a sign of fear
To be so quick to move about, so slow
To bear things 'til they're better. What will grow
Or shrink – no matter – we will see next year.

It's all about the sure passage of time,
Which runs consistently, not always straight,
Not always happily. Instead of fate
Octaves and sestets, often not sublime,
Just fourteen more pieces of me that rhyme.
I write another sonnet, and I wait.