"Antonyms" is the most technically interesting of the death/breath poems. It's built like Herbert's "Easter Wings," starting with a pair of four feet per line and decreasing by a foot per pair to the central "forever, / one," and then expanding back out to a final four feet pair-and that "forever" is by golly an amphibrach. Every pair of rhymes is also a pair of opposites: incline/decline, here/somewhere, away/stay (the only couplet), never/forever, one/no one, retract/give him back, and ending death/breath.
Only one other poem ("Insects") has a shape something like "Suicide Road," and there are three which begin with pairs of 7-feet lines and decrease by a foot. (Are they sonnets? They rhyme like sonnets; they turn; they're in a book of sonnets.) Another ("Laughing Poem") finishes the first 12 lines with "laugh" and ends "and then collapse onto the couch, a ha / all teeth and tear and gasping ah, ha, ha."
All this technical bravura really comes to life as the husband starts to reconnect with other people, especially in the section "End of the Vacation," a mostly drunken solo tour through Europe. "Heart Sushi" and the wonderfully titled "The Truth Is He Never Was Good at Flirting, But His Friends Did Their Best to Set Him Up" are particularly good: the latter ends with a bee sting on "lovely ass" and
... Patricia pouts,
"It hurts. It isn't coming out" then smiles,
"I'm sorry, but you'll have to suck it harder."
As I said in part 1, I've had my own recent marital train-wreck, and that may have colored my reading of Sad Jazz: Sonnets--it certainly made it harder write about--but I love this book for its casual-seeming technical audacity and capability, for its refusal to treat the sonnet as a template, for its unflinching examination of some of the most wrenching aspects of marital failure, for the tentative optimism explicitly expressed in some of the later poems, and for the ferocious optimism implied in having made the book at all.