Sonnet for a cigarette

It’s been ten years or more since last I smoked

And yet inside my lungs the air remains

Of lovers past refuted; I am choked

By tar-like love for I cannot abstain


From chasing down their mem’ries in a dream.

Addicted to the substance of their loss

Like fumes that always tend to drift upstream,

Upon the waves of chaos I am tossed


And spit back, coughing, on a newer shore

Where I don’t have to work so hard to breathe.

And yet, I still anticipate a war

Of furies: unsheathed weapons, clenchéd teeth.


You flick the flint wheel quick and set a flame

As if incineration is your aim.

Sonnet for an embrace

You cannot touch me, innocence aside,

For touch ignites a million visions’ flames.

And, laying by propriety and pride,

I tell you that my lips caress your name.

When I am resting quietly in bed

Or drifting through the motions of a day

I replay all the words that you have said

Imagine all the ones you’ve yet to say

For courting danger quickens up the blood

And you are risk personified in form

A flower does put forth its frailest bud

To feel the sting of hail from in the storm

So no more parting clasps, drawn chest to chest

Lest rare emotion bloom and be confessed.

Sonnet for forgetting

Am I recalling yesterday’s embrace?

Did I enfold your fingers in my hand

Within the last few moons? Or was the place

In which we met again the first time sand

Soft slipping through a fissure in my brain?

I find the fixéd elements a blur

The fluid aspects somehow still remain

Reminders: who we are and who we were

Your scent a tattooed image on my skin

Your mouth a scattered photograph for days

The heart, a castaway whose wrists are pinned,

Is begging for release from love’s malaise

I can no more forget than cease to lie.

And fabrications, uttered, satisfy.

sonnet for silence

As silence from your lips does drip again

I cannot even rage, as I have been

In this same state before (a time or ten)

Awaiting that your mouth my ear might bend


For who am I to rail against this fate

Which binds me to each action, false or true

Whose bands of wood I could no more negate

Than my own name, whose scar I can’t eschew


If masochism is my stock-in-trade

Then you must be that ailment’s greatest prize

I hand you up the hilt of sorrow’s blade

You pay me with aversions of your eyes


Apprenticed to the master of disdain

These words, these lines, this course is preordained



a sonnet in memory of nothing

has flown a single hour or countless days?
the truth exists between these two extremes.

our shadows pace down recollected ways

and passing time dissects the inmost dreams

did I first reach for you? or you for me?

or did we reach a silent compromise?

complicit anti-angels, we were free

from morals but not free from mortal lies.

the knife that cuts the deepest is too dull 

for drawing lines between a whispered no

and shouted yes. and eyes, so over full 

with tears they could not see, did tears forgo.
Thus passed some hours a year ago or ten.

Someday perhaps forget the why or when

Sonnet for the unlucky ones

No heroes in our shared mythology.

Few rights, much wrong, the gods have cursed this song

and yet, we sing it anyway. A plea:

atoning sins with volume ever strong.

Regrets weigh heavy, clinging vines of doubt

As kudzu, joining fear to fear to fear

‘Til all despairs are one – a mass without

A name or number, formless, vague, unclear.

We push against the weight; we watch for light,

and anthems, cool as water, soothe and calm.

In darkness, they are balm against the night.

We pause, and listen; yield, and yet- push on.

Solutions there are not to this our fate.

Abide, reside in solitude – and wait.