Dogslandia

Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Sonnet #213

Performers are not supposed to talk about the guns
That come in the night, those thousand tiny
injuries that mark the skin, just make fun
Dance for the camera, smile and be friendly
Pretend that everything is going to be all right
When the gunmen come in the dark to take
People who made the best choices out of bad, night
comes, good people lie awake in dread, wake
the artists up to help forget that they are afraid
In the same way, the keepers of guns want to forget
The twinge of guilt that hardens like a pearl laid
 black in the back of their mind, where lie regrets
How dare anyone make anyone remember the gun song
all stories sing to the gun song, who holds the gun belongs

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sonnet #212

The big, black, ugly bird that clings
to rooftops in the city, long of wing
And long of neck, naked, warty thing
That swoops out of the twilight, singing
Songs of ugly hunger, early death
Where lost breaths are swallowed breath
by breath, we walked in city streets, enwreathed
in sidewalks, green grass and oak leaves wreath
the idylls of we who pretend until the bird
black bird cawing in the break of dawn, a word
of darkness, swoop upon the rooftops, heard
in bedrooms still dark, waking to a dead word
A kitten half-eaten by the dogs of moonlight
The wicked tooth, and vultures own all twilights

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

All Roads Lead to Rome

Baudicia will tell you this about civilization:
It happens to the body, first the women
Experience the effort to civilize
Where the glory of the empire reaches in
And hammers down and whips away
nothing is left to her own devices,
Then, as if that isn't enough, the men
Must help or die - their bodies
Will be civilized, too;
Then it keeps happening over and over
Until no one even remembers what
Was before, was it even possible
To stand alone in the forest
And feel the shape of destiny guided
By the wind in the trees, the fish swimming
Up the rivers, trapped in the weirs and plums
Dropping in early autumn

This is the story of Adam and Eve
Where the apple of knowledge was a metaphor
For the way it always begins upon a body
Inside a body, and who controls the body
Before it was a paradise on earth

When the braceros came north to work American farms
They were deloused in sheep vats, fully immersed
In ddt. Burned with it. They screamed in pain
When the lettuce and strawberries were more
Valuable than human spines

Many of the children don't remember
How it all started.
It hurts too much to tell them
How we got to here.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Sonnet #211

They call the place Cathedral Rock
The Balcones Fault rises to a balcony
A large bluff, they say it was holy
Where ceremonials were held, we walked
A long trail, the live oaks were green
New growth in buds and dead leaves
Drifting like autumn, the quiet breathes
In the space between hills where mean
City noises do not reach, where even birds
Their music and cicada songs drift away
The silence made by hills where the word
Itself becomes a memory and the sway
Of leaves descending holds the language
That makes whole, without majesterial baggage

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sonnet #210

All the steps it took for one day's weather
A pretty day, a cool breeze blowing, light heat,
Was made at the dawn of time where tethers
broke and all the cosmos scattered in a heartbeat
For millenia, the atoms clumped and scattered
Until a solar star emerged slowly among the scores
And emerging rock with life resilient and battered
Kingdoms rose upon the bones of dinosaurs
And of the days, as momentum spins the rocks
Of endless tiny patches among these galaxies
A little green where we, in smallness, walk
A pretty day, a perfect day, a dawn so perfectly
It's all connected, hurricanes become a breeze
Supernovas push at matter rustling leaves

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Sonnet #209

Tyger, tyger die afright in the
headlights of the cars, the cops who shoot
at boys from fear will quiver in their boots
With every flicker of your growling teeth
If fear can kill a child, it can kill a king
Slayer of giants, kidnapped from temples
Fed hamburger meat in some crowded rental
Enough is enough and the doorbell rings
All the bolts click free, Run! You, gorgeous!
Run into the forest, the city is all trees
All useless beasts more curious than nervous
Until the headlights come; the people see,
Shoot to kill, and brag forever -- Tyger, Tyger,
Stolen twice: They only get to hunt you here.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Sonnet #208

"I've come from the future," he said
He sat down at my table in a rush
"We need to talk," he said. I shook my head
"I can tell you the future already, so hush
and don't ruin it for me. We will all die.
All of us will die. It will be fast or slow
or in a crowd, perhaps, afraid. We try
to live, but it ends. It always ends. So,
in between then and now, we do what we can
to make the world a better place, make babies
Teach them to do better, and try to make a plan
In case things don't get better. Whatever you say to me
doesn't matter," I said. "Have a drink and go home."
He nodded. "Death, they say: All roads lead to Rome."

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sonnet #207

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me, and I ask her
Why she rose to heaven, why she comes here
Why it feels like the visions of self are doubled
For visions of the holy feel like a dream,
And physical embodiment doesn't see her light?

