Cognitive Dissonance (Petrarchan Sonnet)

The placard serving as a nametag read
Correctly, but it still seemed somehow wrong––
Like when a face and voice just don’t belong
Or when a word looks wrong inside your head
Though dictionary’s proof before you spread.
How do you fight a dissonance so strong?
How do you prove the label does belong?
How to endure the heavy lies, like lead––
Not only drag you down but pull aside,
Turn you away from who you really are
Toward the dark despair and loneliness?
Hope lifts your drooping, weeping, heavy eyes
To see the faintest light, a dim, small star
Whose shining heralds something glorious.


What is a Petrarchan Sonnet?



A warm front slams into cold air
And the ruckus
         can be seen and heard
for miles.

Lift us, as warm air rises,
So the joy
         can be seen and heard
for miles.



Thomas, did you jump when finger touched bone?
Did you wipe off your hands on your tunic?
Did you notice how His eyes shone
With loving laughter as you struggled to speak?

Oh, but Thomas, when words finally came
No levee could begin to hold back the flood:
“My Lord and my God!” you (too) loudly exclaimed,
Hugging your Lord, your friend, down from the rood.


Proximity (Tennyson)

The things that are closest to me I dread;
Beloved dears are hidden from my sight.
The baying, snarling jaws of hounds that bite––
So loud, so near, they seem to fill my head.
Be near to me.

Food has no taste; no rest is found in bed.
Though weary, I can find no sleep at night.
Accusers’ torches are my only light.
Please, don’t leave me! Please, don’t leave me for dead!
Be near to me.

Appearances, like grifters’ long-con game
Appeal and ply and prod and lie and woo,
But near and far reversed have they, in truth;
And you hear ev’ry whisper of your name.
Be near to me.

The congregation swells with eagerness,
And I can’t wait to tell them all the news:
“The same our fathers had, for me and you!
The power mixed with wondrous loveliness!”
Be near to me.


What is a Tennyson?

Reprise (Week of January 6, 2019)

Here are the posts that went up this week!

A quick pencil-drawing to capture part of Isaiah 40:8.

Wish Fulfillment (Rondel Grande)
Both the Psalmists and Jesus make some wild promises about being given what our hearts desire. What if we did get everything we (thought we) wanted?

Smooth Sailing
Ends don’t always justify means, even if the ends turn out all right (this time).

Welcome to the Bidden (Monchielle Stanza)
What makes something valuable? What is treasure?

Entangled (Sacred Signia)
If you go from being tied up to untied, be careful not to trip on the rope at your feet.

Sneezing with Your Eyes Open
There’s a (stupid, I admit) commercial about a guy whose TV is so great he won’t even close his eyes to sneeze. That’s the inspiration for the title, and the poem came from there. (True story.)

Ontology of Poetry
This is a poem by Aaron Everingham from a collection published posthumously by Joshua Torrey at Torrey Gazette Publishing. It’s one of the best descriptions of poetry I’ve read.

Ontology of Poetry

This is not a poem I wrote, but one from a collection I have greatly enjoyed: Aaron Everingham’s Writing Poems in the Shadow of Death, edited by Joshua Torrey. Do yourself a huge favor and get this collection.

I may never think a thought

that has not ever been thunk,

but I may weld together words

in ways that have yet been wrought,

to draw the line between two points

an infinite distance apart.

— Aaron Everingham, Writing Poems in the Shadow of Death, 9.

Sneezing with Your Eyes Open

Desire gestating, growing, giving birth:
Delivery of all that waiting and hoping.
But sometimes, getting what you wanted
Is like sneezing with your eyes open.

What a useless, torturous, dangerous skill!
Who would long be impressed
By something, that honestly, is pretty gross
And not, rather, tell you, “Give it a rest!”?

It serves no purpose, accomplishes no good,
And runs the risk of bodily harm.
Why on earth would you not do something—anything—else?
Why would you not yourself be alarmed?

Is there not something better, something more useful,
Something more beautiful you could do?
Is there no goal, however small or mundane,
That could make you and others better or new?


Entangled (Sacred Signia)

The vines like living, growing dungeon chains
Entwine around
My chest and arms and legs, fully restrained,
Held to the ground.
One weakened link weakly resists my throes—
My bonds unsound—
And breaks, but freedom won is not quite known
While vines, though broken, still need to be thrown
Off, disentangled from my limbs that claim
Release. They run, not able to remain.


What is a Sacred Signia?

Welcome to the Bidden (Monchielle Stanza)

True treasure that endures,
Never fearing its loss,
Not hoarded or hidden
Rather gladly shared:
Welcome to the bidden.

True treasure that endures
Can’t compound interest
As though there were more yet
To improve or gain or be.
What you see, that you get.

True treasure that endures,
Count by smiling faces:
Qualitative measure,
Not quantitative like
Coins, bills, chests of treasure.

True treasure that endures
Is found in the presence
Of its fountain and spring;
There, blessings forever
Can’t help but make you sing.


What is a Monchielle Stanza?