Dogslandia

Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sonnet #229

Who owns the poem and knows what it means —
Who writes the questions on the test —
Who chooses what is good and what is best —
And understands the truth inside the lean?
Oh star crossed letters, I do not know
Why ever would I stop to explain
When what I know is written plain
And never made much sense to me, so
Work it out upon a word, these little steps
Into the hills, walking round the mountains
Where the bird songs should be kept
And rainstorms come — Oh, star crossed mountains
Every step is lost and lost, inept
Others say what footprints planted claim

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sonnet #228

At first, when we find life on other planets
We will ooh and aah and protect their wild
Better than we ever cherished our own child
This will not last, and then we will man it
This other world, we will choose to keep it kill
As it suits our plans, at first lip service to peace
the gingerly process of planting our flags and trees
Just a little, just to try, just to study, just this hill
For a while we will restrain ourselves
Then, in time, the lines between the worlds
Gets blurry, we take what’s there we sell
We push the wild into gardens, walled
Then wilderness of worlds will hurt each other
Where the escape of visitors spreads on either

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sonnet #227

oh my pigeon heart where will you fly

When eggshell-colored skin cracks open bleeds
And shakes, and surgeons come for all they need
And my pigeon heart will leave me to die
And carry on a pulse in another’s chest
Will it be a monster or a man, will they love
One another as I have loved you, and move
Together when the dancing starts, try their best
Will the pigeon heart be soothed? And how long?
How many caverns can carry a heart, someday,
 will organs pass down like a children’s song
Learned at cradles, returned to cradles to play
Another round, hearts passing down where wrongs
In air collect, but my pigeon heart is strong — it stays

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sonnet #226

We are so careless with our wild and precious world
We live as if the size of us is endless horizons
As if there will always be another mountain
Another valley, another lake, new boys and girls
As joyful, as safe, as fulfilled and fulfilling
As if progress is measured by the gravity
of money, how it seems to magnetize more money
into heaping imaginary mountains unending
As if the imaginary mountain is greater than
The one that is blown apart, all waters polluted
We cannot eat the imaginary mountain
We cannot live beside these forests denuded
We cannot promise that there will be life again
So broadly this poem, beat it hard, prosecute it

Monday, January 1, 2018

Sonnet #225

I took my prayers to the oldest tree
And blew them up into the branches bare
In some few weeks I hope they sprout in green
When seasons turn, but I know what grows is rare
The winter branches catch what ghosts they can
But most will drift into the clouds, and this is grey
All those low, bleak winter clouds, all plans
That have been lost, dreams that escaped this day
I took my prayers as well to Balcones Fault
Where the crevice in the rocks cuts deep
Old Gods inside the earth with wounds of salt
Will they accept what clouds will weep
All lost prayers become the green eventually
Just give it time, an earth, a sky, you’ll see.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ten Birds

Mary, Queen of Sorrows, came
To see my garden green
I showed Her all the flowers where
They dropped as frost cut clean

I showed Her all the fruit that fell
Where tumbled on the grass
And trampled earth in mud will stain
The boots of all who pass

We set a tea set in the field
And served Her as She pleased
We poured sweet earth washed watery
And sliced this pie of me

A crust of mud, a crackling kiln
A dry, sandblasted pie:
Limestone-pocked the filthy seal
we cracked to ten birds fly

A pigeon for my beating heart
Red cardinal for my soul
Two grackles there for my great fears
One is grey and one is gold

House sparrow for the work I've made
A mockingbird for anger
A scrub jay blue for all lost things
Dear chickadee for laughter

The titmouse for my courage
To be tiny takes the brave
Black vulture for the meat of me
No flesh is ever saved

Ten birds' flight before the Queen
Each freedom chips at ivory
They scratched Her eyes and battered ears
And shattered statuary

We buried Mary, Holy Queen,
In a frostburned barrow
We hope someday She'll rise again
When birds return to harrow

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sonnet #224

Remember the Alamo, how the brave men died
But forget the reason they stood their ground
Forget how most came in great number and lied
About their conversion to the faith and found
Ruins of cultures wracked with newer diseases
And refugees of wars they care not remember
And burned the survivors in toil in the Missions
And shipped in their stolen souls for more embers
So the beautiful hills could be pushed under hoof
And haciendas and plantations and all free men
with the whip and the scythe could stand aloof
Until the distant capitol elected freedom from
free men, they rallied their rifles and rabbled and roused
And held unto death against lessers, brave and proud

