The Poetry Porch presents

the sonnet scroll xi

Copyright © 2011 by Joyce Wilson


    Two Thousand Page Suicide Note
    By Diana Der-Hovanessian

    In Monday’s Boston Globe, a reporter* describes
    close to two thousand pages left on the desk
    of Mitchell Heisman to explain his suicide:
    calling his life, and all life, meaningless.

    “Handsome, 35 years old, erudite” he bled
    on Harvard Yard’s Memorial Church’s steps
    where he put a bullet through his head
    after quoting Nietzsche two hundred times,
    “Every word, thought, emotion is meaningless.”

    Ah, Mr. Heisman, why did you not hear
    those standing nearer, who tried to intervene,
    saying Mr. Nietzche might have taught
    life is meaningless. . . .but wait, it is our lot,
    to pretend it means, or try to make it mean.

    * David Abel
    Copyright © 2011 by Diana Der-Hovanessian

    Don Juan and the Stone Guest
    By Diana Der-Hovanessian

    Don Juan chose badly beginning with
    a married beauty only sixteen,
    Donna Julia, not exactly a great wit.
    And Don himself a twit and green

    at that. With this inauspicious start,
    his chosen and long term role
    pursuing affairs of the heart
    began its toll on flesh and soul.

    Still he thought what he pursued
    was the ideal, the perfect other half.
    But what he found each time was rude
    fate having the last laugh.

    At the end, crushed by Donna Anna’s ex,
    he regretted being hard pressed for sex.

    Copyright © 2011 by Diana Der-Hovanessian

By Kim Bridgford

    Sometimes we wish a thing, and it comes true:
    Guy wants his fame, and his Ann Morton too.
    And Miriam’s resistance is what angers;
    And it all disappears in Bruno’s fingers,

    While something is picked up, the A to G
    That lights a pathway scattered with the guilt
    That comes from living out a fantasy.
    Love makes a bed along death’s crooked fault.

    Crisscross. And Bruno passes through the film,
    A wish so old we do not recognize it,
    A wish so old we don’t have to disguise it.
    What we live out in dreams can overwhelm—
    A boy who has been smothered, learns to smother,
    Who wants his father dead to live with Mother.

    Copyright © 2011 by By Kim Bridgford

By Kim Bridgford

    He plays out what it means to be voyeur—
    The sex, the loneliness, the art, and murder.
    If all that you can do is watch, you will,
    And then, once you have crossed the windowsill,

    They’re not just people, but images you’ve made.
    You want to know what’s happened, but, afraid
    To know the truth, you dawdle there, fill in
    With broadest strokes: a love or a villain.

    It’s more exciting to take hyperbole
    And make a drama in community.
    A dog, a song, a plant—humdrum and plain,
    Until the murderer knows you. You pine
    For everything to happen except this,
    A world that keeps its mind on its own business.

    Copyright © 2011 by Kim Bridgford

By Kim Bridgford

    This compass mark is not a literal fact;
    So many things are misidentified,
    The wrong man’s kidnapped, and an auction’s wrecked,
    While crops—and Roger—take on pesticide.

    And Eve is used to tempt and also save,
    A woman who can conjure the idyllic,
    Yet in her constant riding on the train,
    She cannot help connection with the phallic.

    Ah, well. Film does that, with a drop of voice,
    Along with Rushmore rearing up its heads,
    Disguising the transferal of the beds.
    There is an aura underlying choice.

    It’s why Hitchcock made movies: to blur the line
    Between what’s good and evil, by design.

    Copyright © 2011 by Kim Bridgford

By Kim Bridgford

    It was the way he crossed reality
    And vision: the daily texture of familiar
    Experience—a music store, a shower—
    With the maneuvered world of fantasy.

    Silk stockings, two birds, a merry-go-round:
    What was so ordinary spun around.
    He wanted to seduce though building action
    So that you couldn’t tell the fact from fiction.

    Not only did he know the point of view
    Of characters, he knew the way to you,
    Sitting with your disbelief suspended.
    Then, once the Alfred Hitchcock movie ended,
    The world was not the same; you wore the glasses
    Of someone who sees horror in what passes.

    Copyright © 2011 by Kim Bridgford

Active and Contemplative
By Luann Landon

    The marble fountain, famously from Rome,
    pours out its silver music on the crowd,
    sojourners who have made this lobby home
    that welcomes both the quiet and the loud.
    One woman near the basin stands alone
    amid the cheerful crush, a place she fills,
    looks to the very top, the water’s cone
    bursting to downward flood that purls and stills.
    Flat shoes, plain dress, brown hair—she gazes long,
    obsessed with falling water finely caught.
    Beside her, a woman glittery and young
    checks in her mirror earrings lately bought,
    runs off with her young man, always to dance.
    The older woman gives them just a glance.

