Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Planting Time: An Ozarks Spring (A Sonnet)

'Tis Spring, and dogwood days are finally here
When sunlight drips into the shady hollow,
And sweat runs underneath the farmer's collar;
Then, while young rascals fret with mortal fear
That rain will make the sunlight disappear
They try to flee their elders' looks askance
The which they know could snare them with a glance
To digging in the beds. A strange idea!

But though the days of Spring are heavy-laden
With unrewarding, long-abiding toil,
Still children in the streams are gaily wading
And skinny-dipping in the muddy pool.
And who would want, until the lights are fading,
To go a-digging taters in the soil?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Strange Vows (A Sonnet)

To look at you, it seems a cruel waste
That you have almost vowed to live apart
And from my pleas withdrawn a cloistered heart.
And this, not for the sake of staying chaste,
For we both know that you have never placed
Your piety in vessels quite so pure.
Instead, because, you say, love is unsure,
Unwieldy for ambition, full of haste
Impractical for one who seeks to climb
The farther summits of her own success.
How strange is this far lofty hermitage
Where contemplating mammon fills your time
And evanescent things, built to excess
Erect a convent shrine of sacrilege.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Springtime (A Sonnet)

Spring days and summer hearts are all in bloom
As we half-rush to quit our cluttered burrow
Like claustrophobes leaving a narrow room;
Outdoors, we open up the hopeful furrow
To make space for the soon-nutritious seed,
Forcing its way to sunlight through black earth.
It seems that freedom is a vital need
For living things to grow from obscure birth. 
And so, our beds, too seldom plowed with leisure,
Are overgrown, and practicalities
Keep love from ripening to lasting pleasure--
For harvests only grow when we're at ease.
 And in our hearts, which have so long lain fallow,
 We've left the seed of love a place too shallow.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Split Personality (A Sonnet)

Sometimes, for lack of seeing you, I dream
That you do not really exist at all,
And when we text all day, I only seem
To share with you my lofty thoughts and small.
Perhaps to you, the other side of me,
I am just solipsistically confessing--
A fairer double personality
Than I have heard of anyone possessing.
And these strange thoughts prompt me to realize
How such close friendships are so rarely found
That they one's life can better summarize
Than eulogies once he is in the ground.
So this Narcissus never runs away
From Echo's voice, always my strength and stay.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Love's Art (A Sonnet)

If just one touch from you can kindle fire
Within my cooling heart, imagine then
How much a thousand more might stoke desire,
Lit by the phosphorus of skin on skin.
And if your laugh seems like a melody
Blown  by the wind into my waiting ear
Then what a song our sighs of love might be
When joined in chorus for the stars to hear;
And if to represent your silhouette,
A single artist could not meet the task,
Then think how many artists would regret
The charge to paint your figure without mask.
-Such beauty, then, we hold back from the world,
-Till intertwined our passion is unfurled.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dangerous Memories (A Sonnet)

The memories of you still linger on,
A morning after bliss, but sans the joy
Of seeing you. I only wish the dawn
Rose on us both, and I were still the boy
That you could not resist. But I am not
The man-barely a man--who cautiously
With kisses and frightened caresses bought
Some rest from conscience. I ungratefully
Walked out on us, on happiness and love,
 As though someday I could come back to you--
The goddess of my guilt--whom years remove
From hope, and all my later lovers rue.
  But if, though all the world should hinder me,
  You asked, I'd be yours unreservedly.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Fragment from High School (A Sonnet)

The first four lines of this sonnet were written in high school. Unfortunately, I threw away my book of sonnets from back then, and I can't, for the life of me, remember the rest of the poem. So, I attempted to reconstruct the poem's theme and finish what I knew. Here it is:

My lady's bosom rose is midnight black,
Its petals brush her cheek as though a pall
For her were gathered from a dying track
Of roses when the leaves whither and fall;
And I beside her bier pretend to mourn
So without company to keep the rite
Of worshipping my goddess, so much torn
Between being bereaved or acolyte;
And next to this unconsecrated fane,
On whose altar her fairest limbs are laid--
No more pale in death than life--in vain
Are libations of tears for prayers unpaid.
   For only now Persephone's embrace
   Has cast aside my fear to ask her grace.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why I Write Sonnets (A Sonnet)

I don't know how effective that these songs
Will be at their intended end, or whom
Their limping feet will reach; I see no throngs
Clamoring after them; but if the loom
Of my composing helps some young folk burn
With greater passion, I count it a win.
For some enchanted youth, will hardly turn
To notice beauty's arrow, fearing sin;
And there they might be right in part--the part
Of love that offers little hope for us--
For from much lower places than the heart
Are whence come future saints more plenteous.
 But as no saint came from indifference,
 I am a missioner in God's defense.

