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I've written a sonnet weekly since April of 2006. Five years and change is a long time.

It's been a blast, and I'm grateful to everyone who tuned in. My writing improved in many ways; I accepted the constraints of the form as another kind of freedom, and developed a more natural, more pugilistic language within those constraints.

But at this point I'm in danger of phoning it in. And the LiveJournal I post to today is not the same community I began with. There's tilting at windmills, and then there's tilting at the idea of windmills six years after they were replaced by photovoltaic arrays.

So I'm taking the obligation out of it and, hopefully, inviting the possibility that I'll write a poem (which might not be a sonnet! Imagine that) because I feel like it.

Thanks for reading, and for your kind words and constructive criticisms over the years.

In closing I'd like to share the sonnet that got the ball rolling, for old time's sake, and because it remains one of my best. It's about sex, of course. Oh, and electromagnetism.


Our music yields to motion with a turn;
The wires sing, the wheel answers true–
A million turnings move the magnet firm.
A bare breath separates the field from you.

My neodymium in copper wound:
The metal bears the memory of the wave.
Bright ringlets wreath the image of your crown,
That in my very lattice is engraved.

You do not need my transitive caress.
And yet I hope you'll take the gift in this:
I know you love a vision in a dress.
I do not mourn the loss, but pass the kiss.

The length and breadth of me remembers fire.
And I inspire dreams in other wires.
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Laurasia cleaves unto Gondwanaland
With difficulty. Can they overcome
Their differences? The dark volcanic sand
Wears on the silicon. They come undone.

The oldest redwood on the western plate
Might drift two hundred yards. For us, it's hard
To see our life rafts lift and separate
And drift apart, until the pressure starts

To build. What pulls them in then pushes back
Until it snaps and fractures. Sudden shifts
From side to side. Small things fall through the cracks,
Unfortunates lose purchase on the cliffs

And archeologists in eons hence
Will find two rings among the evidence.
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These Amish quilts, these cloud-bedecked reliefs
Of what Mercator struggled to project,
These zoning meeting notes, these crisp new sheets
As yet unruffled, these new Lego sets

Laid out for giant children! Find the hand
That did all this. Admire every line,
Splayed out against the window. See that band
Of blue between your fingers? See it wind

From knuckle over knuckle down to wrist 
And out of frame? That matters more than green
And more than yellow, more than silver. This
Blue ribbon made your power. No priest sings

Without it. No one lingers. No one plows 
Until the river, rising, teaches how.
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eventually we all admit the truth:
we don't need hearts. six elbows don't leave room
for sentimental organs. build to suit
on parceled lots. the backup spine: baboon

or bust? new stainless kneecaps are a must.
a pang of conscience travels down the chain
of evidence the motor nerves conduct
(a jacob's ladder leading from the brain)

and stays the blow. the hand's trajectory
is altered by an inconvenient thought.
you want a barracks, not a rectory.
i'm offering a bargain. what you sought

was safety in a nicer neighborhood.
these automatic souls are very good.
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How many hours minutes seconds left
Until the men come back? I have a stack
Of magazines. I can complete the set.
Just stuff another kitten in the sack

And wait for high tide. Someone analyzed
The odds of this. I'm waiting for the notes
To play. The sun is sinking in the sky,
The senior agent shivers in her coat

And checks her watch. She taps a silver foot.
Nobody shows. Apparently they know
We're watching. That's the use to which we're put:
A turkey shoot. The last october glow

Of evening silhouettes a falling star.
The witness is still waiting in the car.
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Decaying orbits. Rockets take us up,
The trip home is our problem. Atmosphere,
Velocity and friction. In my cup,
The molecules move randomly. No fear.

I have to learn to dive. I know I must.
I am not smooth. The point of entry hurts.
Discomfort breaks the form of all of us
Who linger in the game. Concealing skirts,

A tango dancer with two aching knees,
A stubborn lover searching for a name,
Reduced to mumbling. Call them as you see
Them fall. No lights, no safety nets, no blame

When we return to Earth. So sheer a drop.
Eventually the twitching wings will stop.

