eleven very short poems I wrote on one Saturday because I was stuck on the couch elevating my broken foot
Breakfast Meditation Feeling contrary, I discard the orange slices and keep the rind. I ignore the clock and calendar. I sit in one place and watch my mind meander.
Flight Envy Those crows know my name but I don’t know theirs. They’re geniuses with wings but gravity keeps me landed and dumb. No bird is jealous of my opposable thumbs.
Your Mask or Mine? At sundown and sunrise, my shadow is taller than me. None of us is the person we believe ourselves to be.
Inheritance In mirrors, I look like myself. In photographs, I look like my father.
Politics Dear enemy, I despise your rage because it sounds exactly exactly like mine.
This next poem is a monosyllabic sonnet, a poem of fourteen lines with only one word per line. I first encountered this kind of contemporary sonnet in the work of Sidney Wade. My mono-sonnet poem is an Petrarchan sonnet, a traditional form with two stanzas—the first containing eight lines and the second containing six lines. First created in the Renaissance Era, and popularized by Francesco Petrarca, the Petrarchan sonnet is meant to present a problem in the first stanza and offer a solution in the second. In my poem, I ask a question in the first stanza and answer it in the second.
Haunted Do I believe in ghosts? Only the ones that I create in my poems.
To be grumpy, I’ll add that many contemporary poets write poems they claim are sonnets…but they ain’t. Many of those pseudo-sonnets do have fourteen lines, their only concession to the form, but sometimes they don’t even have that! Here’s the thing: a sonnet has rules. And you gotta follow the rules to call it a sonnet. That said, you can experiment with the rules, as I’ve done in many ways over the years. But my experiments still have strict rules that strongly echo the strict rules of traditional sonnets.
Eucharist The grounds are the body. The water is the blood. You name it coffee. I name it magic and serious joy.
My Big Brother Remembers The night they wheeled Mom’s body out of the house, he sat by the front yard gate. Seven years later, he tells me that a thousand mosquitoes bit him but he didn’t feel one.
Benedictions in an Emergency The drowning man loves his breath. The borrower loves his debt. The insomniac loves his rest. I still love the ones who left.
The next poem is a Shakespearean sonnet. Yeah, no pressure to perform here! Among other formal considerations, this type of sonnet relies on the Volta, the last stanza that is meant to be a rhyming couplet. This couplet “plays a pivotal role, usually arriving in the form of a conclusion, amplification, or even refutation of the previous three stanzas, often creating an epiphanic quality to the end.” My Volta has a slant rhyme that employs the same vowel sound.
Social Contract Driving, I trust the unseen people piloting their cars as they travel toward me from the opposite direction on this two-lane midnight road where the only illumination is their headlights merging with mine.
Climate Change I caught these salmon messiahs and they promised they’d swim forever wild or not.