Monday, June 30, 2014

I sing like a bird tanka

I sing like a bird
among moon-drawn vineyards
in a town
of shadow-draped churches
and gossip with the clouds

Saturday, June 28, 2014

to a wildflower meadow in Kyoto tanka

to a wildflower meadow
on the outskirts of Kyoto
I let the rain
bathe me through my shirt
and walk away unharmed

Thursday, June 26, 2014

light as air tanka

light as air
I sit on my doorsteps—
an alpha dog
comes home to die
for the day

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

he stands

he stands
among my mother’s 
a metaphor
with the sound 
and fury
of a wounded 

Me preocupa el silencio

Me preocupa el silencio,
los mensajes ocultos,
la ceguera de los celos,
los muros manchados con sangre inocente,
las metáforas que no entiendo,
las espinas escondida del racismo,
la estafa del viento,
el vaivén de mi resaca.
Me preocupa el olvido.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

a simple thing

a simple thing
like running home
head first,
a welcome from the waiting fields,
a gentle fall in clover      

who sings
with the dying
so much of the past
cries out for utterance
who won’t turn the page

Monday, June 23, 2014


good morning heartbreak,
meet your sister pain,
she thaws out
into gorgeous rain

Sunday, June 22, 2014


to those
of small flame
who feed off
and grow old quickly…  
live out your lives
in hunger

Saturday, June 21, 2014


has a heartache 
the sky is breaking 
with rain 
and all the flights 
are delayed
there’s no way back 
to where we’ve been

Friday, June 20, 2014

dreams end tanka with Citations

*dreams end       
in a beautiful man's body
wind of longing
you cover me with pollen
keep me spinning beyond your arms

Citation: Cyrus Cassells
 "Beautiful Signor" and  "no dread of nakedness." and 
Yeats, “The Phases of the Moon” 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

your suicide note tanka

your suicide note,
a kind cop sent it to me,
a poet sent me 
your death certificate...
in the nest the unwoven, the unraveled  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Tanka Journal: Undertow Tanka Review

Undertow Tanka Review
Kindly submit up to 10 previously unpublished  tanka &/or  1 sequence
“Undertow Tanka Submission” to

by August 15, 2014 / first Issue

At the end of your submission, please include your full name and country of residence. All rights revert to authors upon publication. Your tanka must not be under consideration elsewhere or submitted to any contest. Hopefully this will become a print Review in the near future.

Best wishes,
Sergio Ortiz, Editor

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

undertow tanka sequence


there are blows in life so
powerful we just succumb 
and the water 
pours in through our mouths
and out of our ears

and there are things we see
just before drowning
mountains, daisies
rivers, and the bodies
of the people we had been

and the bodies 
of the people
we had loved
and we wonder why
we were born human

Monday, June 16, 2014

It started on a Summer Day in the 50’s

It started on a Summer Day in the 50’s

It was at some church retreat in the 50’s.
She said something about Christ’s resurrection.
They started to gossip about the impress of Christ’s vanishing.
The meeting ended and they folded their wooden chairs.
She matched his telling with listening, and more listening. 
Whatever the case, she listened. Everyone, except my grandmother, 
found him impossible, including me, especially me.
He scuffed the wind with his sneaky nature, offended 
the rotting oaks by the solemn river bank every time
he got near my mother. But there was little I could do.
I’ve waited this long to say: Mother, it was your failure.
Up to the very end, you failed to see him for what he truly was.

I love the simplicity of our mutual puzzle tanka

I love the simplicity
of our mutual puzzle …
I have roads
whose secrets never end
you are neither sun nor moon

the day ends tanka sequence

the day ends
on a wet bed of leaves—
I was ready
for new experiences
the old ones burned out

they lay
in little ash heaps
the roadside
while I sat on a rock

Saturday, June 14, 2014

the storm

the storm

a dog
looking for a place
to sleep

listen to it growl at the boulevard
its broken sidewalks

in every crack
feel the rain fall and cool  
your sweaty flesh like a snuffed candle

think of someone sleeping
in a row-boat tied to mangrove root
undisturbed by the rain or the dog