Sorry I'm late guys
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This melting floe, this thawing permafrost
Of good intentions, open at the toe
And closed-lipped, with one eye peeled for the boss
And one for trouble! Somewhere, someone knows

About us. What's the difference? What's the point
If I transgress here in the office mess?
I will not check for cameras. Case the joint
Before I get there. Wear the halter dress

And stop for nothing. Stop for ice cream trucks.
I'm easy. We can stop for chocolate shakes
And halloween parades and mama ducks
On backwoods highways. Come on, screech the brakes,

I want to feel something. Something new.
Something unauthorized. I like this suit.
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We didn't get hacked. One of us was drunk
And ornery, an old familiar shade
In unfamiliar drag. That ship has sunk
Before. Nobody gets a failing grade,

In art or life. I haven't seen it yet.
My eyes are on the screen. You watch the staff,
I watch the set. Put out your hand, it's wet.
I pull up weatherbug and read the graph.

Descend with me. We'll take a random walk
Into the server farm. First, do no harm.
But then, consider who to blame. Small talk
The office. Muster arguments. Your charm

Moves faster than my dancing fingertips.
I must remember to reboot the lips.
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Don't talk at me. Don't kid yourself. Don't stand
So close to me. Stop saying we'll be rich.
The flapping of a broken ceiling fan,
In syncopation with your virtues, which

You sing in several major keys and modes,
Has made me deaf to every human cry
And blind to beauty. I am so exposed
And so defenseless. I can't see the sky

When you stand by the window with your hands
Gesticulating wildly. Tonight
Is bycatch in a drifting net of plans,
Unfolding from your lips. I need the light,

I can't bear this reflection. Screw the job.
Reject it. Find the exit. Turn the knob.
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I need a nudge. I need a little push.
An appetite for something out of reach
But only barely. Exponential mush
Ensnares our honest efforts. Try to teach

The present. Let the silly future hang
And move on. Lepidoptera in Bonn
Can bring about tsunamis in Penang,
But that's no rock to raise a lighthouse on.

Let go, you fool. Forget these great events
That eddy in a random fractal soup.
These thin electrons masquerade as sense.
You iterate the function in a loop,

In love with quantum foam. You do not know.
Go, weed the garden. Skip the IPO.
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A shuffle isn't real if it's fake.
But nobody can see that. From this set
Of integers, I'll pick a y to take
Without reference to storage. Place your bet

And I'll predict the card for any i
With no slow iterations of the list
Or previously chosen y's once tried.
This is my wish. I hope you get the gist.

I wanted this for work (or rather play
That offers scant remuneration). Now
I think I might not need it. Anyway
I'd like to learn a thing or two. Just how

To pick the proper quasi-random y
In constant time, while knowing only i?
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Aw hell. I don't feel well enough. I don't
Remember half the steps. The bouncer lets
Me upstairs anyway. I think he won't.
I'm always wrong. Off-duty doctors, vets

And dentists, half-completed PhDs
And rock stars treat their stress-related ills.
The likes of me should not be seen with these
Exemplars of the human. Jack and Jill

Went powerwalking. Beings actualized
And activated, beings always on
And always right. She sighs. I brush her thigh
And turn within her arms. My calling card

Is confidence. These doubts stay in my head.
Off-duty angels hunger to be led.
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I blame the app. I blame the RGB,
The snap-to grid and alpha blending. Set
The rounded border radius to bleed
Into the margin. We have never met,

Except in this space. If I don't show up
You might as well be nowhere. My response
Is all you have to shine by. Every cut
I click, each paragraph I stumble on

In spite of sixteen icons in the dock,
Each offering a new alternative.
Tweetdeck is sweet. In parallel we talk
Like old friends. I have so much more to give,

And now I have the right technology
To reconnect with whats-his-face. And thee.

