I don’t do occasional verse

for Dave Todd

I don’t do occasional verse;
iambic pentameter is not my time:
the ends don’t rhyme, the octave’s nine,
the sestet’s a shagged-out couch with a spring
sprung out like spirochete cramps and rhythms
of a centipede on acid; if you can love
then you can dance and wear patchwork
to the ball while I grovel at your feet I am sorry
in a hurry for my big stress dis on you.

Now, unless I can get myself out of this mess
I’ll be off like proverbial dresses at dawn,
too drunk to speak and too high to sleep,
there is nothing you can do that’ll make me feel cheap
‘cept writing a sonnet, [coz that’s…].

The closing phrase, which I often leave out in reading – it works OK with a fractured last line and no rhyme – is from Hunter S. Thompson’s Hells Angels (1966). An Angel, sat at a bar, tries to explain to Hunter why you don’t ride anything but Harleys. He says, “Riding a Honda is like fucking sheep. It’s fun and it feels good, but you wouldn’t want anyone catching you at it.” I sort of feel that way about sonnets. Form is fun, but…