Thursday, May 12, 2011

Still More Twitter Tanka

Trying to blog more of my Twitter poetry, that most ephemeral of literatures.

they can't stand
the silence,
they want
hearts that ring
like bells

what fractions
of a heart were carried,
counted, divided,
summed, until the whole
was zero?

go out in the sun,
a burrowing creature
all winter,
heart cracked open
by beams of light

there was never
a muddy spring that
ran clear,
and this heart
is no exception

burning rubber
across your asphalt heart—
skid marks
lead to the wreck
you've made of me

a harem of books—
he loves each of them
even though he
hasn't spent the night
with them in years

another candle lit
at his grave,
chokecherry trees
bloom as white
as ghosts

i gather them,
the green pine candles,
white chokecherry tapers,
and wild wisteria
for a funeral bouquet

once there were so many
grasses swaying in the sea,
beckoning to traders
who never thought
their pleasures would end

his heart
is a skeleton key
that unlocks doors
that should never
be opened

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

my handsome son,
posed so that
his scarred arm
doesn’t show
in the family photograph

I was not lonely
with the snow-capped heron
as my company;
but when my lover returned
the silence was desolate

I am too old and slow
to keep pace with the whirlwind
the world has become.               
Mansei's boat rowed away
without a trace this morning.

the police officer
questions the autistic child
and receives back 
scribbles that mean nothing
in this world of ours

when the rain pelts down
fair weather fishermen leave
the old wooden dock;
an old black man dons his hat
and stays a little longer

he writes poetry
for her birthday,
but fearing
it won't be enough,
he adds a scented candle

full well do I know
that this transient pleasure
is like foam on the sea;
yet even so I want it
to last a thousand years

Langston Hughes
was a sailor
and a lover of men.
I thought I'd see more of that
in his verses

'snake gardens'
the country folk
call them,
full of weeds and
rusting tractors

send a man
shopping for clothes, and
he comes home
with a pair of socks
and nothing more

Pearl Harbor Day . . .
The Japanese-American student
stares at the enemy
who looks like
his father

on the hearth,
the pop, hiss, and crackle
of green wood;
he dreams as he dozes,
the aging housecat


  1. every scene
    worth a thousand
    each picture worth
    a thousand words

  2. What a treasure trove of tanka... // Peter.