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.