#NaPoWriMo2020 #15

a bitter pill
is neither red nor blue –
Just hard to swallow
When you know its taste
Might not agree with
What you know is true,
Or think you know, or
wish you never knew.

A spirit quest
That will not be contained –
It calls us gently
From sleep’s dormant state.
We rise embued with purpose
And a mission preordained
And leave a life constrained
Before by darkened memories.

There’s music hiding
In between the lines
and spaces of the words
the pages hold.
A secret message unwinds
The latent magic
And the sacred music
that resides deep within.

#NaPoWriMo2020 #14 – Poets who inspire

A poet who used be a swimmer
And a chess player showed me her sonnets.
It didn’t take long for me to try one.
Fourteen lines and it was love at first sight.

She swam on a precision team. She played
Chess with homeless men in Dupont Circle.
In her day job she analyzed and crunched
Complex numbers at a government bank.

We sent letters with sonnets we’d compose
Back and forth for several years before
The spell broke. We went our separate ways,
Our poetry paradise forsaken.

Could it have ended any other way?
What is an end? Sonnets still fill the space.


Where is Cyndi Lauper? We need her today.

#NaPoWriMo2020 #13 – stuff stolen without apology

We have entered the mid-month long slog,
The third week when all bets are off
And anything may present itself
As poetry of crisis. Let the giants
Fall and die a fitting death. Let big banks
Fail. What do we care? A few billionaires
Become millionaires. How about the poor,
who lose jobs, and houses, and life savings?
How about a plan to bail out Main Street?
You shared your time with me for free.
I took it, stole it like a thief in the night.
We were two ships sailing, two starts crossing
In the distant night sky, passing port to port,
trading resilience for efficiency.


Connected by only the thinnest of threads to this poem . . .But man, what a video!

#NaPoWriMo2020 #12 – a triolet

It is so hard to separate facts
From lies, to know what’s concrete
When surrounded by so many abstracts.
It is so hard to separate facts.
When it’s always a lie that attracts,
The plain truth can barely compete.
It is so hard to separate facts
From the garbage and all the deceit.

#NaPoWriMo2020 #11 – a flower poem (goes awry)

African marigolds are beautiful.
Google just gave me a screen full of images,
Which is good since DC regulations
Only allow us essential travel
During this lockdown. Thank God for Google –
We can view assorted images of beauty
In Retina display on our iMacs
In the comfort of our living rooms.

Some folks say Jesus died on Friday night.
I mean no disrespect, but I’m not buying it –
the whole cross story just doesn’t add up.
Let’s work backwards. If Jesus rose the third day,
Wouldn’t that be Monday? Three days later?
But isn’t Easter Sunday, the second day?

#NaPoWriMo2020 #10 – Haiku

I can do haiku.
But hay (na) ku might not be
my choice cup of tea.

These days corona
rules the schedule of our lives –
lockdown – stay at home.

Let’s flatten the curve,
keep corona from spreading –
keep the hounds at bay.

Record this crisis!
Tell stories of daily life.
Archive each event.

The really cool thing
is that haiku fits so well
And lives on Twitter.

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 #5

See the line at Trader Joes this morning?
Wrapped down the block and around the corner –
Each shopper six feet apart from the next?
Whole Foods is still out of Vitamin C
And limiting frozen pizza to four
Per shopper. Good prices on naval oranges –
Stocking up to stave off scurvy, rickets.

Press conference on standby – gotta get
Latest developments on the crisis.
Never mind the moral imbecility
Of the press corps – the message seeps through
Their banterings and raillery
(And that’s being charitable. My goodness!)
The time to learn the news is nigh.

Lockdown sonnet #4

Work meetings on Zoom today –
Two confirmed cases on campus
Mean shutdown until further notice.
But the library can never completely close
So there’s telework for all library staff –
Eight hours per week on site.
This ain’t a poem, it’s a list, too much
Is happening to restrict it to 14 lines.

Taxes postponed. What if it’s all a fraud?
Read some good Angolan history today –
Precolonial stuff, and an Amilcar Cabral
Essay: History is a weapon – all for my
Docent course, even though this week’s
Walk-through at the museum is cancelled.

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.

Lockdown sonnet #2

Nobody has bandwidth
To focus on the senators
Who profited from inside information.

We are at that point
In late empire. Justice has removed
Her blindfold to put on
A breathing mask.

It’s a good time for thieves
And rogues. And dirty politicians.
And it’s a good day for poets
Witnessing the birth of new genre.

We’ll all be safe. Besides, we’re in lockdown,
And the pens are full, and the coffee is hot,
And the bookshelves are overflowing.


Again, but broken out of the straitjacket:

Lockdown sonnet #1

Silly me. I always thought
sitting on the dock of the bay
was about Seattle and Bremerton –

It was the only bay I knew,
it fed and housed me well
and gave me countless hours
of solace and meditation.

Time and distant love altered the equation.
One seeks to close the gap
that separates and isolates.

Today we are socially distant,
trying to flatten the curve.
We stay at home. We elbow bump
instead of a goodnight kiss.