Happy Hour Sonnet

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

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.