Saturday, November 22, 2014

Randomized sonnet lines for November 22nd

United endlessly in time and space;
I write it out in long hand,
before that smile. Our spirits span the miles
your presence left me longer. I forgot,
it matters not. I worship at your feet,
or at least switch out the soundtrack
in blood and tears: and all the while our fears
on an urban starry night
the heavy downpour, like clockwork,
except for their perfection.

Hungering for freedom from the wretched pain,
and smile and grin and laugh with joy untapped,
we wring our hands and weep, the punks we are.
The hereafter far surpasses the present.
A man carrying a large book on the outside –
we’d reap in joy what we had sown before –
and reasons for a friendship come and go.
The poems you’ve sent: they are my prayers, my hope,
though other things fall through the cracks of space.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Randomized sonnet lines for November 21st

We need something dramatic,
to soothe digestion and aid regularity.
Whole peppercorn and clove buds
are sounds, simple wavelengths colliding off.
Now your daddy and his sister were just –
but the sparrow compensated for the zig-zag
nor constricted by its strait jacket.
She dead. House fell on her ass.
Standing water still stinks,
Or is it only the individual?
Drank a little, too, more towards the end.
A few notes from my morning walk - Rock Creek Park,
as men and women we thought we knew his pain:
but I move it to Word
and fado I have known –
the rhapsody of love and hope. Revive
to the sweetness of stolen waters.
The rhythm, the beat of the music determines
that I betrayed my teachers and
yet as we speak, I pace the halls
by the single light they think that we emit.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lisbon notes that almost got lost

August 23rd

caracois and caroleta
the cobblestone sidewalks
are quaint, but the cracks
between the stones are filled
with cigarette butts and dog-shit

August 27th

Filomena bought me
a dozen handkerchiefs in Lisbon
only in Portugal
can one find “quality” stuff, you know.
Two weeks worth –
for life’s little messes

August 28th

Major bank failures in Portugal –
Marina on the move in Brazil –
Al-Nusrah holding peace-keepers
hostage in Golan Heights –
The tin man needs a brain.

Final day in Lisbon (September 5th)

Early bus ride to Marfa
self-guided tour through the Palace
lunch – frango no forno
librarian walk through the library
chat with the single restoration contractor
bus ride back to Lisbon

subway to Rossio
½ kilo Cape Verdean coffee
½ kilo Angolan coffee
tea from the Azores
postcards for next year’s poetryfest
rendez-vous at Martinho de Arcada

coffee and pastries with old friends
photo at Pessoa’s table
too tall Super Bok

the pen ran out of ink
about the same time that
the page ran out of space
on which to write
I wrote on the back
of a boarding pass

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bonus: 14 randomized sonnet lines

in the seeking and the striving
a something that just won’t fit in
for a man like me
distrustfulness and self-suspicious fear
Was crowded out by bills and laws and hate
about where it all came from, deep inside.
my favorite part.
Total impunity at the top.
And you accommodate, first haltingly,
In what is otherwise a boring, gray
Is it a mistake, a crime to feed it, to allow
resisting silently
misplaced the way back, through the years, of all
a poetry-writing man. I digress.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bonus from the archives - Experimentation in Standard Time

Experimentation in Standard Time

Autumn urban afternoons
get shorter and sweeter -

standing in the middle of Eye Street
I await a very specific angle on the bow,
as my ship called Earth comes about:
a unique perspective on how time passes –

in the distance you can see Virginia:
how many beats per measure
are there in Standard Time?

the future is reaching back to join us,
to warn us, to help us alter course
to starboard so we can pass port to port –
the present and the future,
like two ships,
passing in a storm.

We post to a blog or sing a song:
we write some non-rhyming words
we call poetry –

and time is a social construct
a contractual agreement we accept
from fear of things we don’t know –
dawn to dusk, high noon
to the darkest part of night –

a 24 second shot clock.
I sink a three pointer
that leaves a vacuum in its wake –
the chain nets echo its refrain.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bonus from the archives: End of ModPo - Final words

Final words

Goodbye but not farewell.
We will continue our conversations
and social media chats –
with new friends,
with old friends.

And we will continue writing poems:
together in small groups,
and at home, alone,
in the midnight hour that is not
midnight, but that
floats between isha and fajr -
the darkest part of night -
when passions die,
and distractions fall to the side.

The songwriting teacher said all I needed
was a thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary –
but it hasn’t proven sufficient –

and there are no final words, anyway,
no bridge, no chorus, no refrain,
just a tight hug, a soft sigh, a tender kiss,
and a throw-away “see-you-tomorrow,”
maybe, if you’re lucky. And all my
countrymen are poets, and sailors.

