Not only have I taken the challenge of writing thirty poems in thirty days, but I've also added to the challenge by writing two heroic crowns of sonnets, the first heroic crown (entitled "Janus Words) having been finished yesterday. Now I'm starting on the second crown, which I'm entitling "The Warsaw Sonnets." They are for my wife's family in Warsaw, Indiana, and are taken from prompts of local/folk words that come from that corner of the country. Please look to those poems and other poets' work here.
I'm enclosing the second sonnet cycle below. Please DONATE TO TUPELO PRESS if you enjoyed these poems. Your donation does not come back to me: this is a volunteer challenge, and a fun one at that. Instead, your donation goes to help Tupelo Press continue to publish outstanding poetry, including (for instance) Dan Beachy-Quick's marvelous poem "This Nest Swift Passerine," which I highly recommend you buy.
When you DONATE, please remember to write in the "Honors" field my name, so Tupelo knows you are recognizing my work as the reason you are donating. Whether you donate $1 or $50, please enjoy the poems posted below. At the end of the month I'll post the next sonnet cycle. Thanks!
T H E W A R S A W C R O W N
Copyright © J. Kirk Maynard 2013
Part of the
Press 30/30 Project. Tupelo
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II. i. [will it play in
Here is a crossroad set, a circumstance :
thin line of was to what ifs is given
a harder back, stiff legs country-driven
or brought to ear in mean sustenance
and discount sales. The smooth open bay
of moon in pasture on a thin grey road,
sharpened silence written only as owed,
the question to ask this crown : will it play
Here are my short words Peoria
to find a journey made at left or right
turns : a poem to craft a country lane.
Within the dust and ears of corn and soy,
a whispered tongue invisible, and cloys
the lyric pastoral, the mouthing grain.
II. ii. [corny]
The lyric, pastoral, the mouthing grain
jumps the crown twice in unfruit-filled relish.
The first is vegetable. What’s nourished gains
in teeth kernaling through the buttered flesh,
sound-smack the muggy air of summer once
removed. The second is internal rhyme,
to stories played in pastor’s abundance,
for how to make holy water? In time
you boil the hell out of it. Corny
is what it’s called when it sticks to your teeth,
when you gum past the prayers a stormy
mind set and settling still the rind beneath.
The well-spoke spatter of flesh and word
makes her round-up cozy in winter whorled.
II. iii. [cherry bounce]
Makes her round up cozy in winter whorled,
a cough corrupting the once silent house
through din of den T.V. Who needs a dose
of Grandma’s medicine, of bourbon curled
in fruit and kept in the kitchen’s cabinet.
She calls it cherry bounce. It’s ages old,
smelling of gas light and a country told
to fend for itself, be compassionate,
and build your home. The jar in quiet rest
is briefly pulled to rise and warm the chest
within, but more is wrought, a circumstance :
a memory of warmth and care and love
cupped in temperance, a sort of sin of
utility, a sneaking decadence.
II. iv. [farmer’s turn]
Utility a sneaking decadence,
there’s the straight line of road and here’s the turn,
here’s where the speed of fifty-five adjourns
unless the farmer may through excellence
he to the opposing lane, drives himself.
We are free to carry on at a speed
lifted by a consummate caring creed
of respected manners, of witnessed selves
and approaching windmills. The open road,
sought by opening at the farmer’s turn,
the bleeding broken line’s a farmer’s tool,
and the yellow markings a transit code.
What sense of goodness reigns and generates
a road where traffic all accelerates!
II. v. [whistle pig]
A road where traffic all accelerates,
a land still serene in the dusty air :
hides opossums, hides decorate deer
the space between highways, a venerate
menagerie, even the raccoon stalks
the wood bins snow-side a snuffling gruff,
the foxes and frogs, whistle pig in slough
or creek or to hibernate under rocks.
The air is silent calm, muggy summer,
kids play tag beneath the yellow poplar,
the whistle pig whistles out a warning :
man is in the forest. Come close to dirt,
dig beneath their findings into warm earth.
There they live all giddy in conforming.
II. vi. [Hoosier]
There they live all giddy in conforming
to shadows wrought by crossroad rearings
impulses turned in tune to deer clearings,
The wholesome Rockwell, the roomy warming
up of Hoosier. The old man drove his hog
as far west as Sante Fe and saw
The southwest, as far ground as he could claw.
The blessing first as a Hoosier, he prologued,
was to be one. The second was the getting out.
His mouth's mustache trembles in a split shout
of laughter, nods. Proud to be serene.
If I could live again said he musing,
The only laugh-loud bang I'd set fusing
I'd imprint Hoosier on someplace obscene.
II. vii. [snipe hunting]
I'd imprint Hoosier to someplace obscene,
a chicken ranch, perhaps a coughing up
of caterwauling to stranger's gulling gulps,
the snipe hunting when snipe is just a screen
for me. I’ve been duped to camouflage,
a secret untethered lies in my chest,
cared by false curiosity at best,
at worst a grown man swept in sabotage.
