September 30: Mental Health Day

Dear Place of Work, Ms. Weber won’t be in
Today, tomorrow, possibly all week.
She suffers from a lack of keratin
Upon her toes, and maladies unique:

I diagnose presymptomatic states
Pertaining to her oddly sound psychosis:
Ideopathic syndrome, which dictates
A somewhat unpredictable prognosis.

And therefore, I prescribe a regimen
Of neuroactive exercises, such
As media that features certain men
Exemplifying attributes nonesuch.

I recommend the treatment start forthwith.
Respectfully, Sincerely, Dr. Smith

September 29: Cosmetic Changes

Some mornings, through lush breeze and sunlit air,
Demand to be seen through unpainted eyes,
Since wind feels freshest kissing skin that’s bare,
Suppressed by artifice and wan disguise.

What does the morning care if you’ve a spot
Or if the skin beneath your eyes is dark?
When such a day’s beginning to be wrought,
One must be open to receive the spark,

But when I try to greet the world barefaced
It looks away from my unvarnished flaws,
As if it seeks my substance to erase,
Implying that from sight I should withdraw.

But then a flicker from a treasured friend
Rekindles that with which the dark contends.

September 28: Outreach

I sang a concert with a hundred friends,
A new conductor and a brand-new season,
With music that collectively transcends
Chronology, geography, and reason.

Two times my eyes welled up, and twice they spilled,
From Purcell’s sorrow and from Bernstein’s joy
Love and philosophy were thus fulfilled,
In such a way that time cannot destroy.

But though all who have heard it will recall,
Its greatest enemy’s indifference
Of those who do not have the wherewithal
To actively combat their ignorance.

I only hope that hearing helps them see
We all can own a timeless melody.

September 27: Headcanon

When reading Chekhov with an actor’s eye
And finding written: “Traraboomdeyay,”
I wondered what Chebutykin meant thereby,
And what, if anything, he wished to say.

And just what Ronald Hingley heard him sing
When he transcribed the singing from the Russian.
Was he deliberately altering
The onomatopoeia for discussion

To draw a parallel between the man
Who loved the sisters’ mother and a duke
Who only loved the chase and crooked plans
That Verdi sought to tacitly rebuke?

So when the doctor sings within the play,
I always hear La Dona e Mobile.

September 26: A Roll of the Dice

Four cups, five dice a-rattle, then upend
The cup and sneak a glance at what’s beneath,
And hope those private faces don’t portend
An easy-to-guess lying through one’s teeth.

For bidding on the pips you don’t possess
Is risky, but an awful lot of fun,
For when the bid is called, whether success
Or failure is achieved relies on one

To play the odds, for one’s long-standing friends
Make every gamble seem beyond the pale,
So utilizing some unusual ends
Means hoping that with fortune you’ll prevail.

The dwindling cubes too often will conspire
With those who truly wish to call you liar.

September 25: Acquainted With the Sunrise

Encountering a snapshot of the past,
Can generate nostalgic introspection,
As one finds things that render one aghast
But also joy in those small imperfections,

Because it means that it was truly real.
As you grow chronologically apart,
From your work, objectivity anneals
Reproachful mind and then forgiving heart.

It’s sad that it’s so easy to believe
Your finest efforts are now far behind,
Despite the little wobbles you perceive,
You feel that from your greatness you’re confined.

Despite unpleasant musings, persevere-
In six months, think how wise this will appear!

September 24: She For He For She

A he for she means that the he’s for me,
With masculinity, a he can be
In favor of a she’s equality
And I’m for him who is a he for she,

A he for she seemes elementary
Since codifying feminimity,
Will limit every he as well as she.
In patriarchy violent cruelty

Can visit any she for being she,
But weakness is its own rigidity,
For when he stands with she unsilently,
It shatters tacit solidarity.

Henceforth a she for hes for she I’ll be,
In gratitude for spoken empathy.

Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson introduces #HeForShe at the United Nations.

September 23: Testing

As one who rides the bus to work each day,
I’m quite familiar with that type of rider
Whose seat-bound bag is often in my way,
And whose splayed knees expand his quarter wider.

I’m hardly shy- I meet his eyes and smile.
He acts surprised to find I wish to sit,
Oblivious to the crowd packed in the aisle
Until I prompted him to notice it.

To walk like royalty, said Charlize Theron,
You gird your loins and rotate back the shoulders,
Extend your neck as graceful as a heron,
Envision MURDER- your face will seem bolder.

I did and fixed my eye on one young man.
He said “Excuse me” just before he ran.

September 22: In Which I Am Self-Deprecating and Meta

When so much happens in a single day
That fourteen lines cannot contain it all,
I must cut ruthlessly joy and dismay
That seems on recollection more banal

Than simple pleasures, grumpy anecdotes,
From which my pithy aphorisms spring;
Fun to extemporaneously quote,
Thus needful, therefore to those words I cling.

But my desire to tell things as they are,
Then wars with my desire to elevate
The daily grind, and so I raise the bar,
And then repine ambition far too late,

And such pretension truly is a yawn,-it’s
Not like we really need sonnets on sonnets.

September 21: Day of Rest

Can one be said to truly be alone
When one is being laid upon by dogs
Until they bark at passers-by unknown
And neighbors out for their respective jogs?

No. Solitude’s the proper name for this,
Now liberated from all obligation,
Except for those I’ve chosen. I don’t miss
The trappings of external expectation,

But bliss and boredom cannot coexist,
And guilt that I relax while others work
Cannot be expeditiously dismissed
Without the niggling fear that I’m a jerk.

I justify indulging selfish wishes
By rolling up my sleeves and doing dishes.