Friday, June 13, 2014

drifting - a very rough copy of a tanka sequence


because my books
weren't nominated
for a Lammy

like Plath’s
“great African cat,”
I have let things slip
the flowers need water
but they weigh me down with

the present
of life
eat everything I breathe
like dangerous animals,
free, and completely empty

nameless, flat, black
and white
intrusion of eyes
I am a new persona

in a neurotic stillness,
until there is little,
if anything, left to do but sleep

I dream
about alcoholic binges
one night stands
in bathhouses
where the thick vapor of lust

my sense of identity
and cold
mouths suck
on my face

I am wrapped
inside my own
laughing, struggling
with my pride

until I break loose
step on the needle shards
of my life
tamed, old, fat
looking for a way out

of this room
where I once felt
the need
to write about myself
until the tulips turned red

the guilt
and life went on to bigger
and better heights
deep within my failing sight

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Joaquín Sabina - Nos Sobran Los Motivos DVD ( Completo )

I love the clarity of our mutual puzzle

I love the clarity of our mutual puzzle

I have roads
whose secrets never end

and no, I am not a sun or a moon
I am a woman, no more and no less …

you are so much yourself ...
I am so much other than myself

right here before you...
if I were another on this road,

I would have hidden my emotions
in that suitcase,

so my poem would be of water
behind the borders of echo ...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I will be years tanka

I will be years
gathering up our words,  
fishing out snapshots,
leaning my ribs against
the durable cloth of your death

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

the heart is a coffer tanka

the heart
is a coffer holding
the image
of light within us ...
a bird in flight

Only the Rumor

Only the Rumor 
Published in Salt River Review Volume 13, Number 1 & 2, Fall/Winter 2010

I, who have rarely seen sanity,
or a caravan of Siberian huskies stroll
with their pack through the soft white snow,
have no appreciation for winter's twilight-silence,
or the ruckus of grizzlies ravaging
my provisions.

I ask: Is anyone willing
to put their hand in place of mine
on the chopping block, or their signature on paper
to demand investigations into all that has been stolen
on my passage through this life?

I have not witnessed tenderness,
nor do I feel excitement upon observing
the child fed from the safety of its mother's hands.
Only rumors of the existence of distant cities,
where harsh winters outlast serene summers,
accelerate the rhythm of my blood.
That chill is mine.

I, who have rarely felt reason, have played
with water and snow. I've wrapped them around
my legs, given them form with my hands like a lover.
I, who am fed-up with listening to wolves
and sleeping under willows, no longer tremble
when they throw down my door to take me
where neither water nor snow exists.
Do you understand? It is nothing more
than a short visit to the crying room
of a psychiatric hospital, a show
to impress the animal
that sleeps beneath
the sheets.

tears haiku

the natural bleeding 
of a wound 

my secret hiding place tanka

my secret
hiding place...
the boy
I was calls out to me
in noises that he makes?

Monday, June 09, 2014

waning moon haiku

plaster hands tanka

plaster hands
set apart in a sculptor's studio...
like the kiss of snow,
their loveliness dazzling me

Sunday, June 08, 2014

a perfect Sunday tanka

a perfect Sunday...
yet when we touch
we touch
our mountains and fields
and rivers of grief

Saturday, June 07, 2014

we mate tanka

we mate,
then starve,
wait inches apart
to die, to share fully
each burning moment

I could see him tanka

I could see him
walking through the sea grapes . . .
luna moths
flutter towards each other
like exotic birds

Friday, June 06, 2014

I seek tanka

I seek
a permanent home,
a guarded space
where an oak tree stands
motionless against the sky

an irresistible light tanka

an irresistible light
brushes through the angel-wing
moon over water,
the luminescent burning of space

Thursday, June 05, 2014

sandalwood scent tanka

sandalwood scent
lingering in the room—
days gnaw
into your stomach,
with the sharp teeth of longing

Monday, June 02, 2014

the permeability of words tanka sequence

the permeability of words

has come to see
my heroes—
a growth of many inventions
and rare combinations

one sculpted
a salt cathedral
inch by inch
out of tears and autumn
wind songs

but I love
the one who wrote
my funeral melody…
the palimpsest  document
of past misadventure  

A Small critique of Poetry

I feel like I must be honest, this month’s poetry entries at Poetry were very poor.  I did not enjoy a single poem they published.  I think it is time for them to hire new submission editors.

Sergio Ortiz

Sunday, June 01, 2014

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