Friday, April 15, 2011

More Twitter Tanka

Twitter is so ephemeral, I am trying to unearth poems that have only appeared on Twitter and put them on my blog so that they will be easier to find and can be more readily seen.

night watch
at three am
the drunks asleep
but the fishboats
heading out

aloft in a gale
shoulders aching
as they battle
the mainsail

a whale
named "Salt"
swimming circles
and slapping the sea
with her tail

Stellwagon Bank, off Cape Cod

the bluest skies
and a fair wind blowing
no sign
of the hurricane
beyond the horizon

two days later
the sodas 
the passengers
didn't want

the roll gauge
as still
and motionless
as the crew

Buzzard Bay
slowly building
on an August afternoon
before the hurricane

the ship murmurs
to water, wind,
and sky,
prayers full of spume
for a safe anchorage

storm watch
midnight rain
and the roar
of wind
through the rigging

the witching hour
but the ship
in a safe harbor
not even a black cat
on this black night

to cancel
Martha’s Vineyard
and take refuge
in a fishermen’s town

season’s end
I’ve had enough
of tourists
I long for the cold work
of oystering

during a tropical storm,
but still traffic,
lights, and noise
in a sleepless city

security lights
gleaming on
the herring hopper:
my view for
most of the night

the cruise ship
with her passengers
dwarfs us—
and so do
their wallets

the lullaby
of rain on hatches
rolling off
the quarterdeck
all night long

her spars
across the river
slim and wooden,
all day we ask passing boats,
“Who is that ship?”

fairy lights
tiny sea creatures
in the dark
beneath the pier

Martha’s Vineyard—
the green scruff
of hills
dotted with
enormous houses

the soft roar
of the sibilant sea—
a sea turtle
raises his head
to look at us

not to like
Martha’s Vineyard,
then the old lighthouse
illuminates history

heading into port,
a shimmer
of salt scales
on the windward rail

sunset fading
a constellation of
airplane lights
over Manhattan

listening to
some other boat’s
man overboard
on the radio,
a quick head count here

city dwellers
never look up from
their televisions
as a tall ship
ghosts by at night

ten million people
in New York City
never saw us
as we passed by
one evening

migrating bird
support ship—
two warblers and a kestrel
take refuge in our rigging

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Twitter Tanka

The following tanka have been published on Twitter, but nowhere else. I thought I ought to gather them up and put them some place easier to find.

move over, Shiki,
there’s more than
a wisteria branch
to be seen from
this invalid’s bed

nothing certain
but death and taxes,
I suffer from
a little of each

I look like Frankenstein:
I’m green,
and I have stitches
in each temple
where they took the biopsies

ah, Melville,
what’s Moby Dick to me
when I can
conquer the world
from the comfort of my desk?

the clock
above my desk
talks to me
when everyone else
is asleep tonight

aluminum extrusion—
that’s my cousin’s business
down in Georgia,
vague recollections that
once they owned slaves

some words
are harder
to open than

the ghosts of winter
drifting aimlessly
amid the green and yellow
blinking lights
of the holiday

tall ships
in a shallow fog
trapped in
the bowl of heaven

another chill evening—
finding love poems
I wrote
last winter to
a married man

everything ends
at the beginning of winter—
mother, nephew, lover
nothing but
grief remains

the cat always returns
is it any wonder
I give my love
to a rover
in the night?

things that come
with the fog:
horseshoe crabs,
tall ships,
and wandering hearts

the ensign again
on the hatch
as the sun sets

the minor key
of an old song
as sailors
keep watch
in the dusk

that cool breeze
is a harbinger 
of storms to come:
Earl, Fiona, Gaston
crossing the Atlantic

a tarnished sun
in a glistening sea
a wooden ship
makes her way
towards shelter

a forest 
of fishboats
side by side
in the hurricane hole

tied up
at the State Pier,
I can watch the city
as if it were
a million miles away

sitting in the pew
where Melville sat,
with a hurricane 
bearing down on me,
I contemplate the cenotaphs