The Long Table Poets

This is a sonnet sequence by some members of the Long Table Poets of Charleston SC: Richard Garcia, Helen Brandenburg, Barbara G. S. Hagerty, Mary Harris, Kit Loney, Susan Meyers, Deborah Scott, Katherine Williams and Joe Zealberg. The sonnets are based on Raymond Queneau's 100,000,000,000,000 Poems. They were written in the manner of Bouts Rimé, except that instead of using the same rhyming words, we used the same rhyming sounds.




The Dog Sonnets



So now the dog barks in trochees
bothering both priest and rabid doe.
So now even trees speak journalese
which inspires a tragic rigmarole,
collapsing and imploding, ill at ease.
My angry mob demands verse comme il faut.
I dip my paddle in the river Congaree
hoping not to see wherefore I go.
The impassioned poet's a polyglot.
That's what made the Hottentots so hot.
Made them hop around, about, and preen.
O Bardo, your solo state doth make mock.
I nominate you bard, lock and stock.
The beginning of the end has been foreseen.


The dog's inclined to bury my valise.
He sniffs canzones with his nose aglow.
And so he smokes reviews in doggerelese:
"So stink these rotting skins of long ago!
I'd rather gnaw and suck apophyses
while biscuits blaze and dogtrot flames lick toes,
while flying Dutchmen skate on zuider zees,
reciting backwards all the cheese they know.
From kennel to the porch is quite a trot
when rhymes want wit and succulent bon mots.
You can, you know, quote Virgil in latrine.
You see, dear writer, poetry's your crock.
Just fill my bowl, and don't tread in our muck.
We all of us are krill to King Baleen."


Pooch, bitch, whelp—my muse is a Bichon Frise.
She has me on a long leash to Paradiso:
fetch images!   shake verses!  bark in trochees!
Ars, ars, aaarf—whatever you command, deario.

Highfalutin', fancy—or beset by evil fleas?
She fleeces me of my mellow yellow jello cello.
I'd gladly drop her for a less-demanding Pekingese.
Let me be the lap dog of a Lhasa Apso.

Still, she causes words to flow, as water from a spigot.
On delicious rills and riffs, I pig out, pig out, pig out.
Overfed and overstuffed—a bit obscene.

In the end,  what's a case of writer's block
but another shoe to chew on, or dirty sock?
I hold my dogged muse in high esteem.


In spite of her habit to lick herself to preen
She does not howl at what she does not know
But holds her nose up high in wont to keen
And will not stop for harsh rebukes of "No!"

I cannot see what makes her speak in trochees
Calls her from some past of fire and snow
A haunting sound that might just pass for singing
The rhythm and the rhyme is where she goes

At first I thought her secret in her plot
That she knew more than I, but she did not
Of what might come unbidden and unseen

Her sonnets make me cry for what she's got
The claw and fur of words almost forgot
The tongues of blinded lovers in her teeth


The tongues of blinded lovers in her teeth,
And dental floss to loose empassioned crow.
Takalia try to dawg you, pretty sleaze,
You go and dawg her back, kick hard and low.

Thus doggie-flavored verse slinks to bêtise—
This snarl is just a trochee come to woe.
Such tangled knot! The phrases dance strip-tease,
Shed syllables, let oohs and la-las go.

Sing bow-wow, meow, shimmy slide the squat.
The tendrils tip-toe in one ear, distraught.
Dog-paddle to the moon inside your bean

Where languages and lovers interlock
And sentences, like threads, entwine baroque
And spiral, spilling veils of emerald green.


This writing, what to call it but disease?
Its food (that twin it mimics) escargot—
something housed, then loosed by slow degrees,
down the gut—say, raw or cooked so-so.

When eyes are closed, beware apophyses
intending ill like fog that hides the crow—
or longleaf pines of them in congeries
(those dark, evasive syllables)—how so?

Call your muse a slut, a polyglot.
Her breath may reek of garlic and shallot.
Worse—imagination fails, she’s mean.

Her moods (you wish you had a weathercock)
defy the tide, the moon, your boat, the dock.
Perhaps a tooth that’s sore, abscessed baleen?


Bitch Thalia, amuse me! Me unfreeze!
I crave laughter, not to play Romeo.
Make it not my fair line you dare displease
for I will sorrow you, snip off a toe,
bait my hook, cast it in the blue, blue sea,
reel in a cappella, sweet afterglow.
You purport a near-perfect pedigree,
yet teeter mere words from the old heave-ho.
Then, in your verbosity, out you trot
spot-on rhyme in apricot, bergamot.
Deep in my dreams, you ruffle what's obscene,
tell what use I might make of poppycock,
point out the novel in my heap of schlock,
align tails to heads like shiny sardines.


In tail-to-head alignment like sardines
our duties circumnavigate the clock.
From wake to sleep they seem to interlock,
no trait for madness sleeping in our genes.
Then Poetry rides up in a limousine:
sparks fly as the door opens.  In her frock
of goldfish scales, her aquiline baroque
tiara, she surveys our sterile scene.
Away! she whispers, dying by degrees
with every second spent in such a low
milieu. Away! and in her apricot
mantilla, clears the street of all sottise
but that of dreams. Now, art and madness, flow!
she says. Clocks? Duties? Absolutely not!


I'm asked to pen this sonnet by this eve.
I hope to rend some brilliant lines not schlock.
Time running out I beg for reprieve
while poets never rest their writer's block.
Let Muses, hounds, and passion linger on,
another year of verse must come to pass.
Let youth, prosperity, and peace reign long--
no future wars, no diaspora's toss.
So much for prayer. Intolerance I chide:
those questions of Iran's death mushroom clouds,
Islamic bombers flaunting suicide.
Our science loosens bigger threats, enshrouds
blank thankless engineers of human genes.
Beginning? End? What's true lies unforseen.


The beginning of the end has been foreseen.
I nominate you laureates, lock and stock.
O Bard Owl, your solo state does make mock.
Makes empty words hop about and preen.
That's what made the Hottentots so hot.
The impassioned poet's a polyglot.
Hoping not to see wherefore I go,
I dip my paddle in the river Congaree.
My angry mob demands verse comme il faut,
collapsing and imploding, ill at ease—
which inspires a tragic rigmarole.
So now even trees speak journalese,
bothering both priest and rapid doe.
So now the dog does bark in trochees.



The Long Table Poets of Charleston SC include Richard Garcia, Helen Brandenburg, Barbara G. S. Hagerty, Mary Harris, Kit Loney, Susan Meyers, Deborah Scott, Katherine Williams and Joe Zealberg. (Sonnet authors are in this order, finished with a mirror-image of the first poem by Richard Garcia.)