Monday, March 30, 2009

Sonnet XLII

If Ganymede and Hebe knelt before
my feet and begged for my protection just
a minute after I'd abused them, thrust
my rage upon them, burned them, printed sore
and bruise upon their bodies, I would pour
my mercy on them, moved by tender trust,
and pull them to myself against the dust
of danger 'til they came to me no more,
and if the mermaid princess followed me
across the stones, and if the monkey king
would wait five hundred years for me in chains,
I, like Titania, would loyally
protect the children other women bring
to Earth, consume them, multiply their pains.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sonnet XLI

I don’t wear shoes because I want to feel
the bounty of the earth: the mud that forms
when rained upon by yester-evening’s storms,
the baby grass, the sticks that pierce my heel,
the bits of gravel on my soles that deal
incisions, concrete, thorny plants, and swarms
of ants: I celebrate all this; it warms
my skin; I hold it close to make it real.

And though my feet are dirty, sometimes bruised
and sometimes bleeding, I will not put on
my shoes. I will go forward, trying not
to be as careful as I want, transfused
with strength as I approach the denouement,
And try to not look down when I am caught.


Everything washes off:
all stains, all disease,
sympathy, passion, time.
Nothing can stick to skin;
the skin from the bone--
everything washes off.
Insight and sin and love,
the dirt of the road,
sympathy, passion, time,
muscle from silky blood,
the self, the beliefs:
everything washes off.
Nothing can stick to us,
for everything falls:
sympathy, passion, time.
Nothing can stick, and so
we're nothing but clean.
Everything washes off:
sympathy, passion, time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


While I watch your back, my power is breaking,
the love and hate in me breaking.
I will demonstrate the shape of my passion
with blood, with bruises and breaking.
I will give to you the heads of your comrades
and hold you down when you're breaking.
You will learn the sacred meaning of Will
within submission; it's breaking.
This will purify your heart and your thinking,
and you will shatter, unbreaking;
you have seen the demon--I will be come it
and glue you up if you're breaking.
For the pleasure of destroying you fully
I scar old skins with new breaking.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sonnet XL

Seven Sins exist.
Oath-Breaking destroys the Word's integrity.
Love of Cruelty is taking a stance against the Body's Free Will.
Injustice kills the holy Mind's integrity and slowly uproots the Soul,
and Disrespect for One's Superiors Elect waits on God and Nature badly.
One's Miserliness robs one of one's Worth,
and Failure to Give Love, Pity, and Protection Gladly
shames one before the Earth, or worse--
but Failure to Forgive's a curse.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sonnet XXXIX

When I read my histories,
I gather that people who successfully brought change to the living world
were either rather inhuman—
stable, solitary, strange—
or associated with collected souls,
bound by unperfected intent and love of purpose,
and I yearn to find my niche in such a group,
to earn their respect,
to gather to me voices and hands that history will soon salute,
to play their songs upon my flute,
see my daughters in among their choices of models,
hear their paeans and their puns caressingly recited by my sons.


It isn't too hard to become the king
of four or five or twenty thousand men;
I have the skill set to impress you when
I speak aloud or scream in pain or sing.
There is a place for everyone; we bring
all talents to be seen and shared and then
acknowledge each one, if the king has been
attentive or aware of anything.
There are too many people here, and none
can see or hear me, so I have no chance
of greatness, and my words will fade,
forgotten, while the deeds that I have done
will crumble, though my hands are torn and slants
of dusty light fall over what I've made.

Sonnet Sequence: Новогиреево

Tops of gray-white stone are islands
above the green, green sea of trees,
and beneath these man-made highlands
the children swing and skin their knees,
pensioners sweep up the gravel
in the streets with brooms that travel
along the gutters with the scrape
of sticks with ropes to give them shape,
and a dove rebukes and grumbles.
I only see the clouds above;
below, I see the leaves, the dove,
and my feet on iron that crumbles
from ancient fire escapes to fall
and consequently poison all.

This is not a world of playing,
of sweeping or rebuking birds,
but a sanctum for obeying
the soul’s most edifying words.
Though I see that in our cities,
salary men and committees
are working without knowing why,
the money doesn’t come this high,
and the crumbling, old constructions
are fading dreams that used to mean
an often-echoed style machine
stuttered out its cheap productions.
In Moscow, only silence stays
above the trees on summer days.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Black and purple like the water from ocean's bottom,
like the end of the evening,
like the daughter of coal-mine kings,
a heated blend of elusive, bitter flavors--

And the moon--
your skin--
it wavers with cold,
too pale,
but with the glow of life,
soft like snow--

All your beauty,
as I reckon,
is in the contrasts.
I adore what injures you;
it gives you your form and shape.
Your traumas beckon me out to taste them,
to abuse,
to worship every cut and bruise.

