Thursday, May 07, 2009

Streetlights : Poetry of Urban Life in Modern English Tanka

Streetlights is a major new anthology by Modern English Tanka Press. Two years in the works, it is now in print. It features hundreds of poems by dozens of authors. Below are a few of my poems that have been accepted.

Streetlights is different from the usual tanka anthology in that it focusses on urban/suburban life, and includes kyoka as well as tanka.

the sweep of
the revolving door
brushes souls
in and out
spinning into nothingness

like pigeons
around your feet,
I too peck at
what you have dropped
and forgotten

they come
selling God, magazines,
and cable tv,
these well-dressed strangers
on my doorstep

the snowplow driver
with a little spot of rum
to keep him warm
as he buries parked cars
in the middle of the night

there’s a genie
in every bottle of
José Cuervo
who makes men witty
and women beautiful

my daughter
searches for an apartment
she can afford
where nobody
has been shot

riding the bus
after the fireworks display,
I eavesdrop on macho men
talking about movies
that make them cry

a vacant lot
full of weeds and
mourning doves . . .
today my heart
is just like that

a bit of green
in a sidewalk crack—
i have already
been reincarnated

in retrospect,
it would have been wiser
if we had skipped the sex
and gone straight
to the tearful breakup

bitten to death
by a single flea!
that’s how
this new job
makes me feel

hanging in the air
waiting for a sharp whack
to break them open
and spill their meaning

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