Douglas Cole: Three Sonnets

Double Bluff

White driftwood is a sand-blasted Egypt
and the tides are ideas for a new city
based on pyramids music and anxiety
coming in the first cold knife-blade breeze
that arrives at the leading edge of a black storm
with frothing clouds and lightning flare
with thunder and cabin smoke
fires burning in the dark forest

yet the hawk above knows farther
and step from the brow see from higher
men pulling crab pots out of the water
at dusk and their voices riding the air
as they drink to another day of good luck
saying why would you ever leave?


The Future

They say the world is coming to an end.
There’s even a timeline, but I don’t believe it.
I see more trees sucking up the carbon dioxide.
I see equator people filling up towns in the north.
I see us climbing ladders to the moon.
I see things like dams and cranes shrinking
till they’re no bigger than a thumb
but doing the same jobs they always did.
I see you and me rolling in the darkness,
a spark of light between us we coax into a sun,
and I see radiant cities, glorious forests,
festive cruise ships embarking to far star resorts,
where we still shoot it out over love,
and where we let it all go for love.


Cosmo Theater

His special thanks went longer than the movie.
I left the sound stage, lost in the major arcana.
The moon over the ocean is not the finger,
and I swear I’ve seen that face before.
After hymns and worms we drift through the sets.
It’s not the sort of light you get from a sun or star.
But the make-up artist is amazing—you can be anyone!
You’ve heard of the calm before the storm?

He gathers, he grips, he shoots, he scores:
a dreary in-flight movie with some flagella thing in the aisle.
The waves are the same with different names,
gossamer curtains and a breeze through the window.
The director’s rewriting the Jamaican sunset,
so we have all the time in the world.



Douglas Cole has published four collections of poetry: Interstate (Night Ballet Press); Western Dream, (Finishing Line Press), The Dice Throwers, (Liquid Light Press), Bali Poems (Wordtech Press), as well as a novella, Ghost (Blue Cubicle Press). His work is in anthologies such as Best New Writing (Hopewell Publications), Bully Anthology (Kentucky Stories Press) and Coming Off The Line (Mainstreet Rag Publishing). His work also appears or is forthcoming in journals such as The Chicago Quarterly Review, Owen Wister Review, Iconoclast, Slipstream, Red Rock Review, Wisconsin Review, Two Thirds North, San Pedro River Review, Badlands, Common Ground Review, The Ocean State Review, and Midwest Quarterly. He received the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry; the Best of Poetry Award from Clapboard House; and First Prize in the “Picture Worth 500 Words” from Tattoo Highway. His website is

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