Friday, November 14, 2014

14 randomized lines that begin with the definite article "the"

the forms, the rhythms of your loveliness,
The passion, pain, excitement of the day.
The hull, the shell wherein no true love thrives
The eager group, polite despite, is dressed
The legends say something happened in Chaneysville.”
The chilled sweet wine, fermented, aged and pure.
the peace and calm you brought me, the silence
the buildings that house all our livelihood
the answer to this question.
the recognition,
the future is reaching back to join us,
The love we almost had lives on, and waits
the direction for our deliverance
The ladder: an escape; a rescue;

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lines that begin with "this"

This cautionary tale includes one plea:
This earthly form of dirt and dust and clay,
This flesh that toiled and suffered on the earth,
This frame that housed a spirit and a mind
This is the Captain, this is a strategic launch!
this lynching - as ordered, as planned.
This morning I watched videoed reading The Raven.
this morning I’m bubbling over
this morning. Stay in open, well-lit places.
This pause affords me time to write to you
This plan, this life so fraught with strife, so full
This poem started its life as a sonnet,
this random moment, our lips may never meet,
This same Spirit appears infrequently,
This sonnet owns no ending, just a star,
This vessel that once breathed the breath of life.
This word is all that I possess to give,

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

14 more randomized lines


When passing passions blue bid me adieu,
My heart and soul in pain are drenched.
To guide, to entertain, and to enthuse.
Our friendship, our love is a complex being,
but truth shouts out despite the dirt and dust.
Revealing my ill soul’s intent
that makes it a noun, a name that describes  
old songs all night long –

I’ll search the constellations for that star
has transferred
I cannot sleep.  For days on end I'm just    
to bend us at its will
Of everyday travail, I take a pause
Until today. We meet again.

Monday, November 10, 2014

14 more randomized lines


My wife said I should write a poem
along this trail –
But quality of intellect and
a knight in shining armor - this is Second Life, silly.
Sharing with us our laughter, and our fears.
sip some scotch with it,
My friend, my lover, object of my quest,
of war’s battles, of the fray;
Georgetown sidewalks packed with shoppers, tourists
conjured you up and breathed into you life?
a concert I attended night before last –
that there is no birth or death,
their leaves too long,

Saturday, November 8, 2014

14 more randomized lines

quiet, flat. Where were all the shoppers?
need to conjure up my parents and my grandparents,
are gaps in time, that soon take flight –
like blood coursing through America’s veins.
And blossoms tantalize our eyes; in haste
and scale the highest peak –
and sweet, but I can’t remember
Remember years ago when we first met?
the same old routine…
as defined by classic standards)
El Gusto, playing Chaabi,
an emptiness that is shrinking
My passion source has wandered far from joy;

and shopping sprees and pundit prophecies

14 randomized lines...a sonnet!

We exist independent of the filth
and every opportunity
Oolong’s second infusion tastes much smoother than the first,
I thought it was a clever argument, but one that was closed
We grew, became adults with his success
Music and Harvest” is says at the base
like dew, early, early
I struggle to preserve.  The touch, the taste
the crystal ball:
festers, breeds ten plagues –
or a pull of reefer.
cowers and hides behind a mother’s skirt,
Sit down, sit down…
A wistful word,

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bonus: "if"

if accurate, we hit the mark,
If deer could speak
If Grandma Lena were here today,
if I am early or late …
if I could write a song of love
If I were a sculptor
if I were you – the dictionary –
If only I could rap to you
If reading sonnets opens up your vision,
If so, then they will die for you,
If so, then you will die for him,
If the goals we set are true.
if their internal energies allow it –
If there was a command out of order
If this continues through the night
If we choose
if we could only find the entrance…
if you don’t cook it right…”
If you don’t, we won’t like it. And you won’t like it either."
if you want me to –

Bonus: "after"

after a late Saturday night
after a long day of work, classes, whatever,
after all the parades and football games
after all, a possessive lover without gender who
after calculus class,
after human death –
after the end,
after the migration,
after the party was over

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bonus: “Before”

before dawn breaks
before daybreak –
before getting wiped away –
Before I fall asleep each night I read
before I killed myself at the end
Before I learned to read and write
before I started school
before I wrote a poem
before Sunday’s resurrection.
before sunrise…
Before that smile. Our spirits span the miles
before the Chinese built the bridge –
before the final hour ...
before we get to Danville -
before, in 1862, in 1861? Who advised
before, we have to change the narrative


Today's bonus looks at occurrences of the preposition "through."

through another day of passage
through cracks in the wall of time
through generations of Americanization.
through generations of race-mixing
Through life's transitions.
through my eyes, down my arms - muscle memories
through ordered words
through our arrogance
Through our ignorance
through our lives
through our willful rejection of truth
Through poetry
Through positive values, like happiness
through the classics, the epic works
through the frequency of my heart
through the night
through the rush
through the woods
through this night of nights

Monday, November 3, 2014


So, in observance of aleatory poetry week at ModPo, I am blogging on a different site lines of poetry starting with the preposition "to," but on the flip side, the preposition "from" is also interesting.  Here is a list of "from" lines:

from 88five to 103five
From a dark and distant past
From a distant shore
from a market in Afghanistan
from a pure source.
from a state of bondage
from complex reality   
from deep within
from fear of things we don’t know
from feeling the fear they already bought
from her brown-green pods
From hoping that this dream will soon come true.
from inside the nested circles
from leaving
from mechanical mosquitos 
from my childhood
from my heart is all my fault.
from North Carolina
from one end of the line
From our loved ones.
From places strange, from shores untold.
from Songwriting, another Coursera
from that magical place 
from that office the next time 
from the far side 
from the flock and
from the neck up
from the outside crass
from the realm of nothingness
from the right path 
From the Shenandoah
from the Strategic Studies Masters program
from the swamp below 
from the waist down
From this latest dusk we begin
From time to time he visits
From time to time I feel
from time to time, like water
from total triple darkness 
From troubles, closer still to hopes ideal.
From two to ten.
from walking too long 
From what we sense and feel and know to be
From which to understand
from yesterday’s yesterdays
From you I understand loyalty
from you