Sorry I'm late boss
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Where are you all? Hips legs and underthings
And pretty garments planned out in a queue
For weeks bangles and stripes (take off the rings
Take off the uniform take off the do's

And don'ts and angry memories that stick
Like burnt eggs in an aging nonstick pan).
Teflon is not the lubricant for this.
Another drink, another subtle plan

For peace between two far-flung island states
In this unending sea. From 12th to D,
The waves crash in. So many socks. No mates
For anyone? In Central Park the weave

Of your chastity belt has come undone.
Don't darn it yet. The best is yet to come.
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It's only fair to warn you: I'm an ass.
It's what I do. I rarely see things through.
I'm late to every wake. I'm skipping class
And skipping church. I've left an empty pew

In every congregation, dropped the ball
And left my scrambling teammates in the lurch.
You'd be appalled. I have not made the call
To set that fourth date. It's not quite a search

So much as a careen. I make the scene
And leave it still unwritten. Still unborn,
The continents lie upside down, the seas
Continuous with heaven, without form

And void. The dark is comforting and deep.
I will not burn. I will not make the leap.
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The beat is on the heavy side. The beat
Is slightly off. The drummer makes us wait
And hurries on. The crowd is off its feet
And on its hands. The drummer hesitates

And hurries on again. I'm tapping time 
Against the outer edge of the guitar.
He never gets the message. Drop a dime
And call us when your head is in the bar,

Not in the clouds! The jackass fills the void
With cymbal crashes, unexpected riffs
And sudden stops. The audience enjoys
The first few bars, and then we're all adrift.

The drummer sucks. The drummer owns the club.
You've met the bouncer. Therein lies the rub.
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The nothing we do never lacks a but
Let's do just one more thing. Shut off that light,
Bring down that dish, make sure the door is shut,
Make sure that nothing takes place out of sight

Of neighbors. That'd be something, if they knew
The heights of nothing you can scale. No stale
Conventional sweet nothings. Not for you.
Your nothings shake the floorboards without fail

But first the toothbrush, first the garbage bin
And first the floss. You work your way across.
I'm patient. Once the sun sets, nothing wins.
And when we add it up, nothing is lost

And nothing missing. Nothing is the root.
And I like nothing better. That's the truth.
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Please, bartender, don't swipe my half-full glass.
Let me resolve the ambiguity.
I'll pay my share. The hour comes on fast
Regardless when I'll have to stand and pee

Or call my wife, or run to keep a date,
Or buy a slightly larger pair of pants,
Or minister to cats, or demonstrate
For half a share of one remaining dance

With comfortable society, or leave
On that vacation (which I can't afford)
Or spend a quivering hour on my knees
Before the one I otherwise ignore.

No need to nag me, bartender. No rush.
You're new at this. It takes a gentle touch.
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We've said too much. We've said it everywhere
That bears a mark, with every stylus made
And unmade. Words are common, readers rare.
Too many feeds. No followers. We fade

Into irrelevance beside ourselves.
A million monkeys typing? Nothing good
Can come of that, unless they read as well.
It's not the data. It's what's understood

That matters most. Compiling an index,
Cross-referencing by bird and word and tree
And branch and twig, binturong and insect.
We need Google. We need a library

Of congress for capuchins, and a FAQ
For all the things that matter to macaques.
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You're imitators. Not like us. Your scene
Is too self-conscious. Of another kind.
We lucky idiots, we well-deceased
Seadogs among the landlocked daily grind

Of vast tectonic plates! We true ingrates,
Refusing to accept our just reward
For work well done. We don't want one. We placed
Our faith in feedback, hammered our fretboards

And rode the rush. We skipped out of the crush
And surfed to California. Every drop
Of irony lost in the underbrush.
Full fathom five. Full speed ahead. Full stop

And drop and roll. Four track recorders ping
Pong tracks for diamond jacks. We die, or sing.

September 2014

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