{Sonnet 54}

Go, idiot. Roughen what was straight, calm.
Roughen your little poems.
We weren’t put here on the threatening lands to please,
Not even ourselves.

Forget the agora’s madness, its night-shrieks.
Write yourself into your corner,
Back into the black corner,
Crooked, fenced-in. Pray off the most sacred thing,
Which will and will not be called God.

Weep (like me) into your trembling hands,
Weep into the mask around your face and throat.
You’re the saddest s.o.b. in the cosmos.
But, that is the way we write.
This is the path we must take.

{Sonnet 61}

I’m your jitterbug boy.
I’ve got all the money.
I bought up all the tobacco in Honduras.
Where the water’s filthy,
Where fish cough up other fish.
They sustain themselves this way.

I dragged my half-corpse to the water.
I looked out and wanted to drink the surf.
I nearly Van Goughed the breakers coming in and in.
I did.

The water there was lethal.
Without an open mouth prepared to speak,
I could not sing truthfully about the sea.
I could not tell my lies so that they’d be believed.

{Sonnet 59}

I grew as ugly as an ape.
I paced this crag—–a type of cage—–
Hoping an olive tree would tether me down,
Away from the ocean’s gritted teeth.

Calling out to you,
I asked what happened to our ties, once tight as a well-strung bow.
We yelled from phone-to-phoneme,
From Ephesus to Gerald,
Pacing out our treads, tearing at our hair.

If you see the sea and signal fires,
If you spot where I could be along the rocks,
Then you will know.

The prettiest ape does not compare
To the ugliest soul hovering around us.

{Sonnet 78}

In stillness I grope. I search and wait.
During the dawn as the passing day has shrunk,
I feel a mystery lift.

Emptiness of half-heartedness, a frayed rope
Between yes or no. Often my head tapped by something.
My sense is that it is good.

I believe it is good, humble, imperfect, embarrassed.

Tapping. Glowing. Refusing to be named.
I cannot believe or not believe.
I sit in the wind-struck orchard here,
Unsure what hits, strikes, what sings, what ends.

Gentle hands through my hair.
When all has been reduced to shrugs or knowledge,
I feel the unnamable humming in my ears.