Part of Me Thinks Jazz
I want to write a Coltrane poem so bad-
ly, but I know that part of me thinks jazz
is freer than my waking mind: a dazz-
ling herd of wildebeests, a scorpion mad
with sun that stings itself to sweet release,
a waterfall so hot and fast it smokes
the river nymphs to shore where tribal spokes-
men dance a trance that bleeds their bloodlust peace-
fully. It could be Mingus, Miles, or Monk;
or Bird or Diz or Duke: the freedom with-
in structure, logic’s skeleton support-
ing slabs of rough-cut psyche; senses drunk
but soul as sober as a judge of myth-
ic confluence; a tempest hugged in port.
Invitation to the Sonnet
Hello. I’m Tom. Come in. This sonnet’s new,
so things aren’t quite the way they’ll be. Don’t mind
the mess. No, keep your shoes on. I’ll just find
a glass that’s clean so we can a have a few
stiff drinks before the other guests arrive.
I worry, too, about the goose-step gait
of iamb, iamb, iamb, iamb—I’ve
lost count! And rhymes as stale as day-old—Wait!
There’s someone at the door. Oh, that’s your phone.
Petrarchan or Shakespearean, you ask?
I sometimes mash the two, testosterone
all bunged up tight behind a tragic mask
or stuffed into a dunce’s cap. The aim
is poetry—Your dog? I’ve heard he’s lame.