I have two new sonnets up at the excellent new journal Pulsebeat. The first, “Devil’s Blues”, is an appreciation of Cleveland musician Peter Laughner. Peter was a central figure in the Cleveland underground scene of the 1970s, and was a founding member of both Rocket from the Tombs and Pere Ubu. He died in 1977 from complications related to drugs and alcohol. He was 24. The poem is set on the last night of Peter’s life. He was alone in his bedroom, drinking and recording songs he loved. (So I have understood the scene to be.) The song which took the top of my head off when I first heard it is his version of Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil Blues”. I first learned of Peter from Clinton Heylin’s 1994 book From the Velvets to the Voidoids, his history of the evolution of punk music. Peter’s music was very hard to find until 1994’s Take the Guitar Player for a Ride double album (Tim/Kerr). In 2019, Smog Veil unveiled a long-awaited box set of Peter’s recordings, finally giving him his due. I have been listening to Peter’s music since I was in college; this sonnet is my small contribution to his legend.
The other poem, “Mirror Mirror”, is a mirror sonnet. As Borges wrote in his story “Tlön, Uqbar and Orbis Tertius”, there is something monstrous about mirrors. I’ll leave it at that.
Thanks to editor David Stephenson at Pulsebeat for publishing these!