Thursday, August 18, 2016

Spider, Butterfly and Sun (Burchfield), Sonnet #311

No spider ever trapped a butterfly
With joy. Their tasteless wings are a nuisance,
And, thrashing, rip up and clutter his threads.
They take the turning of the earth to die.
The thorax he sucks isn't sustenance,
Not like a caterpillar's juicy breads.
He labors to disentangle the shreds,
Fling them to the wind and throw new weave;
Thus, sun to sun, he can't stay still, deceive
New prey, who run from the trembling web.
He damns the Monarch as his powers ebb.
At last, his lair is ready to receive.
That night a stumbling, great green luna moth
Destroys it with wings of savorless cloth.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Colorful Lightning (Klee), Sonnet #310

The master can show the moon in a storm
If he chooses to -- the answer is why?
Too simple to think for the sake of form,
The willful undermining of the norm.
It's his, this stylus-petted, stepped-down sky.
There's not one cloud. The scarred night air is dry.
Standing outside his miniatures, we stare
At what we can't be sure he meant to share.
One summer, I stood on a factory roof
And watched heat lighting crack the night apart.
The moon penetrated the hazy air
Just once, a blind man, stupid and aloof,
Hardly a subject for a work of art.
The whistle blew and I went down the stairs.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"Old Busty" (Mihail Chemiakin), Sonnet # 309

They called him "Old Busty" for his bowling ball head
Which he threw at the castle rats and knocked them dead.
The Blue Prince liked to poke his thumbs in his sockets
And press just hard enough OB could see rockets.
The Green Duke begged his father to see a woman.
He petted Dad's purple robe obsequiously
And offered to conjure up a hopeful omen
Of the end of his cranial obesity.
The Prince, ever preoccupied with his big brain,
Could not hear his baby boy's incessant refrain.
"Old Busty," in truth, was named for other reasons,
Long forgotten. He was a she with bumptious breasts,
And once was honored, above all, the sexy best;
No more -- her empty teats fed Blue and Green, her sons.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dream Storage Tank (Michael Antman), Sonnet #308

You feel layers of life of centuries
On Chicago streets, ubiquitous brick
Portraits and both mouthed and shouted stories
Of, not the dead, but spirits, pressed thick
Into the interstices of the air.
We know they are millions, huddling there,
So well hidden it's difficult to care.

How often tuck-pointed, the old brownstone,
Arched windows flattened by a glazier,
An old storage tank topped with a tin cone.
The lives within could not be hazier.
A haloed sweetheart with her mural grin,
Absolves spirit and flesh of painted sin.
The unseen millions breathe, breathe out, breathe in.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Anthropomorphic, Sonnet #307

I've read and seen for myself that seeing
The human face in inanimate things --
A pattern in a floor tile or the rings
In a calm pond disturbed by fish feeding --
Occurs most often and unlooked for when
One has suffered again and again.
I find myself wincing and suddenly
Distracted from pain by another me.
After years of recovery, faces
Appear when I'm tired and oblivious,
Staring, which my staring back erases,
Leaving the abnormally obvious.
An old woman, weeping, wrapped in a cloak,
Is agony inhabiting an oak.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

LOFT (Michael Antman), Sonnet #306

The loft will fall if the foundations rot.
The window frames are already bending.
The masonry, pitted by ageless soot,
Awaits the inevitable rending
Of every pillar and joist underneath --
The spitting of mortar like broken teeth.
Two pairs of women's shorts are on display,
But the lonely workman ignores the show.
Naked legs would only be in his way.
He turns the electric vacuum to blow.
Now he must wait for everything to dry.
He looks up for the first time, starts to cry.
He's sundered by a sweet paralysis.
It's beautiful, he thinks, not sure what is.

This is the third photo by my friend and editor
Michael Antman that I've written about. You can find his
considerable collection of photos at Instagram,
Or, if you're already on Instagram, his username
is michaelantman.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Le Pointe de la Heve at Low Tide (Monet), Sonnet #305

The moon pushing oceans around like that?
Like the wind stripping your head of your hat.
Something a quarter million miles away
Drains our inlets and beaches twice a day,
And pushes oceans out fifty feet higher
To leave rocky steps not dry, but drier.
We walk the muddy flats. Bulbous seaweed
Drapes rock like wigs, hiding crabs, and tide pools
Trap octopi and little fish who feed
Ravenously while the evening cools.
The seagulls plucked the stranded hours ago.
Exhaustion precedes the tide's inward flow.
All is waste and bare, a weak memory,
Soon to be drowned by weaker gravity.