    Copyright © 2011 by Luann Landon

    Chasing the Muse
    By Rimas Uzgiris

    I need to write some tight blank verse tonight.
    If only iambs flew from me like time,
    then I would climb the heights of poetry
    to take my place among the cloudy peaks
    of fame where icy storms keep down the meek
    who think cheap tricks and popular appeal
    will win them lasting praise.
                                                     I know better.
    I’ve felt when quiet nights are filled with pain,
    when fortune turns her grinning wheel, and sleep
    won’t rhyme with hope. More voices cry inside
    my bony head than reason can direct
    in linear thought and speech. Forced into song
    at least they fall in step, somewhat, like rain
    precipitated from the fleeting clouds.

    Copyright © 2011 by Rimas Uzgiris

    Catholic Education
    By Rimas Uzgiris

    Far too long I tried to fly in sterile clouds.
    I built up catapults; I expelled fuel.
    It was as if the earth were in a shroud
    and Reason’s palace were the only rule.

    Then, at a dinner party, murky with wine,
    I met a South American painter—
    a sultry Jewess with a friendly mien.
    My only thought, I feared, was to lay her.

    Better than Virgil, better than my dreams,
    she guided me through a happy, new hell.
    I tumbled like timber down a rocky stream.
    Suddenly, the earth was there to taste and smell.

    Still—this garden needed love to sweetly give
    the fruit whose eating we ask none to forgive.

    Copyright © 2011 by Rimas Uzgiris

    On Gravitational Effects
    in the Expanding Field of Poetry

    By Rimas Uzgiris

    The rock falls with gravity’s take on fate
    that generates weight by mass times acceleration,
    like the poet whose mass produces weight
    under a sometimes startling acceleration
    towards death, or fame, or just some groans. . .
    All to escape obscurity—even with a sonnet.
    Sticks and stones may break our bones
    but the soaring speech of the poet,
    lacking wingèd grace or sweet intelligence,
    will fall flat like ham from a greasy pan,
    and when it hits the floor it is not out
    of gravity, but the familiar force of indifference
    that acts on all bodies—some more than
    others—weighting them down to hell,
                                                     or thereabouts.

    Copyright © 2011 by Rimas Uzgiris

    Kick Line for the Night of Divas
    By Kelley Jean White

    Miss Diagnosis
    Miss Adventure
    Miss Management

    Miss Behavior
    Miss Begotten
    Miss Carriage

    Miss Alignment
    Miss Spoke
    Miss Taken

    Miss Chief
    Miss Judge
    Miss Trial

    Now you design the costumes
    You set the stage

    Copyright © 2011 by Kelley Jean White

    Ice Age
    By David W. Landrum

    In Michigan, ten thousand years ago,
    giant sloths and wooly mammoths roamed the same    
    cold landscapes humans beings did. Below
    the water, beavers fifty feet long framed
    their lodges. Ice age man shared environments
    with creatures now extinct. The mastodon
    and ice-age wolf and tiger left their prints
    deep in the mud of a world forever gone.

    Today the place is safer, warm and more
    habitable—but safety has its price,
    and comfort settles an exacting score
    for living here so long after the ice.
    The danger gone, the lumbering creatures lost,
    we understand: dullness is safety’s cost.

    Copyright © 2011 by David W. Landrum

    Eros Silentium
    By David W. Landrum

    How is it that when love is done we lie
    in silence? Easy, dreamy, satisfied,
    we do not talk-murmur, perhaps, or sigh,
    but do not speak-and sense that if we tried
    it would be something inappropriate:
    a blasphemy against the things we feel.
    Praises and paeans fill our hearts, and yet
    we’re quiet. Over our lips we set a seal.

    God spoke and it was so. The God of Love
    is not so voluble; he gives his law
    without thunder and the descending dove;
    he interdicts our words with pleasure’s awe.

    Lovers inherit the earth. They do not speak-
    the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the meek.

    Copyright © 2011 by David W. Landrum

    An Etiology
    By David W. Landrum

    Not drama, we are told, and not anguish
    or dark insight compelled Vincent Van Gogh
    to take his life; Dickenson not to show
    her face in public; or Gauguin to wish
    himself dead after painting the triptych,
    From where, who are we, to what do we go?
    Artists, we thought, perish because they know
    disturbing truths, and visions that are hellish.

    No. Experts say Van Gogh had a disease
    so painful he committed suicide;
    and Dickinson some mild epilepsy
    that made her a recluse; Gauguin was seized
    by clinical depression—so they died
    or lived their lives pushed over to one side.

    Copyright © 2011 by David W. Landrum

    Sonnets from Rock and Roll, #5
    By David W. Landrum

    “Are we human, or are we dancers?”   —The Killers

    We danced down corridors, marionettes,
    our strings pulled, twisted and tugged by the forces
    set over us—our triumphs and regrets
    their doing; their deft hands, their strings the sources

    of our delight or of misery. Our dreams
    were scripted and we were ruled by tugs
    from on high, from the cords on wooden beams
    grasped in the hands of the celestial thugs

    who run the show. We think that we can step
    down off the stage, and, like Pinocchio,
    walk on our way with no strings, without help,
    without restraint—lift up our legs and go.

