Planning Saturday Sonnet

If it rains tomorrow morning I’ll brew
A pot of Vietnamese robusta
And slowly ramble through O’Hara poems –
Meditations in An Emergency.
But if it’s clear, we’ll take the morning tour
Of Lafayette Square with our new friends from
The National Civic Art Society.
And maybe later, brunch at Hay Adams,
And maybe take some snapshots of buildings
Up and down 16th Street. We’ll imagine
Being way uptown and seeing the dome
Of the Jefferson Memorial sit
Atop the White House. Or so it’d appear –
Like two stars in the heavens that seem one.

Memorial Day, 2021 sonnet found me a new cousin.
He’s a third or a fourth counting all
Our common DNA threads. I recognize
His great grandfather’s name, same as my Mama’s
Uncle, who served in France during the war
To end all wars. Same uncle who used to pray
Long prayers in the cold country church heated
By a coal-burning potbellied stove
Just in front of the pulpit. Mama, I’d whisper,
Shivering, why are Uncle Ben’s prayers so long?
She’d whisper back, “Hush boy, your uncle is
Talking with God.” I remember feeling
Empowered to know that someone so close
Had such contact with the Almighty.

Lockdown sonnet #6

A new fountain pen arrived. Nice feel, heft.
German import. Overstock. Priced to sell.
A bit slow on capillary action
At first, as new pens often are. An ink drop
Spilled on my hand and down to the floor.
Should have done this in the kitchen. Trouble.
In paradise. Wife will be enraged.
No refuge will there be from her scorn.

We are both going crazy trying to predict
the unknown unknown. When will it all end?
Meanwhile, I’m preparing a short talk
About how the Portuguese invented
The plantation system memorialized
In the Cape Verdean art form: Morna.

Lockdown sonnet #3

Writing my own poems gave me
A deeper appreciation for poetry
Just like writing my own play
Helped me better understand drama.

Keeping a written record
is a small “d” democratic Art and
the expressed urge to write
is a small “r” republican Virtue.

Both strengthen the body politic.
But both require a voyage, not a visit,
as Mrs. Brooks’s The Chicago Picasso
would be pleased to know we learned.

The present quasi lockdown provides us
Space and time to take the journey.

April 5, 2015

early spring is as colorful as late autumn:
the highway flora is putting on new clothes
winter’s browns and greys displaced by greens
and oranges and reds and purples –

further west, the road gets curvier and trees,
more hardwood that evergreen, more long-legged,
evergreens shorter, bushier –

the baby mountains start to appear,
along with their mothers and fathers –
majestic, protective, persevering –

I can feel my brain starting to bend
to the mountain curves. I switch the station
from talk radio to jazz. A Love Supreme
takes me all the way to my mountain home