Six Sonnets by Charles Alexander


Spork's Poetry
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Six Sonnets by Charles Alexander


sonnet dream for leslie scalapino

the altitude of dreams has many children
spread round the room with wooden bed
each with the same face, each with the same
hair, each with the same beatitude, each
identical, girls from all parts of the planet
mixed in singular beauty, daughters of
the poet who tells me I "must accept death
of others, — except them, except him. (can't)
is them him also / at 'night any night is can't"
and in the hours before light emerges we all
sleep in the room with wooden bed with
blossoming trees outside, though the flesh
is not asleep ever in its memory of being
free with children in the altitude of dreams


sonnet for kona

unafraid of dark or loss, kidnapping poets
under the orange moon, riding the greyhound
through america's deepest secrets of death
and oil and games of writing one's way
out of comprehension, out of the banal
boulevard of palm trees and closed windows
and untatooed symbols of the ever-green
Christmas gifts between one bodily fluid
and another, saying fuck it all to the wind
and the rain hey ho fuck it all to the milky
way that comes in the asshole and out in
beer-tinged breath of unfathomable nights
hey ho to Lear's ripeness is all hey ho always
ripe in the new Cordelian flood of American tears


sonnet for the harry smith print shop

the night before entering the inky smell and
hand-held metal mesh of unformed lines
of reason and unreason, in the hotel room
under cloudy skies on the street of Arapaho
morning star I dreamed of fingers holding
stick and setting type along with wood and
bits of sawdust as if the remnants of trees
and the elements of words were helping
to put the world together again, and though
god knows it needs such re-forming I do
not think I am up to the task of swallowing
air and breathing fire into the fault lines
of our misunderstanding, I can only hope
the next word breaks the cloud into rain


sonnet for david jones's cup

the grail of desire leads to the European
chalk line of history's unforgiving hand
in the dim light of Welsh morning on
the edge of Anglesey, where Llyr
and Arthur move beneath the red grouse
hills and one single vision of a cup
forms all of human history into a story
of makers, mind making time lines
through shell-shocked war and love's
kiss of betrothed swim in a mix of history's
real myth and myth's real time and our
eternal grasp of water through windows
where groping syntax shapes and discerns
the child in the bread, gifted under the hill


sonnet for linh dinh

your pecuniary complexity would piss me off
if there wasn't so much flowing blood
and rotting food in your poems and if
the war had not settled there for good –
which war? you ask, surely not the one
for love, but the other, for money, because love
is now rolled up with dollar bills and slim change
and unfeathery dead oil slicked birds on the shore
of our discontent; no one we know trusts
money these dismal days; you trust gold
and even bullion will not save us from
our oily selves in the brown-orange sunset
of America, even the spread-winged greyhound
won't convert golden showers into eternal salvation


appasionata / if music . . . play on

Cynthia concerto moon glissando who writes
Buenos dias in mad dash of ink to wood
or walk on seaside beach in gray air
from room to room and painting to printed
paper; any day of the week I drink
to your largo, your arpeggio, your crescendo
of fresh-limbed satisfactions under orange moons
re-strung from the red sofa and blue pool
of imprisoned eyes; it is you I remember each
day awake again in the yellow-sunned city
soon far from two slip-footed girls walking
nearer sea and rising sun; we set together
and lift heads adagio in the air of scattered notes
defining the next pastorale of our entanglement

This is Jake Levine writing a bio for Charles Alexander, who is the director of CHAX press, on the board of directors at POG, is the author and curator of too many things to list and name in such a small space. He facilitates the creation of literature and also literacy in both small and large spaces and places. He has been described to me as both a "gangster" but also a "Goliath". I'll leave that open ended. He's married to Cynthia Miller who is also a "gangster" and a fabulous painter. His poems breathe fire / emit air / breathe air and hurl stones. He thinks of his poetic ancestry as people he can dance with. I think of them as people I must kill. This is why Charles is a past/present/future diplomat as poet / critic / teacher / bookmaker. I admire him much.