Wednesday, July 30, 2014

anatomy of an abduction tanka

of an abduction
your eyes
are *nothing but a
one-man cult

Frank Ocean,
It’s a Bad Religion

Sunday, July 27, 2014

ruminations at a fast-food store tanka

ruminations at a fast-food store

yes, I share
my hunger with the
ocean's wave
don't say things
I don't want to say

appalling regret
me in pieces...
why do I say nothing?

it is their grief
at my shirt…waiting
to be free of situations

Saturday, July 26, 2014

On the Road to Gaza tanka

on the road to Gaza
charred intestines
a memo
to the families of the world

beasts are just beasts
making slaves out of
the small, and thirsty

eyeless, earless
to all other nations
deaf and dumb we stand-by
as the bombs drop

living in the underworld
mythological creatures
that creep and crawl with tanks and shells

Friday, July 25, 2014

mistakes tanka

wincing in the mirror
is not an option
I choose life and failure
as my stepping stones

Thursday, July 24, 2014

similarities tanka

a miracle of words
or a plagiarist’s dream—
running amuck through the pyre
of your accusations 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

steam in my head tanka

steam in my head
all for having taken care
of too many pigs—
sadness adds weight
to the places of strength 

Monday, July 21, 2014

los muertos tanka sequence

the dead 
gather missing limbs
and tear 
at the human heart
they know its fragrance, and love it

I know 
the smoke of my own breath
and who I am 
my pulse, the kisses,
the feeling of health

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Provoked a tanka sequence


her message
accuses me of stealing
the key
to the world's voice...
I pluck a flower

her words
burning my chest
like a brand . . .
at the center of the drama
the foolish belief of wrong doing

she grins,
a coyote with old eyes,
as I tell my story
with the grace
of a deadly weapon

she sent an email tanka

she sent an email
accusing me of stealing 
the key which hides
the world…
I reach and plucked a flower

she grins tanka

she grins 
like a coyote with old eyes
as I tell my story 
with the grace 
of a deadly weapon

their bodies tanka

their bodies 
crust the earth like salt—
the dead 
remind the living 
of the coming storms

the heat of their words tanka

the heat
of their words
a wet brand
on my chest... 
crushing me like a bug

Thursday, July 17, 2014

swallowed up tanka sequence

swallowed up

I get quite angry
and scream: go hang yourself
from a tree,
people of dying memories
my wounds you shall not witness

treachery abounds
in a vulnerable tyranny
beauty and truth
lay in cinders
death is now their nest

I will rise like an icon
in the breast
of the beast

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

running Tanka

through the geography
of my work...
a stream of action
along paths of remembrance  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I walked tanka

I walked 
away from myself
and found 
the magic garden... a vision 
with the scent of wildflowers

Monday, July 14, 2014

we kissed tanka

we kissed
under a canopy of raspberry  
and a syrup of sun and birdsong…
have you forgotten me

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rejection letters Tanka

in my thinning skin 
the tide 
of my loves and hates blunted 
on the sands of rejection

Saturday, July 12, 2014

when I stop tanka

when I stop
to consider my calling,
I unfold,
in the form of your body,
these summer midnights

Thursday, July 10, 2014

over-involved tanka

caught in a cobweb 
waiting for rain 
will I end up sundered 
like the shifting clouds 

Monday, July 07, 2014

I am an archaeologist tanka

I am an archaeologist
of stones hunting for stars
in the river
where passion's a crime
against nature

Leonard Cohen - Hits collection

The Age of Colorblindness - Tanka Prose

The Age of Colorblindness

A caste system in the USA? I hear stories about young black males incarcerated for smoking marijuana—some get life sentences. Don’t we all commit crimes? I know I’ve made mistakes—sitting behind a car wheel without a license—the only difference is I haven’t been caught. When a young man born in the ghetto and knowing little of life beyond the walls of his invisible cage turns to us in bewilderment and rage, we should look him in the eye and tell him the truth.

is the new black—
your face,
the brown of declining autumn,         
dodges the threat of erasure

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Submission Guidelines to Undertow Tanka Review

Submission Guidelines to Undertow Tanka Review

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

undertowtanka @

Or use Contact Form to the right

by August 15, 2014 / first Issue
to be online August 29

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

Friday, July 04, 2014

lost among acres tanka

lost among acres
of scuffed limestone
my people
were known to speak in surreal,
mechanical hyperbole

Thursday, July 03, 2014

An I for an I: Palestinian and Israeli Children tanka sequence

An I for an I:
Palestinian and Israeli Children 

be as sand
in the places of bloodshed
and kidnaping—
don't sleep while the arrangers
of the world are busy

be suspicious
of the thirsty machinery  
in the world—
the current is already live
in the wire kraal

be the shadow
that struggles with shadows
in the land
of the sleepless streets
where men draw guns on children

there were days tanka

there were days
when I wore the wings
of a bird     
to soar into daybreak
like a nightingale's song

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

hardly anybody knows me now tanka

hardly anybody 
knows me now—
I sing
hallelujah like a victory march
out in the jungle

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

things fall apart tanka

things fall apart
planets move and crumble 
but the cobblestones
we laid together
will remain

*for my sister

Blog Archive