Happy Hour Sonnet

Wednesday, 3 December 2003

My whisky sour leaves rings on the old bar’s
oak. Absentminded in this dusty place
two lo­cals ar­gue over noth­ing. Wars
of log­ic drown in weak beer with­out grace

or urg­ing. Drunken mus­cle in­sults — brace
for im­pact
 — bare­fist­ed op­po­nents glare.
The leer­ing bar­tender will get a taste
an­oth­er run­away led to his lair.

She fol­lows, dead al­ready, be­hind where
old Sloe Gin pumps lewd off-time play­er tunes.
An ice cube set­tles in my glass. I stare
at the rings, fad­ed in­ter­sect­ing new.

This song and this tale has more than two sides,
men blind to this form rad­i­cal di­vides.

Sonnet for Kasparov

Thursday, 31 July 2003

As day­break wakes the grimy check­ered street,
fail­ure emerges — as a man­ic Czar
of Russia sham­bles past the Bishop’s Bar -
with an automaton’s un­gain­ly feet.

The crum­bling curb­side has be­come his seat
of pow­er. Routed in a white queen’s war,
he lost his forces fight­ing from afar
and endgame, great rooks swarmed to his de­feat.

Around him cas­tled high­er by the state,
pawns have been elec­tron­i­cal­ly hewn,
liv­ing like kings with­out their clothes. His knight–

hood­ed by rank and file, he can­not fight
them down be­low. Evicted by Deep Blue’s
chil­dren he lost a gam­bit with his fate.