The Poetry Porch presents

the sonnet scroll iii

Copyright © 2000, 2001 by Joyce Wilson

    Rain Crow
    by Stephen Sandy 

    He shakes himself awake; reconnoiters; caws
    to Tom or Dick or Jerry, of this fox he saw.
    Taunting his groundlings, manic for applause.

    Then off he sails trailing crow calls, rau-
    cous as gale-whipped branches cracking; saurian, raw,
    brassy cries, hungrier than any appetite
    he ever had. Long hollow wing bones, maw
    packed with marrow, lock in positionbright
    feathers slick with wet light. It is to complain
    he rides the updraft, tacking.
                                                  Cruising elohim
    in a black coat, wings hovering like temple eaves,
    gives shelter, now here now there, from the rain,
    moving across parcels of earth below him;
    the barren plots, the fields bound up in sheaves.

    Copyright © 2001 by Stephen Sandy

    by Stephen Sandy 

    The letterhead, an architectural shield
    of Brown’s Hotel in Denver Colorado,
    the graver’s lashing flourishes now grimed
    with age; across the center on the dusty field
    of Crane’s best stock, hand-printed letters stood
    unwobbling, like masts of fence risen from snow;
    a gate the wind opened. Brown ink strokes climbed
    to make a gaunt design I could not read
    at first. Cyrillic? Saxon?
                                           Inch-high ink
    strokes like little ladders. Bewildering, dark;
    spell . . . H   E   L   E   N   K   E   L   L   E   R.

    I feel a rallying hand, the hovering
    verticals of mind; galactic, stellar
    wakenings. Taut spell on a field else blank.

    Copyright © 2001 by Stephen Sandy

    by Stephen Sandy 

    Madly shaking plaster from rafters two of them scamper, hurl 
    themselves on lathsyou can hear they’re two. Shaken or 
    moved together by some ecstatic impulse, they unfurl
    their two-step, ascending clamor vibrating the floor.
    This subversive animal order among the studs,
    joists, frills of plastertheir raucous whirl
    takes over in stereo; scrapes and thuds
    waken the tenant & his girl 

    sleeping or trying to sleep amid the din and cosmic twirl
            of tails, twin rodent dragons in small clouds of dust
                             with cosy strife contending for the pearl
                                             of telos, till they fall from lust
                                                       silent in a double swirl
                                                            of sleeping squirrel.

                                                                Copyright © 2001 by Stephen Sandy

    Spitting Images 
    by Tanya Ubiles Duarte 

    We drink our flat pop and wonder how come
    the degrees of our faces aren’t quite 
    right like the lucent ones we’ve grown to love
    that know no sudden curve or hanging meat.
    With make-up blues, with shades of pink and wine,
    we sprinkle, powder, measure, blend, and yet here
    there is no magic like when Mami grinds,
    grates, dashes, pats the candy rice, appears
    more queen than cook with her button-
    nose, her hair as black as an open mouth.
    With this newest knack for exploration
    we see her cheekbones, her dapply pores
    in our own. She jerks the leg that needs rest
    within itself, kisses her princesses.

    Copyright © 2001 by Tanya Ubiles Duarte

    Do You Have Fire? 
    by Tanya Ubiles Duarte 

    I posed at the half-wall with a Newport
    when an older girl, Carmen, arrived at
    the bottom of the hill wearing a walk-
    man, head shaking like a maraca or
    a guiro. I made sure to hold it not
    like the girls with their sissy u’s or v’s,
    I held it as a joint and I’d release
    clouds through a slice of my mouth till she caught
    me by surprise and asked, “tienes fuego?”
    Holding my matches, she asked, “you inhale?”
    She took a drag, sucking breath through her made-
    up mouth, watching my next move, which was pull
    the smoke in with so much air I blow up
    the room inside like a big, black house.

    Copyright © 2001 by Tanya Ubiles Duarte

    by Tanya Ubiles Duarte 

    They say that when Ramón Tovar makes love
    you go to hell for having seen that much 
    of yourself in an instant, that you have
    it spelled out, then lose allhe’s like a witch. 
    Though I have seen his father’s eyes sunk
    against his purpley skin, his tongue shoot 
    out a pumping heart, stood while his mom rung
    the bell of a boarded house and cooed
    something, I never knew his magic.
    I kissed him, years ago, spin the bottle,
    felt charged but by what? I only wished
    for spells while Ana’d been straddling
    him since sixth grade. Something must’ve happened 
    in my dreams because I know this end well.