Your love was best for the startling,
for windows unforeseen at first second look,
my first look twice I could not see the trick
of your two eyes hunting for mine halting :
when you said here's a trick I might have took,
the snipe you've sought I've led to lead you quick.
II viii [clink of glass]
The snipe you've sought I've led to lead you quick
To counterment, cold and calculated
The bride and groom sit in first vows sated,
Till clink of glass rings and lips must kiss
Or the ringing perpetuates. We were wedded
In vibration, the audience
To sound in certain ticklish ambiance
And trapped by tapping knives in embedded
Rhythms of love. O Jessica, I hear
Each ring as I awake and find you near
The noise an infectious sound of devotion :
You are made of champagne flutes awry,
A dear dear sound I set my love by,
To love the glass that caught the promotion.
II. ix. [Restart your Engines]
To love the glass that caught promotion,
a sure bet, an open commotion,
the less for land open and brightly lit,
Midwest to Pacific now I sit
and dream of better poems than this.
The hours we spent just now to this,
a sitting after long days in
means my mind is wiped of cadence or rhyme.
Let’s follow the
slogan : Indiana
to restart your engines! and get going
tomorrow, with a better poem than this.
For now I’ll spend the last hours of day
with you rather than writing away
at rhythms when thrown forever miss!
II. x. [outer road]
At rhythms when thrown forever miss
main stream meandering or they seem posed,
in the outer road I drive to transpose
the main from mean, what speeding signs dismiss
and carefully select the ground to topic on.
Was it that you too, shook to see up close
what stranger ways a gravelling road shows?
Our mutual winding was toward us drawn?
I think we’ll find in frontage roads a home
to stand nearby the main for those that roam :
the picture window dream without the ritz.
We need it now more than before, what seems
a stranger’s road opens in sun caught sheens,
toward periphery, toward forgotten glitz.
II. xi. [barn burner]
Toward periphery. Toward forgotten glitz,
what is earliest love but a real barn burner?
From the compass, two opposing points
one city rhyme, one country song, sterner
than can agree the continent divides.
We reel between the two, a love of long
distance and the close proximic street slides.
This is what’s keeping us a heavy run :
the days we drive past corn and close cropped fields,
the nights we heel-clap the concrete even,
in better burgs, empty mill towns, crop yields,
yields sway to stay being alive, breathing.
Jess, if we ever from this hot love hiss,
let’s remember the continent’s a kiss.
II. xii. [knee high by the fourth of July]
Let’s remember the continental kissed
interior, and drives itself up high :
summer’s sky county
distant dealing in constant crushing, this
requires literal measurements made.
What miles when and readings taken in,
the figure-face, supposéd how and when
distorts the sensibilities and aids
tomfoolery. One conjecture is owned,
for farmers often may to one intone
knee high by the fourth of July.
How to measure knee? How to measure corn?
This thumbed rule is one that is not scorned,
sights to guide all literal others by.
II. xiii. [angel]
Sights to guide all literal others by
resemblance struck, by pure lightning chance:
the hobos say an angel hovers a glance
without recompense asked, nor neither sighs
nor feels disgraced. Sometimes I'm silly-spoke,
a glib word said like footsteps on the track,
the lonesome quietude opens : I'm back
to feeling lost until you so invoke
the angel uncaring, allowed by sight
to stop my dumb phrasings in shallow light
of homeless verbs, of ill-begotten I's :
seeking shelter in your moral compass,
my words aren't drunk that never can cut less
than true, your voice is home and I comply.
II. xiv. [smelling the barn]
Then, true, your voice is home and I comply,
then home is the sweet stable smell snifted,
of smelling the barn, of low heads lifted :
I am almost. Hard to see night's light by,
but by and by the surety sweet to say
these sonnets were honestly written here,
mincing words verbs subject I him you her,
day to day, and cheaply did rhyme give way
or tired I stopped taking care of it.
Smelling the barn, I've taken to poor wit,
(anyways written an hour or less
of deadlined I, and deadlined my poor mind,
soon I'll be more blunt, leave sonnets behind,
each day a declaring of home's own bliss.
II. xv. [
Here is a crossroad set : a circumstance,
the lyric, pastoral, the mouthing grain,
makes her round, cozy in winter’s whorled
utility, a sneaking decadence :
there we live all giddy in conforming
the imprint Hoosier to something obscene,
the snipe you’ve sought I’ve lead to lead you quick,
to love the glass that caught promotion
at rhythms. When thrown forever miss.
Toward periphery, toward forgotten glitz,
let’s remember the continent’s a kiss,
sights to guide all literal others by.
Than your true voice is home and I comply :
each day a declaring of home's own bliss.