A sonnet is fourteen lines, seven times Two — and since I squeaked in just At the end of 19-double-seven, I must Have developed an affinity for the rhymes That can only fit in lines assigned to perfection’s Numeral doubled. I also love rules. They were the things that proved my ego’s tools To construct an edifice designed for pain deflection. See, if I get it right, then I’m in– In where, I don’t know, but I’m not Out. That would hurt and cause a lot Of sensation labeled fear. Rules = win. That’s why (though I floundered) I liked ballet. No one telling you to improv–just do what they say.
Where were you when you learned that love held Conditions? What was the moment when cause And effect taught the lesson of merits that swelled In your mind like a sprained joint? Learning the laws Of deserved connection — that’s the tenuous path You may not veer from if you are to maintain Your safety sense in your ancient brain. Math Of a higher order is required: you strain To balance the equation and solve the variable Weather conditions, but wind doesn’t blow where you bode, And your stick house in the woods, durable As you believed it was, wasn’t built to code. Sitting on leaves, you feel the sting of rain. Standing, you find that you can walk with pain.
My students taught me that when a pop song Elicits certain feels, it’s appropriate To say, “That’s a mood.” They’re not wrong. Frequency relationships arranged commensurate With time have that effect. I taught my pupils That ostinato means a note gets played Over and over, and when a composer puts duples and triples together, that’s how tension gets made. We long for a different note to sound. Our guts Catch or want to undulate the mismatched beats Out of our limbs. In ancient well-worn ruts Our neurons wheel, and the song repeats. My brain has practiced that–dissonance rehearsed. With humble harmonies I’m getting better versed.
The New York Times sends me morning briefs, And the subject line insists this information Is crucial to the day’s commencement. Griefs, Intractable power wringing, and a nation In need of some C batteries for its soul- Finding flashlight crowd the bullet points Interspersed with tales of the viral toll Biological and technological. Joints Designed to keep the body politic moving Seem inflamed and brittle these days. Reading This electronic newsprint, I’m feeling The tight-wound anxiety outside preceding Me on masked errands–let’s get some healing. To start your day, know this: you are loved. By your inestimable is-ness my theory is proved.
Some moments the wise part of me Hovers gently outside my body and observes Me being a dad cliché, running limpily To wave down the struggle bus. Nerves Inflamed and awaiting the slightest brush to claim “Irritant!”, I am the very model Of a modern rager. Generally, I aim To go slow, and I expertly coddle My hubris saying, “Look at what a Zen Boy you are.” Then my two-year-old Does something exactly like me, and again, I hear my mouth spout–an unvalved scold. My words become my boys’ inside voice. Please let my speech sing the loving choice.
Thank you, God, for thank you–the very act Of saying I’m grateful shifts my molecules Into a kick-ass bell choir formation backed By saxophones. Seriously, it’s like the rules Say, “find something you didn’t conjure Up yourself like your breath, heartbeat, Or a strawberry, and just add wow. Sure, Pulse, respiration, and fruit to eat Become quickly unnoticeable in the whir Of electricity we’ve managed to channel into depressive distractions grasped in our palms. These Hands can open in humble receipt, though–renew The remember that we hold grace-forged keys. Thank you, God, for thank you–this technology Plenishes this story maker’s scarce mythology.
I bet you talk to yourself the same way I do Sometimes, saying shit any sane friend Would shut down were we to direct our spew At them. I’ve gotten kinder and managed to mend A few tears my words ripped, but mean Patterns like to reassert, and I feel That familiar constriction squeeze just between My ribs and belly button. I can heal That twinge if I stop and put a hand on my chest Or cheek, and I give it a rub like someone who’s Compassionate. And I thank that wringy pest That grabs my guts for his anti-venom cues. I hope you say kind things to you today. Go slow, and tell your squeezer I said hey.
My wife has an unconquerable wart on Her index finger. We’ve named her Eternia and brainstormed The art for the sci-fi fantasy series “Spawn Of the lndestructible.” One night, Melissa formed A theory that the mutant growth had burrowed A path to her being’s core, and I guffawed– The juxtaposition of a wart and furrowed- Brow existentialism (in a broad Sense) is objectively funny. She’s always making Me laugh like that. I remember a day Before I told her I loved her. We were baking With friends, and she muttered a joke only I heard her say. I thought to myself, “this woman I really get.” To date, that’s been my brilliantest thought yet.
The most chocolate-and-flowers-worthy reason To celebrate on this saint’s day is your Honey-kissed forehead on mine–two bees in Goldenrod celebrating more Sweet surprises than we can count. Did You know St. Valentine’s the patron of bee Keepers? Me neither. And here–hid In the buzz of my heart is the un-wordably free Meaning of your name. To be the one who gets To be here, make you laugh, frustrate the hell Out of you, and rub your shins sets My wings vibrating, and I’m flying swell. The Greeks and Allman Brothers join my exalt– Melissa means sweet with just enough salt.
Sixteen years ago I said yes To many obligations that should have gone In the terrible idea file. Years of stress, Wakeful nights, and plots involving pawn Shops ensued, and thousands of monetary Energy units evacuated the overdrawn Struggletown called Chase. Lacking a fairy With an alchemical wand, I relied on Eight-day work weeks and hourly account Tallies, racing to bank machines with wet-ink Checks, my dam-plugging digit amount Insufficient (with penalties), my brain on the blink. The last of those effects was paid today. Please take this debtor’s advice, and just say “nay.”