#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.

Lockdown sonnet #7

I’m reading Transgenerational Trauma.
I should be planning my day of telework
at home, surrounded by distractions.

No one sits within six feet of me –
social distancing is the new rule.
Garland Nixon is broadcasting

On Radio Sputnik. At noon the pope
is giving a special prayer and Fatima
in Portugal is consecrating the world.

My mask is not stylish but effective.
Everybody on Twitter has something
Snarky to say about the corona virus.

I took my Vitamin C with coffee –
We’ll keep the barking hounds at bay.

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: