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Five Sonnets in the Dark and in the Light


The poet and professor, Jamey Jones, asked me last summer if I would submit some poetry for publication in the magazine, Hurricane Review. It is always a task to decide on something, but finally I did, and Jamey kindly chose a few. 

There is going to be a publication celebration of Hurricane Review in Florida very soon. I can’t be there in person so Jamey asked if I would do a recording of me reading some poems.

As it turned out, I did two recordings. The first, last night in bed on Zoom with the laptop on my knees, which made for a fine reading, but the laptop, so close, sometimes does move and shake my image as I’m speaking, but it is dark, and you can hardly see me anyway. Which I kind of like—Just listen to the words! I did the second recording late this morning with some street noise interfering, which required a few take-twos.

So here we are, a reading in the dark and a reading in the light. I hope you enjoy.




It’s better to know something than not to
know it no matter what it is. For an
example take the Daddy long legs that
has come into my vision crawling on
my leg—I’ve known Daddy long legs since I
was a kid, known many of them. Never
has one ever bitten me yet. “Yes,”
what I know says, “How beautiful it is.”
“How beautiful it is,” what I know says
as I go to pick it up gently of
course plump round body and one two three four
five six legs delicate striding along
so much existence in so slight a thing
walking on my hand like a world turning.


The night comes with a chill not on but in
my skin—A spider web at the end of
summer stretches in the wind. Decayed dock
sways with my weight swaying and sways. Water
striders molest a fallen fly whose wings
have trapped it there wet lifting itself up
but not out—The striders striding in and
out are biting it with small bites that make
me think of pain and hate and spite and life
of health and money to pay for it and
even Afghanistan and Iraq then
a bass comes in a splash—Splash!—swallowing
all of them. All that’s left is rippling in
continual circles that keep spreading.


I want to write something about you but
I’m not sure what—You are not with me now
so you are in my thoughts—We are in love
the two that becomes one. You ask me how
I know. Today was cold. I didn’t expect
the sun but it has come to make the cold
day warm. Unexpected as it was Love
gave me what I wanted; it didn’t want.
Spent, owed—Bad karma spilled—Impossible
—The last sip from the bottle no surfeit
can fill. Want wants. Love loves and cannot kill
like too much sun and too much water will
take a green plant and shiver it dull
and where you thought there was is not at all.


There is a lot of wind in the mountain.
There happens to be some chimes as well.
The wind has many throats; this little bell
is made of metal; the chimes are wooden
pieces sawed and painted wearing away
telling the wind’s story in a hurry
like snakes make a ruckus over the leaves
down the rocks to the valley far away.
“It is happening! It is happening!”
The bell rings as the rain starts to pitter
patter on the trees making me shiver
holding my notebook close as I’m running
page after page for a time hid away
waiting like the chimes for something to say.


Back at the beginning is like a dream
Back at the beginning’s like waking up
Back at the beginning not everything
is formed. The pond is not a pond, it’s a
big hole some giant with a shovel has dug
up. I know this place and yet I don’t, yet
I know I’m home—Here is where I was born.
How do I know? Here I feel safe and sound.
Here I have flown to write and become old.
The sun’s going down. Night will sing its notes.
I am what I am no matter what. I am
not able to look. Can you see my face?
Am I a bird or a man or a snake?
The stars are hid that led me to this place.





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