    Strings are secure. The step toward the abyss
    might be salvation or the Devil’s kiss.

    Copyright © 2011 by David W. Landrum

    Real Estate
    By Patricia Callan

    Stability is prime where schools are good.
    Make an offer; buy this neighborhood.
    You see the Virgin in a common place,
    the garden plot, a shrine beneath a wall.
    Sometimes her paint is faded or a ball
    has nicked her veil or stained her molded face.
    Her plaster hands point out each well-kept lawn
    clipped off at the edges like amens.
    Here, grapes are pressed, then vines are gone
    every season when the harvest ends.
    The old-world art is nothing you should fear;
    its meaning would be easy to misread.
    Where people sacrificed to get the deed—
    I can see our children living here.

    Copyright © 2011 by Patricia Callan

    From the Piano
    By Patricia Callan

    I see the smoke bush planted three years past.
    Angry winter gone, it stands alone.
    Dormant twigs shiver, split and clone
    buds, like hands on branches tightly clasped.
    A bird seeks what time and duty cast—
    the future, in her cyclical chipping tone.
    As nestlings wait, all mouths, all skin and bone,
    she twists the buds, plucks their gift at last.

    I search the keys, circling like the bird,
    for early pieces learned, the Bach Inventions.
    Played in study and that now sustain
    me as I listen for the gifts conferred
    from this life of keyboard ascensions
    deferred to the world, the birds outside my pane.

    Copyright © 2011 by Patricia Callan

    By Joan A. W. Kimball

    When buses bring the runners to the track,
    friends and parents line the fence to greet
    them, take their sweats and bottles—stash till needed—
    and obliquely check for energy (or lack).
    Her group is called to jockey, toes aligned,
    her body angled forward like a trap
    wound, ready, sprung at the gun and snapped
    to a measured lope while parents cheer the line.

    A handful, bunched together, lead the race.
    The others strewn behind: staunch figures flung
    along the oval of the park—dispersed.
    With three laps done, one runner flouts the pace.
    Along the fence, she outstrips one by one
    till past the painted mark she dashes first.

    Copyright © 2011 by Joan A. W. Kimball

    Emerson Hospital or Her Full Knee Replacement            
    By Joan A. W. Kimball

    My sister’s drugged in a wind-up bed—her leg
    recrafted at the knee with cobalt-crested bone.
    I leave some lilies, start the homeward trek.
    Bare walls, glazed eyes confirm that I’m alone.
    The front door auto-slides. Above the walk
    a dripping roof provides a taut percussion,
    as if a rain cloud from the gods had thought
    to lodge above the clinic door, its mission
    to drain roof snow and generate a pool
    that shivers my reflection at the curbside.
    My nose is filled with March’s molecules
    that peddle scents of yew and yellow loosestrife.
    Sun and the dissipating snow begin
    the season’s birth. Her knee must spring again.

    Copyright © 2011 by Joan A. W. Kimball

    Natalie, at Four
    By Tracey Gratch

    She asks why the wind is invisible,
    if the sun goes in a box when it’s night.
    I give her the answers, invincible;
    I explain earth’s rotation, daylight.
    Then I tell her about revolution—
    how earth circles the sun once a year.
    In her mind, she has drawn a conclusion—
    she says: The sun must get dizzy up there.

    Enchanted, disarmed, by her innocence,
    though I know well such virtue can’t last,
    in time, I will lose my omnipotence—
    I predict slamming doors, great impasse.
    One day, she'll say: Mom, you are horrible.
    I’ll think of her—four, and adorable.

    Copyright © 2011 by Tracey Gratch

    By Richard Aston

    With the turn of the crank, it misses and spits
    until it settles and runs a bit.
    The concrete mixer chugging along
    gives its beat to the bricklayer’s song.
    The laborer fills it with a shovel,
    adding cement, some sand and gravel.

    When Pa was young they mixed on a board
    before the engine was wrought by Ford,
    an engine you’d think would have stopped the sweat
    but that clearly hasn’t happened yet.

    The cause is the bricklayer, foreman, and boss.
    If the laborer doesn’t move, they count him a loss.
    So now he must keep up with a machine,
    an industrial giant, turned into a fiend.

    Copyright © 2011 by Richard Aston

By Lee Evans

    We gazed into a pool of crystal tide,
    Crouching together close enough to see,
    Apart enough to share the mystery.
    Our dim reflections trembled with the sky,
    Where periwinkles crept before our eyes
    Beneath the liquid weight of their clear world,
    And tiny creatures hurried in the whirl
    Of their routines, against the flow of time.

    We held each other though we crouched apart,
    As through the miles we hold each other still,
    United in the prophecies of the heart
    Which after death, seers say, reveal the wills
    That were in life disguised by flesh and bone—
    Then we will know ourselves as truth is known.

    Copyright © 2011 by Lee Evans