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Conversation with a friend today brought to mind an Italian Sonnet I wrote for ‘Forms of Poetry,’ a class taught by the luminous and charmingly irreverent Bill Knott back in my time at Emerson College.

Ask me today what distinguishes an Italian Sonnet from an English or Contemporary, and I couldn’t begin to tell you. Similarly, I’m not 100% sure why some words in the poem are bolded, other than it has to do with willfully breaking the rules related to pentameter.

I’m not much of a poet. To my memory, that was my reasoning for enrolling in this class (and by enrolling, I mean taking my poetry-phobic self by the figurative collar and giving myself a good shake) that I count among my favorites and most influential. Though I remain, not much of a poet, I do love the sonnet.

Enough dylanizing, as they used to say in my high school writing classes.

Walking Boston/Eyes Shut
(1998)

See my mistake? I leapt to learn this town
Inside and out but now I know so well
(too well) the streets, the smells, the way brick walls
can soak in sound like snow, and have you found
my error? How I spend my time withdrawn,
how I trek the streets alone until
my thoughts run dry and I give up and stroll
with my eyes shut to pass the time. I’ve known

All along my mistake, my faulty thinking.
I thought this Boston winking down at me
Was magic. But perhaps I put the splendor
There? Maybe, while I dreamt-walked, it sank in.
When I awoke to cross the street I may
Have lost it and the city let me wonder.

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