    Copyright © 2001 by Tanya Ubiles Duarte

    The Doubles 
    by Tanya Ubiles Duarte 

    In the States we have a house on a hill
    like Cusa’s in PR. Cars can’t climb it.
    Our visitshe yawned by the windowsill,
    our lost luggage dragged by men who hated
    their jobs, the land-ladder up, but Mami
    wouldn’t back down. When night fell she ate
    Cusa’s beans and liked them. I knew we
    were in troubleno one cooks better, “States
    or no States,” so for the next few nights
    they both made the most awful beans.
    We ate them with the face my Mami makes
    at my schoolmates and friends in our own mean
    streets“These are the people cause trouble,”
    when talking of her own, her doubles.

    Copyright © 2001 by Tanya Ubiles Duarte

    Chuleta Lips 
    by Tanya Ubiles Duarte 

    Marta’s got chuleta lips, I don’t care
    what anyone saysyou could defend her
    but no excusing or mistaking stare
    could flatten, shrink, or thin them. Remember:
    I know well the way they start at the teeth
    as if they grew right from them, the way she
    sort of tucks them and only half-smiles with 
    us when we flap our jaws and clap our heels.
    She’s the only one of us with hazel 
    eyes, for my family as good as gold.
    Then she has to dye her hair caramel
    to seem even more special, but to know
    her lips is to risk they’ll leave you empty.
    Marta’s got chuleta lips like me.

    Copyright © 2001 by Tanya Ubiles Duarte

    To One Elizabeth, Alive and Unconvinced, 
    with Apologies to One More Famous 
    and Long Since Deceased
    by William Ruleman

    Why do I love thee? Oh yes, I could sit and count 
    the reasons, but . . . what good would reasons do? 
    For optics tells us why a sky is blue, 
    and climbers, why they risk their lives to mount 
    Everest’s perilous crest, hydraulics, why a fount 
    insists; yet who’s assured that “crystal clue”
    to why the powers-that-be have thought to endue 
    us with the need to provide a rational account 
    of all of our own, and the elements’ acts? So ask 
    me not to explain my love for you, my love. 
    “Because it’s there,” ill explains the climbers’quest. 
    The fount can hardly say why it spurns the flask,
    nor optics why the snow in your face will turn mauve 
    (I hope) when I say: “With you I simply feel blessed.”

    Copyright © 2001 by William Ruleman

    Petrarchan on Women in Love 
    by William Ruleman

    Attempting a sonnet on Lawrence: a contradiction 
    for sure. And yet, I feel a need for restraint 
    after all that wayward passion and complaint. 
    Unleashed emotion as seldom before in fiction 
    or maybe since, Victorian restriction 
    excited nervously, to make some faint 
    and others die. Though Freud’s the patron saint 
    for all of this, it’s still a mystic depiction
    of high Romantic unfulfilled desire
    like Keats’s panting “more happy, happy love”
    but not content, like Keats, to lack possession 
    of the loved one: instead, the endless, teasing fire 
    of yearning to be below, beyond, above
    anywhere but here, with this dark and hellish obsession.

    Copyright © 2001 by William Ruleman

    A Sonnet for Richard 
    by Minnie C. Bindas 

    As sunlight quivered and hurdled
    the clouds, buds exploded at dawn.
    “Hear ‘tu-who’ out of the dark,
    as owls leave for the night.”And as
    worsening sea wrack sprawled and
    choked the gurgling brook, the
    sunlight on the water spritzed red in
    ripples of speechless rhymes resounding
    like Handel’s calling “Glo-ri-a.”
    In the mottled water, a clutch of ducks
    sailed on a practice run. “Richard, listen,
    Hear, all around you, poetic meanings.
               Sonnets slit through rocks and roots
               Nurturing straight to the heart.”

    Copyright © 2001 by Minnie C. Bindas