Tag Archives: writing

Dawn Sonnet 3-16-20

As I patiently wait for disaster
With my aggro black coffee in my hand
I observe this fine world alabaster
Knowing that this is all somehow God’s plan

I wish I believed in a Deity
Who sat in a control room watching us
Observing the acts of the laity
Deciding when each one’s final door shuts

Still I naïvely pray to somebody
Though I have no fucking idea who
It is an act of faith, done clumsily
& by talking to myself, dreams come true

In the dozen lines above, I write of
This temporary place: the world I love

Uncertain Sonnet

We are all awash in uncertainty

Never being able to understand

Existence in all its totality

We cannot know where it is that we stand

We’re suffering for our ability

To know more than what it is we can see

On the one hand it’s our nobility

On the other it is God’s cruelty

For from knowledge’s fruit we garnered 

An entire parallel reality 

That the academy surely honored

In our humanity’s simplicity

So I beg: please let this life amorphous

Not be pinned down to mere facts that bore us

Personal Poetic Inventory

Why are so many of my poems mean

Criticizing problems with the planet?

(I think it’s ‘cause I want to better seem

& I assess things as problems, damnit!)

Buried in the 1st stanza is judgement

Criticizing the problems of others

(Gives me the sugar high for a moment

Where I’m superior: not their brothers)

Where I’d really be happier being

Is celebrating humanity’s lives 

(Through people’s eternal soul-eyes seeing

That shows me how judgement my soul denies)

I meditate on my flaws to improve

But it steers me to a negative groove

Taxonomy Of Mass Shooters

We need a “mass shooter taxonomy:”

(A classification of this thing

Ubiquitous in our economy)

Here I will try to begin it naming

1st they’re mostly elaborate suicides

These people kill when they want to die

If they survive they wanted to choose sides

To some fantasy identity ply

2nd they are the voiceless’s message

When their tweets, posts, memes & screeds are ignored

They feel they need a murderous dressage 

To break through all the ennui of the bored

3rd, & more specific’lly they want

To say something about some injustice 

(Whether real or imagined) they flaunt 

Murderously, their social caprice 

Some are simpleton racists who despise

Blacks, Latinos, Asians & others more

Than they enjoy all of living’s supplies

(They create a fantasy of race war)

I need to quickly add explanations 

Of the commercially motivated

& the Bigger Thomas iterations 

Not many, but difference is noted

Not a few of them choose to blame women

Certainly a form of misogyny 

Thinking that life relationships owes them

(This alienation is unholy)

This is all toxic masculinity 

Where we men blame the sexual obverse 

(Oft’ “performative femininity”

Women’s social incentives perverse)

I should have started with the bullying 

That we think begins with one tyrant

(Truthfully we’re all participating

“‘Favorites’ is a form of violence”)

Let me circle back to the suicides 

(That are to me incomprehensible 

Mental Health sometimes sanity elides

A predictable reaction awful)

Today’s society’s expecting

Or demanding too much of human souls

People think they should be fame producing

Simulacrum of Humanity’s goals

White-Black Supremacy Sonnet

There’s a measure of White Supremacy

In our Blackness’s complex alchemy

This identity takes complacency

So that we do the work of hatred, see?

For individual identities

Have been put in conflict with each other

Because of artificial scarcities

We are set to have brother kill brother

It’s an artificial zero sum game

Where egos must have winners & losers

(For it is impossible we’re the same)

& hence society favors bruisers

Remember the suspicion you feel

Is a key part of racism’s raw deal


Self-Jeremiad Sonnet

I wish I could be a better person
& live up to more of my high standards
For then I’d be of myself, more sure then
(Poems aren’t the place to be candid!)

I imagine I could be happier
Living up to my grand aspirations
I might even dress myself snappier
(It might involve some preparations!)

The “perfect me” is a troublesome man
Ideals purely theoretical
Through a contrived obstacle course he’s ran
(To humanity antithetical!)

Fantasy me, like Frankenstein’s monster,
Of intentions built, will be abhorred

Second Amendment Sonnet

A firearm in hand boosts the weak psyche

•Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun• explains psychology

A pistol needn’t compromise with me

2nd Amendment’s a tautology

White Supremacy’s 2nd Amendment

Guns to bully & slaughter Brown People

First Indians then Negroes targeted

Racism’s the American steeple

I’d always suspected this about guns

They’re part of the American ego

They were somewhat less necessary once

Back when White Supremacy was legal

Guns’re inextricably linked to death

Taking over when compromise has left





Haiku Journal DMV-Manhattan-Subway Edition

new york sattelite 1

Yesterday I went to the DMV to get a New York License. I was dreading the waiting, but optimistic about finally getting my bureaucratic life in some sort of order. (Next I will try to get a passport!) I write my journal haiku or senryu throughout the day and today’s rhythm gave me a lot of time to reflect on events. There were three things that happened yesterday and I think this is a good “haiku journal” entry, so I am vainly sharing it. (Sorry I can’t format this into columns this Morning)

