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Life Arts    H4'ed 3/23/21

A Six Pack of Sonnets: Tastes Grate, Less Fulfilling

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A Six Pack of Sonnets: Tastes Disgusting, More Filling

by John Kendall Hawkins


I. Is It Something I Thought?

There are places out of control. You'll see.

Where they have gizmos that read "alpha waves,"

and thoughts are confronted, all of them. We

cannot find a Panic Room. They want slaves.

They're beasts with machine brains, who don't listen;

who desecrate humanity and laugh

at language, dark shades that seem to glisten,

loudmouthed wind-up hyenas. They play rough.

They promise pain night and day, and bring it,

sanctioned by a subculture of violence

that salutes another's flag and sing it;

bring death squad dogs to snarl, as by sixth sense.

I have glimpsed the coming days of horror,

the new and improved Frankenstein Fuhrer.


  1. O Murder, Omertà -- Shhh!

You'll know them by their ashen faces worn

loosely like Halloween masks; finger gaps --

not Spock's but think Roy Thinnes. And the scorn

in their eyes mirrored in yours: someone play Taps.

Be careful, a scourge may pop from their pot

at any moment, an alien eye,

sallow smile, talk near-English -- words you thought

you knew (you majored in it!) seem to lie.

My least favorite antenna-ed Martians

make dolls, anatomically incorrects

GI Joe Barbie empty illusions,

hives, algos, white sheet slapped-horse broken necks.

By all rights the UN should be called in;

these Little Big Men rounded up, hauled in.


  1. Susan Sontag Could Limn Between the Rides

Sontag sang of disease as metaphor;

she thought the response to 9/11

overwrought and deeply immature,

and "we" turned on her. Why won't she leaven

her sparks in these days of Willy Loman?

Female, intellectual, lesbian:

She's everything "we" hate in a woman,

quoth the common Patriot Act thespian.

Just as well she never made it to Now --

eyes popping up black cancers everywhere --

out there, in here, seeds sold for an old cow,

and plenty of Jack-in-the-Beanstalk fear.

Word is, consciousness came from a virus;

the brain as hieroglyphic papyrus.


IV. The Thaw Is On

All the old bugaboos are rising up --

me-Thane vulcan mists from some monkey field,

Dark Age parasites, old fascists who wield

noxious fumes, ghosts who raise an empty cup

to full moons that look like them, five o'clock

shadows worn like eclipses. Strike a match.

Lecherous machiavells -- think Old Scratch --

like some '80s cinema werewolf fog.

Sure, maybe I'm just all bent out of shape

from howling monster voices in my head --

self-loving animals partly dead --

Terminator muscle men on the take.

Yes, viruses are on their way back home,

like The Monkey's Paw, but sans the aplomb.


V. Gods and Machines with Animal Voices

Sometimes we miss the old time classic gods.

But they were obnoxious rapists, buffoons,

Apollo and Dionysian balloons

for philosopher's kids, lightning rods,

gangsters, and haruspicating stooges,

long before they became stuffed loveables

we miss -- deus ex machina baubles

who saved us from our tragic illuges.

Now, God's dead, and after we gave him

his machine-gun St.Valentine's Day send-off,

He's not coming back to this hood soon. Doff

your cap and RIP. Hail to baal fascism!

"Nietzsche was here" -- scratched on a toilet wall.

Damn, there's no comfort paper in the stall!

(Article changed on Mar 23, 2021 at 1:27 AM EDT)

(Article changed on Mar 24, 2021 at 6:26 AM EDT)

(Article changed on Mar 24, 2021 at 6:27 AM EDT)

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John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Oceania.

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