Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Undertow Tanka Review

The Second Issue of Undertow Tanka Review is now live.

does my enemy love you tanka

does my enemy
love you—help me ignite
this house
with an urn full of air
cloudburst and dust

Monday, September 29, 2014

your name tanka

your name 
a carafe full of wine—
Omar my world 
was uncomplicated,
a simple rhythm 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

—for Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven a Dada tanka

for Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven

the Nemesis of aging
my hip pains when I walk
searching penetrating
for my memory help
I treads with caution

final draft

bane aging
hip pains -- walk
 -- -- -- S. O. S.  memory
treads caution

haiga Old Memories

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I was cancelled tanka

—for Gertrude Stein

yes, I was cancelled,
an abyss below my bed
yet I was cancelled
nobody came, no one cared—
unknown shore— I’m enraptured

Tanka Art

photo by Greg Henry

baby I’m
your chocolate
cream pie…
I don’t wanna’ brag,
but I’ll be the best you ever had 

Friday, September 26, 2014

for William Carlos Williams, Tanka art

photograph by Marlin Shank.                                                Poem by Sergio Ortiz

Barbra Streisand - Partners (Deluxe Edition) (2014) Full Album HAPPY BIRTHDAY BARBARA i LOVE YOU!

it flowered For William Carlos Williams

April is the cruelest month
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

it flowered
then faded—blurred
into the earth
like a rose that was never
awakened by a hummingbird

The submission deadline for this Issue of Undertow Tanka Review is September 30th.

The Second Issue of Undertow Tanka Review will be published October 3rd.  The submission deadline for this Issue of Undertow Tanka Review is September 30th.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

angel wings encrusted with black pearls tanka

angel wings 
encrusted with black pearls
beating upon
the sea's furtive shore …
a poet’s tears

old love ballads tanka

—for Sylvia Plath

he sits beside me
and hums old love ballads
while an elm leaf
floats down the river…
is it the miracle of autumn

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Color of Death tanka sequence

The Color of Death

her skin chips off
around the arms like seashells
then darkens
just above the ankles…
a hundred years on the stretcher

I visit after the stroke
and hear a knelling—
half of her body
silent gold dust,
the other half a silky sorrow

I am an open road tanka

I am an open road
the staggering drunk
by the sensuous actions
of men

Monday, September 22, 2014


you left…
so I turned off the lights
autumn sky


photo by kathryn willett-- poem by sergio ortiz



I know the twilight 
of the roads

it glides 
through my veins

like a battered wife

or a brain 

it clutters my lungs 
with phlegm

Saturday, September 20, 2014


wordless flower…
I am in you without
knowing why

Albatross tanka sequence

“y hay cuerpos que no deben repetirse en la aurora”
                        Oda a Walt Whitman, Federico Garcia Lorca

there was a beginning
an invitation to play pool,
the maneuver
to have another beer
on our first night together

there was a middle
complications—a need to
see you on my bed
running your hands through
the carapace of my skin

there was an end
A Farewell to Arms
of forgotten names
the last clown in a parade
taking down the marquee

Friday, September 19, 2014

"I Can't Make You Love Me" - George Michael/Bonnie Raitt (Paul Middleton...

loneliness tanka

is the art of forgetting
are a weightless leap
if they're not used up

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I want to die tanka

I want to die
rolling in the arms
of a cello player
naked to the waist
rolling in my sweet baby’s arms

homenaje a Cid Corman

homenaje a Cid Corman

surge la voz
en el espacio más denso
del silencio,

reclinarme sobre el sol
y morir

en comunidad de palabras,
imágenes sencillas
que tejen posibilidades

fear tanka sequence


as punishment
he locked me in the closet
little did he know
I was more afraid of the shadow
behind the door

to keep from peeing
a treasure hunt inside his shoes
a roman coliseum
and a few garments
that smelled like his gurry

there was no such thing
as terror,
a stutter, tobacco,
my mother’s empty 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

dreamcatcher tanka

waving in the air...
night image
of barefooted boys 
holding out their hands

Sunday, September 14, 2014

my first eternity tanka sequence

my first eternity

a walk into silence
near the river of tears
where a young man
on a bicycle fades into the
homeless space of my skin

how can I forget
those tremulous hours where
we bathed
in each other’s arms
water on water—condensed

Saturday, September 13, 2014

recluse tanka sequence


what is it that hides
in the early morning hours?
a peace
that strikes my naked body
a silence— a memory

yesterday I walked
through cool corridors
and saw men play
some had legs as long as a red willows
some walked on wheels

all had happy hands
mockingbirds returning from the sea
a smile, a voice
that almost made me cry

Friday, September 12, 2014

untitled tanka sequence

lonely winter
a single star shining
through the mist
stranded in this bitter air
a silent moon

*what did I know, what did I know…
of cold, warm hands
the sun
that stayed by my side
that bitter night

citation Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays

Thursday, September 11, 2014


the vanishing
shape of a leaf…
filter of age

he approaches tanka

he approaches
spreading the fan of his tail
he shakes his feathers
pecks the ground for seeds

without a roof tanka sequence

without a roof

I’ve never given
great thought to the “I”
of my soul  
whether it’s a blade of grass
or a gathering of acorns in the park

twenty autumns ago
before a suicide attempt—
I see my body
as it is now, torn and aching
like the hem of my jeans

is not slanted, it is my own 
the home I built
the house I chose 

Dementia # 2

she has a craving
for Popsicle— a return
to her childhood… 
she’s *leaning on the sun
it’s hot, so, so hot

Citation: Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

you died in my arms tanka

you died in my arms
right after pressing a kiss
on my chest, it tastes 
like murder... *the things that we 
love tell us what we are

citation: Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

dementia tanka

she forgets
to pick up the phone
for me to come home ...
an empty socket by her side

Monday, September 08, 2014

I woke up tanka

I woke up
with a smile on my face
cradled my sleep
capricious power of sound

Untitled tanka sequence

he said yes
while I said no
and ran
into the tall cedars
in hope of forgiveness

for those of us
who sleep in dusty chambers
there is no anticipation
only roofless sky
the structure of an open mind

Sunday, September 07, 2014

evolution tanka sequence


in concentration 
*their frozen pupils,
their prisoner's boot?

a worm
roiling the soil
and making it


In the Lake Region


Saturday, September 06, 2014

my geography tanka

my geography
I find the climb inclined
to the domestic
volcano here...
a handsome man on fire

citation: Emily Dickenson

cats tails tanka

cats tails
pirouette in my cosmos…
universal poses
of left over costumes
from yesterday’s show 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

I liked being young tanka

I liked being young
obsessed as I was at forty-five
with feeling older
the things that filled
those years are gone

today I heard tanka

today I heard
the loud humming of bees
and saw the wind
moving on a meadow...
"blinded" written on the gulmohar leaves

a night in Venus tanka sequence

a night in Venus

death is close
acquire the frilled wings 
of a winter moth
       and meet me 
       in Venus

let’s build a city 
with our hands 
on the narrow bed 
of our bodies
and turn off the lights

at dawn 
we can close our eyes
and count 
until the sun rises
before breaking it to pieces

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

in the absence tanka

in the absence
of sparrows he drew
time, what it provides,
what it destroys

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

rude nudists... tanka

rude nudists...
we took
a long look
at each other
and crept away

Do You Remember the Rude Nudists

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