39. Computers are out/
Metrocards demand money/
At #woodside station/

40. Tollbooth clerk covers/
Window with impotent signs/
Backs them with ennui/

41. Most are just angry/
Ancient immigrants can’t know/
“Why no traveling?”/

42. Clerk tries to explain/
To ancient Himalayan/
Of “system failure”/

43. Palms up and head down/
The clerk gives up on language:/
Universal sign/

44. Mercifully my/
Soggy cash is accepted/
By god in machine/

45. Kindly Latina/
Money’s rejected by god/
Of electric eye/

46. She’ll be late for work/
While desperately begging/
For a crisp fiver/
47. DMV start time/
For attempt at an ID/
12:20 PM/

48. Bureaucracy makes/
Life together easier/
(Not always nicely)/

49. Pallet of people/
From which DMV’s painted/
Beyond the spectrum/

50. I love New Yorkers/
In their peculiarity/
While being tested/

51. Done with first window/
At a painless 12:50/

52. Alpha-Numeric/
Computer-read tickets called/

53. Slow but efficient/
Workers execute their functions/
While we demand more/

54. Man with pompadour/
Speaks formal Urdu to wife/

55. New Americans/
Seem more adept at these lines/
Then those born right here/
56. Subway ride back home/
Walked vanishing Manhattan/
Past places ʇɐɥʇ were/

57. Manhattan changes/
It is no longer my place/
It’s for others now/

58. City Landmarks go/
New places: new memories/
Mine Evaporate/

59. Walking those same streets/
Without friends I once walked with/
I’m slowly erased/

60. Memories miss me/
Youthful, lustful, desirous/
I’ve outgrown ʇɐɥʇ self/

61a. That city belongs/
To ambitious desirous/
Not contemplative/

61a. That city belongs/
To ambitious desirous/
Not the satisfied/

62. Lovers on the train/
Hungry hands kept to themselves/
Eyes feasting on eyes/

63. Thus it’s ever been:/
Youth revels in its beauty/
While the old look on/



Grading Black Lit Finals Haiku

Grading Haikus

16. Reading Endlessly/
Final exams showing much/
(Of their distractions)/

17. Lectures and readings/
Turned into raw sausages/
Squeezed into Blue-Books/

18. Some evade learning/
Like the startled trespassers/
Avoiding the light/

19. Then I read a test/
That defiantly points out/
I could have taught more!/

20. S/he takes my lectures/
Builds an elegant thesis/
That outshines my own/

21. Some students clearly/
Overstand literature/
And have been waiting/


22. Harriet Jacobs/
Wrote *Incidents* way back when/
For TH!S young person/

23. Race Repression in/
Have not changed at all/

24. When Jacobs declared/
“Pity me & pardon me”/
She predicted now/

25. Students are still moved/
By prejudice & the truth/
Of so long ago/*
*Written so long ere

26. Reading this brilliance/
After seven hundred words/
Of summary: great/

27. S/He revives my soul:/
Insight & Understanding/
Validate my work/

28. I hope one day you/
See your work validated/
By a students’ thoughts/

Kiko Returns from Sabbatical

ImageSo, today is a friend’s Birthday and the funeral for another friend’s son. Life is so capricious.  I just want to start writing more creatively, in the hopes that it will start my academic writing some.  Here is the latest on Kiko’s adventures in NYC on a bike (It started here, and was last published here). 

After they had each led for 20 minutes they went back the way they had come.  Once they had returned to their starting point they rode over to a Persian market and drank bottles of pomegranate juice labled in Farsi, Arabic, Russian and Hindi.  Croak, his lips glistening red, like blood said a few things to Mike that Kiko couldn’t follow.  He then turned to Kiko and said “You are the real deal.  Let’s teach you how to race and go win some prizes and give some surprises.”

“They’ll be shocked to see his stamina, and depressed when they see his sprint.”

“Watching his ‘brown eye’ cross the finish line first is going to erase a lot of smiles over in Central Park.”

Kiko listened and smiled only half understanding the import of these words.

On Wednesday of the next week when Kiko was back on Sra Choi’s bike two days into the week of bringing food to Manhattanites, as Kiko was rolling up Church Street with six scrambled egg sandwiches on rolls with bacon and cheese when Croak was suddenly riding beside him with a yellow messenger bag.  The bag had a logo that was peeling off that looked like some sort of a snake eating its tail.

Looking down at Kiko’s bike, another colorful cycling hat starched into an impossible series of arcs and points, he said “so that’s what you train on,” cracking into a wide toothy smile that looked like the bottom half of his front wheel.  The laughter that followed was infectious even though Kiko really hadn’t understood what he said.  They rode to the apartment just below Houston on the West side laughing.  

When Kiko came back out Croak was there holding the rear wheel an inch off the ground with his left arm and adjusting the rear derailer with a multipurpose tool.  He smiled as he stood up taking a small can of aerosol oil (WD40) and spraying little puffs two places like perfume samplers in a department store, giving the crank a sharp little twist that sent the rear wheel spinning for the second before he put it down.