There Is No Explanation For Our Puss (A Contemporary Sonnet)

There is no explanation for our puss,
Not on the Mayo site or WebMD,
That would make sense for either one of us,
an explanation received comfortably,

For surely neither one of us has strayed
Afar from vows that bind us until death,
Apart from that one time I blithely played
The lover to my secretary Beth.

I know that I’ve been faithful ever since,
So tell me Alice what to make of this
Have you fair maiden found another prince?
Is this the reason why it hurts to piss?

I know the answer darling – don’t look shocked.
Oh Alice, you should keep your cellphone locked.

My Father Was a Tinsmith to the King

My father was a tinsmith to The King,
A skilled craftsman, there was indeed nothing
He could not make, or so we thought until
The King was struck by madness and fell ill

And wandered to our shop one fateful day
And on my form his mad eyes fell and lay.
His majesty cried out a fatal whim,
“I need an heir! Make him of tin like him!”

My father said that I was just a toy,
a little clown made to amuse a boy.
“I am The King and that is not my care!
You’ll make for me a living, breathing heir!”

My father tried to reason, oh, he tried –
He was hung by his neck until he died.

[My meat turns into dust as I recline] (from “The Surreal Sonnets” series)

My meat turns into dust as I recline,
The ham, the steak, the pork, the chicken too,
Not dry as dust, but dust – so white and fine;
When I awake, there is a residue.
My meat is now a powder on the floor,
And empty are the hooks that held it fast.
I bang my fists into the freezer door.
My days as bloody butcher – are they passed?
My son he finds me there, and he asks me,
“Why is our inventory now all snow?”
“Because it’s wintertime,” I say with glee,
Pretending to be happy. “Now let’s go!”
      If your meat turns into dust, do what you can –
      Take your son’s hand and make a meat snowman!


The other day my workmate Joan was talking to another workmate who sits across from my cube. I was engrossed in my work so I really wasn’t following the conversation, but I thought I heard Joan say “My meat turns into dust,” and immediately whirled around and said, “Did you just say, ‘My meat turns into dust?’ I need to write that down.” Most people – most sensible people – would have just written it down and ignored it. But not me. I just had to use it somehow.

The Fourth Chair

My sister left us, two months shy of nine,
and I became the brother of a ghost
who’d haunt our table when we’d sit to dine.
My mother, fragile, felt her haunts the most.

For two months, every night, we’d sit right there
and brace for her to pause – to stop mid-word,
then slowly turn to face her empty chair,
and we’d look down as if her sobs weren’t heard.

One Saturday, my father went to town,
went to its finest shop (no, we weren’t poor)
and brought a brand new table that was round,
purposely left the fourth chair in the store.

When Mother saw it, she began to sway.
That was the day my Mother went away.

Laser Sight Tattoo Dream Sonnet (from “The Surreal Sonnets” series)

Red beams upon my chest in a nightmare
which burn into my skin a strange tattoo –
two turtles making love on a highchair,
while underneath, a figure crawling – you!

I know that I can’t put on any clothes
(your face will smear and I’ll be much worse off).
I hide the image with a giant nose
that bursts out of my mouth with a hard cough.

I wait for night to leave home in this state.
I slither through the city by side streets.
A patrol catches me. I shiver, wait.
With red beams on my chest, as hope retreats,

a cop with your voice coming from the glow
says, “You can drop the nose now, we all know.”

[When I was dizzy Arkansas I thought]

When I was dizzy Arkansas I thought
in overlong and intense barnyard scenes
adapted from a Razorback I caught
impossibly, in silence, without means

of capture. Curving just a bit inside,
I introduce reduction to the pines
in sounds, a series of far wails implied,
some early yards, magicians in the vines.

Reboot the sequels, counterpunch the bunch,
the hearts of lettuce, prayers and matinee shows,
so, overblown and beaming over lunch,
a callow, shallow type of havoc grows

like villians amid images of snaps,
like twill and buttons pre-removed from naps.

The Ball of Legs

illustration - rowboat

Some new tracks in the sand by Potter’s Mount,
Four toes, then five, then six, then back to four,
Each alternating step, a different count,
They end under the lifeguards’ boat – no more.

I turn to scan the shore; I am alone,
But curious – my hidden quarry begs.
I overturn the boat. There, lying prone,
No human thing – a ball of twenty legs.

It scurries quickly past me to the dunes.
Then diving from the sky a demon bird,
Which plucks it, flies with it across the moon,
Those whirring legs – the loudest scream I’ve heard.

I contemplate this natural mystery
Under the boat – lest more foul birds seek me.


from The Surreal Sonnets Series…

  1. The Dreaming Chest
  2. Icelus Calling
  3. Cracks in the Walls

Cracks in the Walls (from “The Surreal Sonnet Series”)

Our windows open to a wall of brick
With windows of its own deep in its grooves.
We see a pulsing motion, we are sick,
For waving from each window, thirteen hooves!

What demons live inside these walls, behind
Each brick, a horror lurking in each rut,
A silent teeming madness or our mind,
And so the window we begin to shut,

But something grabs our eye and we look back,
And what we see – we shudder, legs grow weak –
Each hoof is now a hairy plumber’s crack.
In unison they all begin to speak,

“You can awake, the fog of dreams will clear,
but in a nagging way, we’ll still be here.”

Icelus Calling (from The Surreal Sonnets Series)

We dream a dream ensconced inside a chest
That we’re a flying dog named “Tiffany”.
We fly beside a jet plane heading West,
A blinking light is all that we can see.

Then suddenly the skies explode in light,
A thousand blinking stars that are not planes,
A fireworks of heaven’s glorious might,
A light-encrusted bone’s all that remains.

It hovers there, it speaks with our own voice.
“Why do you chase this light in skies on high?
Yes, you’re a dog, but know you have a choice.
Now I become the bone in your left thigh!”

And with a “YELP!”, the bone it takes its place.
and as we wake a grimace on our face.


FWIW, the first sonnet in the series is here:
The Dreaming Chest

If you don’t have time to read it, basically, “The Dreaming Chest” establishes the narrator of the above sonnet – and potentially subsequent sonnets – as being in a dream that he is underwater, asleep inside a treasure chest and dreaming.

It all makes perfect sense now, doesn’t it?

The Dreaming Chest (from the Surreal Sonnets Series)

Gently in sleep we search the seas of dreams,
Traipsing upon submerged mountain peaks,
Our fastest steps slow-motion so it seems.
Does reason know our heart – of what it seeks?

So sweet’s the air we breathe in, not a brine,
But scent of sweetest flowers in our breast.
We see down in a valley a bright shine
And fly to it. We find a golden chest

With rubies, emeralds, jewels and coins of gold,
Its treasures overflowing from its lip.
We scoop out every thing that it does hold,
Into its empty walls ourselves we slip,

And close the lid, bring darkness to our face,
For we have found our ideal dreaming place.

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