A Sonnet in Recession
Some metaphors are too obvious—we all fell off
a stationary bike. My daughters pop bubbles
and we read a book about bears—a canoe crashes off
a waterfall’s chart. The playgrounds are parents pushing
their phones on swings—conversations sink to a chorus of lyrics
lamenting the price of gas. Fortunes lost as fast as blowing out
birthday candles. We forget to be Banksy’s red balloons
instead of shredded paintings. There is no such thing
as a free lunch—not even a squiggly square of ramen noodles
stuffed into a wrinkled brown sack. But they still haven’t found
a way to tax us for our thoughts. The best brains are antifragile—
they’ll patch our cracked AI commodities with molten gold.
What first presents as plunging could be the biggest swing of all.
KHD’s love of poetry first bloomed as a child. She memorized Robert Frost sitting on a tree stump and bathed in Edgar Allan Poe as an adolescent. While studying words at Florida State University, she played with chips and became a professional poker player. She’s passionate about the immense potential NFTs present for poetry, and enjoys helping onboard traditional poets primarily through Twitter (@Katie_Dozier). Her poetry has recently been published by Rattle, Frontier, and The Tickle. She maintains TheNFTPoetryGallery.com as a vehicle for showing the potential of CryptoPoetry.
Sonnet Upon What I Am Not
I am not winged or gilded or graceful
or a decoupaged box of childhood happy.
I hold no keys to heaviest doors,
no maps to caves or graves or pathways.
My invitation to sing long lost,
I am no scaly siren on the cliffs,
luring admirers with hypnotic trills.
No one calls on the white courtesy phone.
My name’s nowhere in parade confetti.
No chariot stops to offer a ride.
I tell myself I’m not a ghost or smoke
alone in woods or traffic, trapped by words.
I almost write I am no one’s mother
but for another thing I am not: liar.
Rita Quillen’s new novel WAYLAND, a sequel to HIDING EZRA, published by Iris Press in 2019, is the March 2022 Bonus Book of the Month for the International Pulpwood Queens and Timber Kings Book Club. She also has a new and selected poetry collection, SOME NOTES YOU HOLD, (Madville Press) published in 2020.. Her full-length poetry collection, The Mad Farmer’s Wife, published in 2016 by Texas Review Press, a Texas A & M affiliation, was a finalist for the Weatherford Award in Appalachian Literature from Berea College. One of six semi- finalists for the 2012-14 Poet Laureate of Virginia, she has received three Pushcart nominations, and a Best of the Net nomination in 2012. She lives, farms, writes songs, and takes photographs at Early Autumn Farm in southwestern Virginia. Read more at www.ritasimsquillen.com.
I’m there that day you send the last away
with nipping needle teeth, she may outgrow
one day — the half-hearted sobriquet
uttered as you latch her last leash then go.
She was the favored younger child
who never returned, I know, because she growled
and made you bleed, transmogrified wild
by desperate need. She recedes, uncowed,
from your conditioned world where I live on,
the educated girl determined, even
when disciplined, that my denouement
will find me licking at your feet again
while you ponder whether you have grown cruel.
It is a word unlearned at obedience school.
Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist. Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of 21 books of poetry including Crow Carriage (Sweet Tooth Story Books) and The Stakes (Really Serious Literature) and the editor of seven anthologies. She is the founder of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal and co-founder of Performance Anxiety, an online poetry reading series. Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie) and her website kristingarth.com
She says her mother named
her Sonnet because she loved
Edna St. Vincent Millay and read
her Love is Not Blind in the crib.
In her Mickey Mouse voice,
she tells us she has rescued
a newborn wren that needs
to be fed every 30 minutes.
Left it in a cage in her two-bedroom
apartment along with the bulldog,
Border Collie, two Siamese
and five four-week-old kittens.
Baby birds are fragile. Hope it survives
while I’m at work for three hours,
she says smiling as Shirley Temple
curls fall on her forehead.
Cool, she says as I tell her again
to please hang up my mother-
in-law’s silk blouses and slacks
and brand new birthday dress
and not wad them up and throw
them in the hamper like wrappers
and to wring out the wet towels
and hang them up to dry.
We are watching videos
when my mother-in-law
rings the bell rigged to her recliner.
As we rush in, she says, Wake her up!
Sonnet is sleeping soundly
and surprised when we shake
her shoulders and like a Stepford
Wife, she stands up and grins
as she gently lifts my mother-
in-law from the recliner
and wheels her to the hospital
bed and tucks her in.
Sharon Waller Knutson is a retired journalist who lives in a wildlife habitat in Arizona. She has published several poetry books including My Grandmother Smokes Chesterfields by Flutter Press and What the Clairvoyant Doesn’t Say and Trials & Tribulations of Sports Bob forthcoming from Kelsay Books. Her work has also appeared in various journals most recently in Mad Swirl, Trouvaille Review, Muddy River Review, Verse-Virtual, Your Daily Poem, Red Eft Review and The Song Is…