382

Literary people don’t like sonnets
I’m like, fuck that, this is motherfucking
music, this shit is deeper than poems,
but it’s poetry too, ***************

They say its reminiscent of high school
well, my *****, I went to a high school
that smelled like Black & Milds and asbestos,
there were shootings like every other year

But I learned sonnets in my magnet class
I didn’t learn anything else, so this
is what I write. I don’t write to be hip
I write because my students break my heart

Not to be read, I write to be heard, *****
This is ***** verse, I’m fire and you Milton.

*Ghostface Killah, or something along those lines**
**Or Masta Killa, who’s mad underrated

 

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381

I like sonnets because they’re musical
A student gave me a bogus hall pass
I function as a muse and/or a fool
There is no rhyme or reason in a class
Social or Spanish, space shrinks in this school
Students speak up or shrink away with sass
I like sonnets because they’re musical
The light hits my pupils like broken glass
To teach reason is to be complicit
In expecting excellence examine
Contours of love exiting the closet
Leaks like snitches in luxurious famine
Verse by the pound spoken in measured rhyme
Sweet self-defense from the passage of time.

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380

I really almost die inside my sleep
where the whiteness of squall and sea prevail
as a gust of gulls swooped down and wassail
in the salty air through which my thoughts leap.

I crash in waves escorted by seaweed,
each lurch of surf provides an algal veil
to engulf me just as the bestial whale
imbibed Jonah in its attempt to feed.

But I wake up as the long weekend ends,
salt sweat pours down across my frantic front,
catching my breath, I swear to make amends

For my sins have forced me to bear the brunt
of failures forged by men. The ocean sends
me back to life to do what the tides want.

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379

Q: What does a king do on a snow day?
A: Reign, beloved! What’s today’s mathematics?
Understanding. Days with no dramatics
but plenty of flair as our fears allay.
I place more importance in the new day
than in a new calendar’s chromatics,
color-coded mess that aids dogmatics’
attempt to make the red and black obey.
So with that being said, happy new year
to those who follow time by papal bull
promulgated, I guess, to allay fear
amongst the most serious lambs with white wool
with hallowed cycles from year to year:
a pastoral cure in a time capsule.

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378

I saw a man caress his father’s fate
in a bar last week where raccoons did roam
freely on fences while my wife did gloam
about how men consume before they sate.
I don’t know, I saw him almost fall down,
a glass pint in hand with too much beer foam,
clearly poured in haste, the celestial dome
overhead like palms, humid and brown.
The pool table clicked out measured time passed.
In concentrated bursts geometers
tabled day jobs, reset odometers,
relaxed and recharged and fully half-assed.
The dread chased the joy as whiskey chased fear,
and for three dollars, he chased that with beer.

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377

Over him there sits a pall, resting dense
despite the sun and sand of the tropics.
He looks at the sea through clouded optics
despite his tan skin, his body is tense.
Kids throwing footballs near the wooden fence
that divides nature from man-made tropics,
high-priced urban life: steak tips and stock tips,
high-rises and lowlifes, the tourist lens.
He is plural, somehow from and above.
And as the seagull cleanses its palate
with a drink of salt water at high tide
he starts to remember those he should love.
But the late afternoon sky’s suave palette
wipes away all thought as waves do abide.

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376

Why spend all your time laboring over
labor? Slaving away in your dark mind
you forget you were once like the plover,
spanning continents in patterns undefined.
What happened to that flight? You took cover
in a warm, sticky place, you left behind
your motive for living, the prime mover
of your unconscious impulse, that orange rind.
Why spend all this time working and working?
For survival, even though it kills me.
I hear Death’s jagged cough lurking, lurking
in my asthmatic heart when Spirit fills me
and my lips get chapped from too much smirking
since I don’t respond and the pain chills me.

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375

The stack of paper eternally grips
my entire neck as I revise papers
and I decline as my spirit tapers
while beeswax falls as each candle drips
on the bottle it is in. Purple strips
of wax stretch themselves like lilac capers
across the see-through green glass skyscrapers
of the city of my desk. My heart rips.
All learning seems spent on speaking aloud;
there is no thought left for contemplation;
I spend most of my time before a crowd.
No wonder I have no inspiration.
And if good thoughts came I’d be truly wowed.
I am tired from daily expiration.

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374

An open mind is what the body seeks.
Embodied wisdom is the truest form
of life in nature’s panoramic swarm
full of living things. My skin sweats and leaks
as I jog around the track. My mind streaks
back to brighter days when weather was warm,
before the doubts, before my college dorm
opened me up to life’s valleys and peaks.
Younger, dumber but with an open mind,
I sought the magic in the white sunset
and found the glory as my planets trined.
I dove in, but somehow did not get wet
under starred skies near shores open and brined,
I lost my mind and buried my brain in debt.

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373

A bright water ring on a black ash sky,
stained gray by the twilight and streaked by cloud,
guides me as I move away from the crowd
which might make me suffer or make me die.
The air is moist, the oxygen is shy,
fleeing from breathing while, wrapped in a shroud,
my torso negotiates the air allowed
to my heart at night as my lungs reply:
“With a wheeze we wail and hum out the truth
that life is only as good as one’s last breath
and that every lost breath equals lost youth.”
With that, I confronted my coming death
and put 20 bucks in the photo booth
and left the pics on your coffee table.

 

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