Can't We Call This Love? (A Sonnet)

My thoughts wander from this to that, from hope
To loneliness without respite, and still
I can't untangle love's unruly rope
And master it to my uncertain will.
So now I start to think, if day and night
My aching flesh and wayward reason find
Their way repeatedly to you, despite
That their inconstancy has made them blind,
Then can't we call this love, and make of it
What joy we have in this brief interval,
When we are not yet angels, celibate
Though caught in raptures far more rational?
  For days without your voice seem like a waste
  Of sunlight, like ripe cherries without taste.

How I would Reform the Arkansas General Assembly

The following is an outline (not in amendment form) of how I would propose reforming the Arkansas General Assembly so that the House of Representatives is elected proportionally. The basic idea is that if 50% of the people voted Republican, 50% of the House would be Republican, and if 20% of the people voted Green, 20% of the House would be Green Party. At the same time, the system I propose allows the party to run local candidates so that local interests are at least represented. The Senate would be elected in much the same manner as today, except that the number seats would be reduced. I also propose that the Lt. Governor, as someone elected by the whole state, have much more power in the Arkansas Senate than he does presently. This would make his position similar to the Lt. Governor position in Texas and balance the power of the Speaker of the House.

I. General Assembly Districts -
The state of Arkansas will be divided into twenty-five General Assembly districts of roughly equal population. These districts will be used for both House and Senate elections.

II. The House of Representatives - 100 Members
  A. Candidates for the House of Representatives must be at least eighteen years old and be nominated by either a party with a registered membership of at least 1/10 of registered voters or else be nominated by a list of candidates petitioned for by at least 1/10 of registered voters, none of whose candidates may be nominated by any other list.
 B. In each General Assembly District, each registered party or independent list shall propose four candidates for the General Assembly.
 C. Electors will cast votes for any four candidates from any of the nominated lists of candidates for their General Assembly district.
 D. The number of seats apportioned to each party or list in the General Assembly shall be equal to the whole percentage of votes received by the candidates nominated by that party or list out of the total number of votes cast. Any remaining seats shall be given to the party or list whose candidates received the highest number of votes. In the case of a tie, the Governor shall determine which party receives the remaining seats.
 E. The seats shall be filled by candidates in order of the number of the votes received, from the greatest number of votes to the least number of votes. Any ties shall be determined by the candidates from the same party or list who have already been seated.
 F. Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected every 2 years and may not serve more four terms in the House of Representatives. 

III. The Senate - 25 Members
 A. Each General Assembly district shall elect one member of the Senate.
 B. Candidates for the Senate must be at least twenty years old and be nominated either by a party with a registered membership of at least 1/5 of registered voters or else be nominated as an independent candidate by at least 1/5 of the registered voters in his/her General Assembly district.
C. In electing Senators, each elector shall have one vote. If any Senator receives a majority of the votes cast, he shall be elected, but if not, a run-off election shall be held between the candidates having the two highest numbers of votes, with the candidate receiving the greatest number of votes being elected. 
 D. Members of the Senate shall be elected for terms of four years, but in the first election held after a re-apportionment, the members shall be divided by lot into two classes as equal as may be, the first of which shall serve a term of two years, after which they shall vacate their seats, and the second which shall serve a term of four years. But when the districts are re-apportioned all seats shall be vacated.
 E. Senators may not run again after having served twenty years in the Senate.  
F. The President of the Senate shall be the Lt. Governor of the State of Arkansas, who shall also appoint all committees and propose the agenda thereof. He may not vote, however, except in the case of a tie. The Lt. Governor shall appoint a Senator as President pro tempore to preside over the Senate in his absence.

III. As it is at present, the General Assembly would be able to override a gubernatorial veto by a majority vote in both houses.