Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Don't fuss at me

don't fuss at me
for my inattention:
birdsong thick
and a new poem
forming in my craw

—Mariposa, #28, Spring/Summer 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Brown-feathered bird

brown-feathered bird—
if I could live nameless
on this earth
yet find my voice in flight
across a poem's lines ...

Skylark, 1:1, Summer 2013
The Skylark's Nest clutch of runners-up

Skylark: a new tanka journal by poet Claire Everett, with drawings and commentary by her daughter Amy, who also judged this first contest. We wrote poems in response to the illustration that adorns the cover.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Year of records

year of records:
the heat, the cold, the drought,
the fires …
and in those small hours
the patience within me

—A Hundred Gourds, 2:2, March 2013

Suddenly our summer has arrived, as usual a few weeks ahead of schedule. Until recently, we've had record-cool spring temps here, which I've really enjoyed. Most of the various records from 2011, however, I hope never to experience again.

Note: I posted this today (Monday) before the monster tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, but I "post-dedicate" my poem to the many victims there. I'm almost an "Okie." My parents grew up in Oklahoma, and a number of my relatives still live there, particularly in the Oklahoma City area (including Moore and also Edmond, where other tornado damage occurred on Sunday). My relatives appear to be fine—but so many heartbreaking scenes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ad Vitam Paramus (tanka prose)

I still can see my fingers pasting bits of dyed eggshell onto the pencil sketch in my notebook. The history teacher, Mr. H., had turned his nose up at my first depiction of the Bayeux Tapestry. I'm not yet eleven—am new to this school, new from America to this strange little country. I don't understand the point of immersing myself in studies of bloodthirsty conquests, brutal monarchs, black plagues, and the like. Or spending time on related artwork.

etched onto old desks
by many hands—
how English becomes
a foreign language

Fresh from university, and one of the few men ever to set foot in our hallowed school, poor Mr. H. also was required to teach us long-dead Latin. Decades later, memories would surface, popping up as posts on Facebook walls. The way he stood errant students on desk chairs and hurled chalkboard erasers at them (threatening the most recalcitrant students with heavy textbooks). Yet how mere sightings of him, with his handsome, chiseled looks, immediately evoked giggles and whispers throughout the schoolhouse. And how one year, after the summer holidays, Mr. H. never returned. The story goes he ran off to New Zealand with a female teacher; the only detail that remains in question is which teacher that was.

introduced to love,
the first Latin verb
we learn to conjugate

 Ad Vitam Paramus = We are preparing for life.

—Haibun Today, Volume 7, Number 1, March 2013 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Nothing amiss; I must be ...

nothing amiss:
the petunias profuse
this morning
in lavender and pink
but still ... a certain feeling

I must be
such an imposter
     spring rain clouds
     darken my little corner,
     don't materialize

Modern English Tanka, issue 3, Spring 2007
"I must be" contains slight edits to the original.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A dreamcatcher

a dreamcatcher
tucked inside this drawer
for years
all those nightmares
I could have released

Moonbathing, issue 7, Fall/Winter 2012-2013

I need to find a place for it—that and many other items we still haven't hung up since relocating here.