Saturday, September 23, 2017

Memories of sonnets past

I haven't written a sonnet since 2011 which is just as well, they weren't much good, most of them, and I wrote them mainly out of therapeutic need - I was suffering from unrequited love for an actor who certainly did not deserve such intense emotion, and I am amazed now I ever felt that way. He didn't even have great beauty, which is normally what I require for long-term torch-carrying.

But oh well, you can't reason with feelings. Only endure them and, if absolutely necessary, write sonnets about them.

Looking back on them six years after the last one, some of the odder ones are kind of interesting, even if they aren't the most aesthetically pleasing. And I had forgotten about so many of them.

This one is rather too much but interesting. I was living in Astoria at the time, near Athens Square park, which had a statue of Athena. I do admit I think I'm pretty clever by the use of "parthenogenesis" to indicate that, rather than the actor being responsible for "getting me" with brain-children out of his god-like sexiness, I acknowledge that it's all in my own head - an allusion to Athena, the virgin goddess, being born by springing out of Zeus's head. Parthenogenesis means to reproduce without sex.
A god invented I from common clay,
A seminal procreator of art,
Non-Olympic Apollo, latter-day
Deity, worshipped only in my heart.
With countless brain-children he has got me,
Quickening Athena in full armor
Could not cause any greater misery.
Hephastus split my head so I might pour
Voluptuous products of conception
Flowing across the electronic page
Ten by fourteen syllable formation,
Or maybe one day fret upon the stage.
So many godly blessings to dismiss:
In truth it is parthenogenisis.
This one is interesting - and not a lot of sonnets feature smurfs, I'll wager.
Unrequited love is not required
To make a certain kind of person blue.
Pathetic smurfs, we indigo-sired,
This world is not for us but for those who
Do not feel with depth or intensity
But skim the unruffled cerulean
Of their days free of all immensity -
The prevalence of pain; despair; even
Death they shun and will not speak of the dread
Since they are content with petty gossip
And fashion and sports: when you're dead you're dead
And let the dogs of banality slip.
For those amused by other people's pain
The world is an endless rainbow sans rain.

And this next one - I address a woman who I thought had expressed too much interest in my feelings for the actor. And really it was none of her business. The sonnet's quite insulting and I borrowed a line from AS YOU LIKE IT ("Sell when you can, you're not for all markets") but the chess metaphor isn't too bad. Her actual last name is the last word of the sonnet, although conveniently her name is also the color of half the squares on a chess board. 
You know not, clearly, how the game is played:
A check will not suffice it to an end.
Alas, your wit is rather a dull blade
Which arrogance has not the skill to mend.
Attend: for victory it takes a mate
And early bird the virile worm she gets.
How highly, really, does a mere pawn rate?<
Sell when you can you're not for all markets.
True, it's busy work to be a minion,
And service for the Demon makes you kvell -
But you need you-time, in my opinion,
Less for the over-mated Queen of Hell.
The Shakespeare guy, he likes my work alright,
So move the King onto a new square White.
More fun with names. In this next one I spelled out the actor's last name three times, across multiple words - on the 5th, 7/8th and 10th lines. I had to jump through some hoops to make that work, and it didn't make for the must beautiful phrases, but I really enjoyed creating it, like a puzzle. And it's not so out of place to insert Odin, the Norse god, into a poem that uses an extended iceberg metaphor in the first half.

The last line would have worked with all the proper sonnet syllables and the ending rhyme if I had written out his name. Ooh I'm so tricksy!
The inexplicable phenomenon
And banishment Antarctic of the soul,
With isolated berg to float upon
The length of which was all five-minute's stroll.
Unto this ice-blue slab Odin even
Dared not make visitation. Maddening
Silence evolving to a limbo din
Empty ears in idleness inventing.
Hindsight's graffitti now clear on the wall
By my homeless heart: watch the ho-bo dine
On garbage; the regurgitative fall.
Such gratitude for what was never mine.
Goddamned futile anguish for one so mean,
It was only ........................................ you.