A poetry apprenticeships must include the writing of a sonnet. Here is my sonnet

Plus, gingatao laid his sonnet on the table and I thought I’d raise him a sonnet.


Ruby Valley

(A red-light district known as The Valley)

Dark wine-red eyes hypnotise and draw us in.

The rock star strut and shine with noise, entices

us to come now and stay and play within.

Feel the cutting edge, hard rock vibe, devices.


A succulent fare lures  those who travel

to the valley. Dragons with ruby eyes will wait.

Tough, base, reptilian beasts with breath to dazzle

and singe. Razor-sharp claws elate and deflate.


But  desolation swallows ecstasy

when the party slows down  – and stays too long.

Truth waits in the gutter, exposing debris,

cold rock bottom and used sharps to sit on.


His hidden knife stabs John Doe’s thin white skin

and rank, dark guts, spill out – the two worlds spin.

16 thoughts on “Ruby Valley

  1. What it must be to raise someone a sonnet. Here’s a card game I could only play by bluffing. And not even a poker face to pull that off. However, I can delight in dark wine eyes that hypnotise; I can read it now and maybe draw it later somewhere with an “edge,” every draughtsman knows something about those.

    Or, I could be an audience. Powerful story well crafted in vowels and consonants and measures.

    1. I found it very difficult to write this sonnet – the technical restrictions which are placed on you and the emotional topic. The multiple metaphors and the movement through the story. There were many drafts and this will probably end up being another draft. Thanks for your comments Aletha.

    1. Some love the valley and other hate it – it depends which entry you take. There is the shiny superficial surface full of restaurants and bars (the city as a rock star),there is the China Town with festivals, and there is the seedy underbelly where people don’t always survive. I’m sure you have the equivalent where you live Brad (I think I read a poem of yours like that).

  2. Wow, such a powerful sonnet and feel-it-in-your-gut imagery. You did an excellent job capturing the duality, and I liked your use of the color red in multiple contexts and guises.

    1. Thanks Thomma Lyn. I almost feel like I have to explain this poem – not sure if people get it. I hadn’t realised that I had used a type of red (dark guts) in the final couplet – it’s weird how you do things in poetry without realising you’ve done it – I love how that happens. I think as a society we are affected by the underbelly stuff even if we don’t think it touches us – the two worlds intermingle (sometimes in the face but other times in a subconscious but still powerful way).

  3. ah yes The Valley…mine was the epoch of Lucky’s and The Beat…both gone now, I believe…have you read Janette Turner Hospital, “The Last Magician”? You MUST!

    By the way, do you know why we don’t hear much about JTHospital in the Oz media? Obviously living in France I’m not on the cutting edge but whatever “Book Show” etc I listen to, never a whisper…wierd…

    1. I haven’t heard of it – but I’ll track it down. That is one thing I love about blogs, you get to find out about a lot of good books, music, art which you mightn’t come across normally. The Valley has been in the news a lot lately – always people getting assaulted. I never hung out there much but I did some work in the needle exchange with the injecting drug users; and my brother who is brain injured is always going there and getting beaten up and robbed. He got kidnapped once, but that’s another story. My poem Fortune Teller is about him.

      1. KIDNAPPED??? UH???

        I liked Fortune Teller a lot, so much so that you’ve inspired me to post something on my blog, for the first time, (not quite as good as yours!) that’s been haunting my archives for ages….

        1. If only editors of poetry journals would like it as much – ha,ha. I’m glad you like it – it’s one of my favourites and was a poem that needed to be told. Yes, he was kidnapped and held in a hotel until he would give up his PIN number so they could get his money out of the ATM – there are some pretty strange people in the Valley.

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