Saturday, January 31, 2015

we played tanka

we played
in a athenaeum
of sunflowers...
before rain brought down
the winter sky

trees rattle tanka

trees rattle
I count the stars in 
the winter sky...
the hours, matrons reading 
my lips, watch my thighs

Friday, January 30, 2015

time tanka

is nothing but a souvenir
worn smooth...
a photograph of me
walking in an alien body

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Kindly submit up to 10 previously unpublished tanka, tanka art, &/or 10 tanka sequence, 10 haiku.

“Undertow Tanka Submission” to:

undertowtanka @ gmail . com

Or use Contact Form to the right

*** by MARCH 23, 2015 / 5th    Issue
to be online by MARCH 30, 2015

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. We accept submissions year-round.  

*** Yes, we are accepting Haiku submissions

Best wishes,

Sergio Ortiz, Editor

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


last dream 
before waking...
morning fog

enemies tanka

where the blossoms fall
like kisses on the pier
bring L’Incomparable
or you'll never see
your husband again

Thursday, January 22, 2015


on the way
to Monkey Island...
scattering his ashes

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I don’t remember tanka

I don’t remember
enough of my life to write
a biography…
I was naked on the beach,
the hours seized me inch by inch

Monday, January 19, 2015

there was a time tanka

there was a time
when blue was the color
of distance
and failure, an empty room
where ghosts lulled me to sleep

Sunday, January 18, 2015

alive and well tanka

alive and well
in the age of color
I stand naked
for no one but myself

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Selma 1965 Tanka

on the way to Jericho
difficulties vanish
*Ain't gonna let nobody
turn me around

citation:  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, January 16, 2015


where is 
your native land?
dipped in mud...
my head covered 
with the thin blanket of poverty


who can blame me for
declining to defy
such whiteness with the

snowshoe cruelty of tracks


on their last legs--
playground stones
in the cupped hand
of a lifeless child

Thursday, January 15, 2015

there was a time tanka

there was a time
when I chopped down trees,
beat my head
praying against a seawall...
my innocence lost in dreams

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


what are you waiting for
touch me like you do


you dream
of having a Chinese garden
in a forest full of mirrors 
I draw a map of myself in the sand
a draft of the theory of zero

Monday, January 12, 2015

there are birds tanka

there are birds
trapped in those shadows
they're bursting 
with untold happiness...
bird songs awaken the dead 

eruption tanka

you were seated
in the fires of ambivalence --
born into violence
I wake up tired of wading
through storms of ashes

Friday, January 09, 2015

I've changed the furniture tanka

I've changed the furniture, 
rewritten our relationship back 
to its beginning... 
strangers dancing at a bar 
in Amsterdam


beyond grief and grievance Je suis Charlie

Tuesday, January 06, 2015


breathless moments breaking me down drunk on grief 

Monday, January 05, 2015


standing at the door pieces of a great mystery

autumn comes with a price tanka

comes with a price…
the world caves in on itself,
yet at the river's edge
a heron lifts in flight

Sunday, January 04, 2015

there's nothing here but speech tanka

there's nothing here
but speech, the words we 
fill the dark with
hoping for a rescue party
knotted in the lines



on the bridge 
to my next huge sadness...

Saturday, January 03, 2015


shadows pierced by the sun confetti

don't stop the rain tanka

don't stop the rain
from falling on my wings
my eyes 
are swimming in your breast...
a minute for the two of us

a mountain of love letters tanka

a mountain 
of love letters
in the air shaft— 
forlorn in a house of sticks


how long have we stood 
at the end of the dock, a 
wishbone fit to pop

my dreams like kites tanka

my dreams
like kites at the apex
of some huge sorrow--
a flapping sound
on new year's eve

after a tanka by Shaku Choku

Friday, January 02, 2015

let me climb tanka

let me climb
these mountain ridges ...
my mantra,
scuffed by winter winds,
heals my bloodshot eyes


confetti a sunrise I faintly remember

Thursday, January 01, 2015


poplars mark my pathway gathering bones

Venus haiga

haiga street art / haiku by Sergio Ortiz


Venus with an afro pick
letting go of trends


faster than an afterthought staggering butterfly


by the clouds
full moon


what kind of fool
lets you go without a fight—
sea-dust coats my skin

jealous tanka

jealous of the way
you’re happy without me…
collapse in the rain,
six degrees of separation 

nothing to be afraid of tanka

nothing to be afraid of
even when the night changes—
coming and going, I climb
the ruins of my life

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