A Bad Case of Sonnetosis

What can I say I was feeling unwell
With a fever of a hundred and three.
I called the doctor. He examined me,
My ups and downs, my valleys and my dales,
My hearing, my touch, my taste and my smell
And all the ins and outs of my body.
It hurts like hell, my eyes cried with a plea.
He laughed and said, “Wait till you get my bill.
I’m afraid you have something atrocious.
Those iambic pentameters, you see,
Are showing up in my diagnosis.
There’s only one thing I know it can be.
You have a bad case of sonnetosis.
There’s but one cure. A sonnetectomy.”

We’re working things out

A pickin’ and grinnin’ lyric for National Poetry Month

Off to Philadelphia, P A
They drove for twenty-four hours a day.
They hoped hard times had stayed their stay
But the hard times followed them anyway.
I’m still with Tommy, she says to me
We’re working things out.
Sure, he can’t hold a job, she says to me.
We’re still working things out.

He had seven jobs in seven days
And he has an eighth on the way.
He needs to get his act ready for play.
Just give him some time. It’ll be any day.
I’m still with Tommy, she says to me
We’re working things out.
Sure, he can’t hold a job, she says to me.
We’re still working things out.

It’s not that he’s lazy or that he drinks.
He’s in need of a little leeway.
It’s taking some time to work out the kinks.
He keeps hoping things will work out okay.
I’m still with Tommy, she says to me
We’re working things out.
Sure, he can’t hold a job, she says to me.
We’re still working things out.

Ukraine

What is the word for courage?
Ukraine.
What is the word for freedom?
Ukraine.
What is the word for home?
Ukraine.

Train after train after train,
Bus after bus after bus,
Car after car after car,
A rush of tears flood
Poland
Moldova
Hungary
Romania
Slovakia.

Missiles streak the sky.
The flash of bombs light the nights.
Hungry bellies in the rubble
Coffins under six feet of Ukraine,
Oh Kharkiv,
Why must you die?

Midnight in this lonesome valley

Midnight in this lonesome valley
Of a city from alleyway to alley:
Dead end streets and bars without names,
Pool halls, bar bands and poker games,
A nation of bluesers and broken hearts,
Souls at sea without map or chart.

Walk these streets of shadow and night,
A neither world where the dark meets the light,
Where once-upon-times stagger through the streets
And happily-ever-afters you seldom meet.
Some forgotten, some never found,
Some riding that old devil hound.

A purgatory ‘tween Eden and un-Eden,
A garden of wanting and needing
Morning to come and empty the night
And the city of all that isn’t the light.

Eve sat by the river

“My heart is breaking,”
Eve wrote her sister
Lilith, Adam’s first wife,
residing in the land of Cush.
Eve scribbled the words
with the ink of her tears.
“My son has murdered my son,
and the murderer is a ghost
haunting the valleys
and the rivers between
the two of us, you and me.”

Eve sat by the river
mourning her baby child,
mourning her first born man.
Eve sat by the river,
the blues in her eyes shedding
one hundred forty-six tears each day
‘tween the sunrise and the moon.
“River, my heart is bleeding,”
she sang, her grief rising
like smoke up to the ears of God
while the clock kept faith with time.

Eve went down to kneel
in the church down by the river Cry.
She lit a votive candle
and prayed the rosary
one hundred and fifty times
for the souls of her sons.
For the one whose life was taken away,
and the one who took the life
she prayed.