Sunday, June 22, 2014

Old Tanka from 2006

Here are some of my old tanka that were originally published in Modern English Tanka 1:1. MET is the journal that altered the orbit of the Planet Tanka.

These are some of my early signature tanka:

the dowager houses
stand primly in their ragged porches
looking embarrassed
as ladies do
in such circumstances

low grey hills
of barges loaded with gravel,
softened almost into beauty
by the rising of the mist
on the evening bay

These are other tanka that were published in the same issue. Notice the interest in kyoka right from the start of my tanka career. 

the slattern houses sag
on a mean street in a small town,
floral sheets for curtains
cinder blocks for steps
and the fetid smell of despair

no answer
is an answer,
and so,
after a decent interval,
I abandon hope

another man decides
he likes my lonely perch
is too crowded,
so I leave

give me the heart
of an old chief
and I’ll make it
young again,
dancing on the Red Road

that man,
he teaches my daughter
that the golden veneer
of love
is very thin

tracing the face
of the man in the moon
my own face
looks back
at me

old pond
toad jumps in
wait . . . 
that’s not how
it’s supposed to go 

stopped at the light,
a truck full of turkeys,
just like the rest of us:
they have no idea
where they are going 

in my dreams,
a lean, low-hulled corsair
glides up the bay—
and wrecks on rocks 
of memory

accustomed as I am
to angry words,
it is kind words
that make me tremble
like water in a glass

His Majesty the Cat
must not be disturbed;
he lolls
upon his throne
of sunshine

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

my heart:
black linen
hung at night
in the shadow 
of a crow

an abandoned farmhouse
   stone eyes gaping
   slack-mouthed door
where only flies buzz
    in and out

late winter,
the bleak trees leafless
until a cardinal lands,
then dead trees everywhere
burst into red bloom

and remnants,
full of raveled

trust has nothing
to do with it, either
you have the courage
to step off the cliff of love
 . . . or you don’t 

ankle-aching acres
of wooded cliffs
between here and there,
but oh! the view
from Turkey Point!