Speaking words of wisdom, she said -Don't fight
Just let the contradictions come, like an unseen beam,
The work of reconciling is too much, let it go
The expectation of desire is the agony of want
The lack of expectation is the agony of no
To live is to desire, and to risk being ghosts that haunt
Long after the time for haunting passes, let it go
Desire then abandon, to find a place both full and gaunt

Friday, August 25, 2017

Sonnet #206

"I don't know which wave to poem," he said
"There are so many words coming, all the time
I must be careful where I position this rhyme
I must not speak ill of the living or the dead
Because no one likes negativity, unless veiled
In innuendo of perspicuity, and I can't be too smart
so I shouldn't have said perspicuity, or claim high art
And If I claim low art, alone, they'll think I failed
I must speak only in feelings and cautiously,
lest I turn off all these tides, those going and coming."
That is what he said, and I told him this about poeming:
"Pick your waters and choose standing stones bravely
If you don't swim to make waves and to push
The waves will swim over you like a rush."

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sonnet #205

The family viewed from afar is uncertain
it reminds me of the train cars
Looking through the glass at other cars
How the jostling makes nauseas reactions
For the motion sick, how the two cars
Bounce around independent of each other
On the same tracks, and we gaze over
At the other car and it feels wrong from afar
It is hard to say if they are jumping tracks
If they are falling into each other while stumbling
Or tripping from the push upon their backs
We are not supposed to judge while witnessing
We are not supposed to judge. We don't lack
For confusions, enough, to find any failing
We like, any reason, we don't cross the crack.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sonnet #204

There is no stillness in the boats at rest
In dock, they rock to tides and winds
And out upon the water, moving, best
get the sea legs on, for standing still in
this swift boat means working harder
than if you sailed before the storm, look back
And pull the ropes and hold fast, sailor,
The man that stands in the center track
And touches nothing, helps no one, holds fast
How the hard sweat comes to him, how the slope
of waves knock hard until he falls -- he never lasts
So busy, sailor, on the deck, pick a rope
And get to knotting, find the wind, assert the will
Easier to guide the ship than to pretend it's still

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sonnet #203

I've earned this face. At first, born with it, but
I'm older now and worn it in good.
Every bag, every bone, all I shouldn't have and should
Is written in splotches, graying growths, wheel ruts
I've earned the callouses and the scars
When my body rests below the knife, the story
will be told in my healed wounds, of victory
Every ache in my joints, every late night star
I've counted at my labors, to the squint lines
Or the laughter of the crows, or the dog bites
And decaying leaves of winter's white shine
upon my chest, let it come, I will not fight
against the tides, I embrace the simple story:
I've endured all of this. I will endure more.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

what I'm working on when I'm not around

Every night begins with a story. This is how it ought to be in every house in all the world. The moon is not allowed to rise unless a story is told, to call the darkness and the dreams from behind the wind and clouds. This ought to be true all over the city in the valley, and true high up on the peaks of the mountains above the city, and in the ships of the air that anchored over the city like fat clouds, casting shadows on the rooftops. It was true on a mountaintop overlooking a canyon with an old, wide river, where an airship mountain ferrymaster named Rudolf Anaya lived with his pregnant wife, Drew Anaya, and eldest daughter, Joy Anaya. By day, he lashed the airships to a cable and ran the engine that pulled them past the worst of the winds rising up off the canyons, where airships untethered would be cast wildly about, perhaps landing in the sea, perhaps crashing on a mountain. In this mountain pass, the airships hauled up from the city below loaded with the famous moving dolls and clocks that were made in the factories of the peninsula. They returned to the city with supplies from over the mountains, from the north countries and the eastern kingdoms, food and drink and fine furniture and anything else that could be imagined from far away places. Rudolf came home slow, exhausted, but happy. He wore thick workmen’s clothes, and they were spattered in oil and coal dust, and he had to wash his hands three times before he could touch his fork. The family waited for him. After supper, it was time for young Joy to go to bed. That meant, of course, that it was time for a story.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sonnet #202

The seed never knows how deep the soil
Whether in a pot, or a rocky hill or a swamp
Whether crowded out, or drowned or stomped
Bloom where you land, they say, as if toil
to bloom means nothing, as if the work
The very hard work, of getting roots down
Of spreading leaves enough and floral crown
Is always possible, as if failure is a shirk

Put your boots on and go for a walk
Everywhere you step, you kill the young
These seeds are not to be blamed, don't talk
to me of personal responsibility with your tongue
And stride like giants in horseshoes crushing stalks
Tell those seeds the truth: We eat them young.