Sonnets to Morpheus ["I know kung fu"]

By John Beer John Beer
“I know kung fu.” It won’t bring back the world.
5:15 a.m.: I wake from another dream,
the same as every dream. A man builds a ship
in my chest. Each of the sailors
carries by her breast a picture of her sister.
The ship is not the image of a ship.
Beyond its sails there are no stars.
The water is only water because it’s black.
5:15 a.m. Perhaps you’ve seen me
practicing my moves in the empty prison yard
and wondered whether you were the dreamer
conjuring me into existence from the bare
desire to caress a phantom ship
and my death the death of your desire.

John Beer, "Sonnets to Morpheus [”I know kung fu.”]" from The Waste Land and Other Poems. Copyright © 2010 by John Beer.  Reprinted by permission of Canarium Books.

Source: The Waste Land and Other Poems (Canarium Books, 2010)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet John Beer

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 John  Beer


John Beer is the author of the poetry collection The Waste Land and Other Poems (2010), winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the chapbook Lucinda (2013). Associative and imaginative, Beer’s work has been praised for its “passionate and watchful” moods, in the words of Norma Farber judge Bin Ramke. Ramke called The Waste Land and Other Poems “full of the most amazing engagements.”
. . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Sonnet

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.