Old School Sonnets, vol. 1

From Spring Break 2004. Berkeley, CA. I had just finished my lovely visit to the campus of UC Berkeley, and as I waited at some local establishment for my friend, RJ, to pick me up, I sipped from a glass and sonneteered. Soundtrack provided by Galaxie 500 and The Exploding Hearts, though somehow, only the former band made its way into the poetry. This trip and these sonnets turned out to be something of a watershed moment in my life, as I naively ended up rejecting  comfort for commodity. Fast-forward five years, and I’m on the East Coast, only just beginning to write sonnets again. These have been, in large part, “transitional” years, but  for whatever my self-inflicted battle scars are worth, I have emerged a MUCH better writer of sonnets–if not of academic papers! Fortunately, I now realize that when there’s poetry in me, then there’s poetry about me.


“I wrote a poem on a dog biscuit, and your dog refused to look at it. So I got drunk and looked at the Empire State Building; it was no bigger than a nickel.”

Sonnet no. 1986
18 years ago, I rolled down the stairs–
my first memory. If you ask me to
roll with the punches I’d pull out my shears,
and a thousand tribes of yore would kill you.

I was tryin’ for the top, reachin’ skies
with a hawk on my shoulder and flowers
around my head, scenting the apple pies
of your eyes as you read this. Girl powers

the motor that veers off-course on dirt roads,
bucking into trances and mint ice cream
I went to the party, but it was choads,
amoebas inchoate in misty dream.

To hell in a handbasket riding hood!
Just wish your disses didn’t feel so good.

“I stayed at home on the 4th of July, and I pulled the shades so I didn’t have to see the sky. I decided to have a bed in, but I forgot to invite anybody.”

So-So Sonnet
[sə-sə sɔnIt]

Heart about to explode over pavement
Flatbread about to crack over wires
A year of blues dissipates like cavemen
singing dirges from within campfires

The beer settles in, and I’m twenty-two
I’m legit and more than ready to quit
Call that line cliché and I’ll cliché you–
incendiary earth put out by spit

For those of us who would like some detail,
here’s the rap: Red fake flowers would make me
Come, if you are mother earth or on bail,
jailbirds singing, swinging like history

One cup down sixteen to go for freedumb’s sake
A choir of poetries dead. (Oops!) My mistake.

“I never thought that I would end up here. Maybe I should just change my style. But I feel alright when you smile.”

Sonnet no. Witless fux
Fuck enjambment! I’ll write complete frases
A line is a line, let’s obey that shit
The advent of printing fucked up writing
Is this blank verse, or will I rhyme with “shit”?

These are questions waiting to be answered
“Cut off circulation, cut off the flow”
If my words breathe fire, suffocate them
Let’s see what rhymes with “Eat my shit”

“Heat my shit,” “Eat my spit” and “tear me up”
Full cup, half-empty–full clip, half-pirate
Frases sound like fragments when you’re fucked up
Don’t worry kiddies. Only alcohol.

Retire to basement ingénue flix
Fetishism equals fetishists [rest].
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