Sonnet XXXVI

When I see your little, grinning and smarmy face
with victory smug and insolent and spinning around your finger,
hear the key of your voice's taunts and whining,
I find my control declining,
I want to shove you to the wall and smack you loudly,
make you call out and bite your lip,
look fearful--
and when I've made you realize how small and weak are boasts and lies,
I will kiss you,
watch your tearful eyes widen,
hear you sigh and mewl,
caress your bruises,
but rule.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sonnet XXXV

I'm seeking the most beautiful of men.
I look and listen only in my mind,
and always, over and again I find
him looking past his shoulder, turning when
I call him, waiting for me, smiling, then
as I reach out to him, becoming blind
and crying for me, and a sudden bind
entraps me in a steel-and-crystal pen.

I know that never, never will I reach
the man I love; of course I understand
that this results in stabs of pain I mask,
confusion, and destruction--but to teach
my soul to stop itself from wanting grand
and gorgeous things is such a hopeless task.

Formes Fixes

I. Ballade

Since, in a way, he always will be mine,
and in another, he can never be,
I have been watching him across this line
with fascination that becomes the key
that can transcend the lock forbidding me
from the perfection that infects my spine
with heated shivers; but his soft allure
must be resisted--if my soul were free,
then maybe I would find he were not pure.

II. Virelai

I know my beloved though
we have never met below
daylight's canopy; I know
how my soul goes out to him.
I hear every catch to slow
his voice's flow,
feel the trembling of each limb,
see the way his pupils grow
as daydreams glow,
know the story of each whim,
follow the uncertain blow
mixed with passion in a show
of bravado, let him go
slack against me, yielding, slim--
I know my beloved though
we have never met below
daylight's canopy; I know
how my soul goes out to him.

III. Rondeau

No matter how much I would, I
don't stay my hand,
can't stop my desire to haunt him.
I want what is good. How could I
leave it unplanned?
No matter how much I would, I
can't stop my desire to haunt him.
If all that exists is good, I
can't understand
why I am wrong to want him.
No matter how much I would, I
don't stay my hand,
can't stop my desire to haunt him.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sonnet XXXIV

On days when sunshine glances off the creek,
and bluebirds sing, and all the mud half-dries,
and everyone has springtime in his eyes,
I get so angry, I can hardly speak.
I want to swallow up the Earth, to squeak
and stamp my foot as if I'd lost my prize
like Rumpelstiltskin who was over-wise
and rip myself in pieces with a shriek.

Like him, I stole from life a squalling child,
and sodden, shiny springtime steals it back.
The instant I believed that I was strong,
it showed me that the concepts in my mind
were false, that I am helpless in the black
eternity for which I used to long.


Come, let me comfort you
with gentle arms.
Don't touch me; go away.
I must not abandon you whom I loved.
Come, let me comfort you.
I cannot breathe or drink;
you are too much.
Don't touch me; go away.
As I pull back, you push
up against me.
Come, let me comfort you.
You say you anchor me:
you tie me down.
Don't touch me; go away.
Will it hurt you too much
to know the truth?
Come, let me comfort you.
Don't touch me; go away.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sonnet XXXIII: For Kirsten Refsing

It's true that twenty years are very much:
long and short, informative and blinding.
When this cheerful book received its binding,
these facts were new enough to clutch
with hunger. In my mind, I see her touch
elderly informants gently, minding
carefully her tape recorder, finding
the task she does may soon bring aid to such.

Thus, she has done her work, and it is done,
and nobody, especially not I,
may seek the answer to that question still.
Therefore, what question may I ask that none
has answered? In what corner of the sky
may I begin to work and share my skill?

The Nixy

I. Ballade

I can feel everything there is to feel:
slow-moving waves within the weedy pond,
hands brushing, soft against my wrist and heel,
graspings and snatchings of determined frond;
sympathy, guilt, and joy make me respond.
All of the pain you shared with me was real:
do not forget how I returned your cry.
Do not forget the forging of our bond.
Do not dismiss me; do not pass me by.

II. Rondeau

Until my two arms enfold you,
I will wait on,
too powerless just to take you.
I cannot reach out to hold you
while you are gone.
Until my two arms enfold you,
I will wait on.
Will you not do what I told you
when you were drawn
from waters that tried to break you?
Until my two arms enfold you,
I will wait on,
too powerless just to take you.

III. Virelai

They cannot release their sighs
where the soundless water lies,
but their cold and lifeless eyes
still reproach each time I kill.
I would like to leave this guise.
Stop me and rise
if you have a sturdy will!
Yet another victim dies,
soul-pillaged, wise,
and I watch him in the chill,
but the ruling still applies,
given me by Nature's ties.
I endure their frightened cries
and am punished for it still.
They cannot release their sighs
where the soundless water lies,
but their cold and lifeless eyes
still reproach each time I kill.

IV. Villanelle

Cum fossa et furca they fall.
I watch them drown,
and I hold their legs as they sprawl,
for I am the undertow’s doll.
I force them down.
Cum fossa et furca they fall.
The cold slows their hearts to a crawl.
I kiss each frown,
and I hold their legs as they sprawl.
The world is increasingly small,
a silent town.
Cum fossa et furca they fall.
They swallow and try to recall
their old renown,
and I hold their legs as they sprawl.
They struggle to try to forestall
the pond-scum crown.
Cum fossa et furca they fall,
and I hold their legs as they sprawl.