Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Angry Sea (Whistler), Sonnet #397

Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 —
What he called the portrait of his mother.
Yet he named this seascape The Angry Sea.
Abstraction, anthropomorphization
Are how we seek out, how we discover
The single me among the countless we.
At first the crashing rollers were lovely,
Even, ordered, making room each for each,
Until they laved the unwelcoming beach.
Was it the ship that made the waves angry,
Or, to Whistler gave them a cause to be?
He flung himself into the sea and swam
And nearly drowned in the surge of “I am.”

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mount Pinatubo, Sonnet #396

I lived near the shadow
Of Mount Pinatubo
Before it blew its top,
Awakening to stop
The sky with hot ashes,
Scar itself with gashes.
In days a typhoon flood
Buried the land in mud.

Sleep is not a muscle,
Though it stretches, tightens,
Can toss around Pluto
Like blood a corpuscle. 
Dream-bursted, it frightens
Like a blown volcano.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Eros (Paul Klee), Sonnet #395

The elemental urges are equal
To triangle, pyramid and diamond,
Constructs stacked neatly, an inverted wall,
Sterile, without a fructifying bond.
There can be love and sex without eros,
The wall of urges dashed with blunt arrows.
The source of the erotic is mental,
As dreams remind us with fleshless chaos,
And barred owls hoot in their ecstatic throes.
We decide love will be wild or gentle.
The eros of the imaginary
Turns lust into love, lovers to quarry.
Only the lovers’ minds can satisfy
By overwhelming the orgasmic lie.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Rhinoceros (Durer), Sonnet #394

The rhino, armored like a knight,
With two weapons — his sheer tonnage
And the horn sticking from his snout —
Will never hesitate to fight.
The least intrusion sparks his rage.
He’s a bully, a brute, a lout. 
He stalks my back yard foraging
For greens he pulls with toothless gums.
The songbirds, opportunist bums —
Chickadees, titmice, and waxwings —
Blanket his back all day for free,
Though he’s kept bug-less by the bee-
Eaters. I’ve learned to dodge my fears.
Each day I scratch behind his ears.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Near Infinity, Sonnet #393

A near infinity away a rock
Lies on the surface of a blasted moon.
No one will ever see it, but it’s there.
An asteroid will slam nearby — the shock
Will leave only a crater or a dune,
Slowly cooling in its star’s blinded glare.
In every sky scraper a fire escape
Stacks thousands of risers and treads of taupe
Or sage, sometimes both, lined with painters tape,
And handrails of pipe never gripped with hope.
Millions of miles of stairs on our planet
Made just in case, which men will never see.
Four dimensions count the hidden quiet,
Fill the near infinite with the empty.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Little Owl (Durer), Sonnet #392

Encore! Let’s sing out with an “o” vowel!
I know of a man like a leetle owl,
Draped head to tail with a golden cowl.
They say he even has a golden bowel
He fills with gophers caught on the prowl.
A kingly bird, his perch a small dowel,
He clears out his cage with a dirty towel.
All that work’s left him with a flappy jowl,
His chirps sounding like a whispered growl.
He’s known to hate the consonant avowal
Unless it leads to a follower’s howl
Of pain or his latest conquest’s yowl
Of pleasure, though that tends to make him scowl.
You choose. As a fowl is he fair or foul?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Petroglyphs (D’Arcy Guerin Gue), Sonnet #391

The artist drew recollections of reality,
Monsters and tornadoes, dead sheep and flooded land;
Everywhere the teeth of electricity,
What he believed was the ravening of the damned.
His god’s head was a woman’s body with four arms.
What else could a god’s brain contain? He never drew
Her face or breasts and dared not imagine her charms,
But depicted his lord’s limbs broken and askew.
The animals he lived on always ran away
And his hungry children begged him in vain to stay.
Alone, at this wall of rock, he fought for his life,
A conqueror, he could not lose until he starved.
The brain of god might consent to become his wife!
He knew he blasphemed as he carved and carved and carved.