Friday, December 8, 2017

Sonnet #223

Snow came when we weren't ready for it
That night, I called her to the porch to look
Up, where the drifting clouds shivering shook
the puffs that fell like dead clouds sifted

Children in the dark were dragged from bed
Raced into the late night air to catch a flake
In their hands, in their hair, on their tongues, awake
Smile at this miracle, cheeks rosy and red

Also red are the firetrucks, where the road ices
How many dead will slide into the walls?
How many accidents, brown-outs, and crisis
when these strange incidents sweep and fall?
Snow came, we weren't ready, but we try this
Pretend we aren't afraid for siren's call

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sonnet #222

The birds will not remember me, nor bees
nor butterflies, but that they lived better and more
will be legacy written in every shadow in the sky
When I am gone, and mud drowns all my sores
There will be living birds that sing memorials
and do not realize to whom their song adores
The honey will be sweet where flowery vials
bore the bounteous nectar and butterflies tore
chrysalises open for gardens painted on the wings
And generations of the flyers hid among these leaves
next to my door, where otherwise was nothing
lawn of grass, mowed, ignored, wilderness bereaved
Where now there is a garden because I lived here
Pilgrims fly in memory of my gardens that were

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sonnet #221

The ghosts are always here where we - Remember
their Reflections - Trace the story of
the death of those - Who bear our crass dissections
- Giants striving after giants - They
linger in the wind - Where breath calls to
the ghost of giants: a name and all their sins
For all good art is built on mis’ry - Sorrow
sings all songs - And memory of loss, a story
- That echoes far along - The music bends
to voices new - Who reinterpret painted
stones - Master  builders born anew
-Build ships from giant bones - haul dreams
Of giants, new made kings - all makers

rise to carry - their ghosts shape hopes and beams

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sonnet #220

I have been asked to take a side - I take
no sides with thee - whatever sides there are
I will prefer to take the side of trees. We make
a world of men and say we are glory and the power
But our faith demands we seek the lowest beggars
clothe the naked, heal the sick, and feed the poor:

The forest is not naked, is not sick, and blooms forever
But we beggars take until remaining is no more

I think, in faith, we must investigate what makes us poor
For if the world abundant sings, and we in poverty -
It was the treatment of  the trees that give us all we are;

The trees are never crying, never tiring, have no snobbery
The trees and blessings of the trees go to elephants and insects
Accumulated mysteries in between make bounty's architects

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sonnet #219

Walk deep into the wilderness where you are
Be it desert plain or forest hills or swimming out to sea
Where there is no sound of the roads running cars
No sounds of the rumble and bustle of we
Listen where the leaves fall and you can hear it
Where the slightest breeze whispers music
And autumn paints pictures where tree roots sit
And birds recall a world where their cries acoustic
Are all that sounds like a song, are the brooks
there babbling? Are they singing a new song?
Are the waves upon the shore roaring, are you shook?
Do not confuse these noises with peace, that's wrong
Your only peace in that place is that you can go home
Once upon a time, that was the song of the ruins of Rome.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sonnet #218

The seed pods hang like ribbons, my Esperanza:
Yellow bell flowers, clustered and many
Spent all the summer becoming this stanza
Where I pick the seed and marvel at plenty
Over the fences, and into the arroyo and up
Along the ridge, all these hopeful seed pods
Who knows how many will take? Don’t give up
It only takes one green glory rising above sod
One quiet yellow legacy from bean fingers reaching
“Spread me out! Let them be free!” So many die
So many choke or drown or bury, sleeping
Until the weather breaks and a poem rises
I see a flower bloom, in corners, and I know
These distant golden blossoms: I am he that throws

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Five Mythical Monsters From the Edges of the Map

"The season of ghouls and goblins upon us, and the monsters that show up often reflect our fear of the unknown. Across the street, my neighbors drape orange lights around tattered black clothes that stream from ghoulish skeletal masks. Pumpkins appear carved to reflect a kind of hunger that speaks to nature: We will all be devoured by the plants. The monsters in our culture that are most common, I think, involve ideas like “undeath” (which sounds like it isn’t such a bad deal if you can stomach a little murder) and afterlife entities like ghosts. Frankenstein’s monster and his bride are reconstituted dead bodies. Many of our modern monsters and monstrous frights involve the unknown, and for us, that means death.

"But in other eras and other times, the unknown meant something more than just death. The unknown began a few miles from home, at the edge of the villages where the forests became dark, or the sea might drop off into an abyss at the edge of the world. ..."
Read the rest: https://www.tor.com/2017/10/26/five-mythical-monsters-from-the-edges-of-the-map/#comments