I’m amazed and honored to see a poem I wrote included in this collection of Canadian tanka. There is even a translation into French (not by me) — a first for me.
from the princess tree
clings to the windshield—
I drive away
looking in the mirror
de l’arbre impérial
s’accroche au pare-brise
en regardant dans le rétroviseur
via 25 Canadian Tanka Poets in French and English : Atlas Poetica.
From my own experience, and the experience of friends who had spent months to years to a lifetime devoted to little magazines and small presses, I knew in my bones that tinywords had become overwhelming. This stuff eats you alive. But I also knew, it’s damn hard to let go once you made your mark. There’s that little voice that keeps calling you back.
From a long interview about tinywords, between me and poet and publisher Norbert Blei.
after the last train a man works the floor polisher alone almost
snow calculus — the slow accumulation
of almost nothing
turning the corner into the sudden warmth of sunlight
in a light rain
a woman pushes a shopping cart, singing “Wish You Were Here”
new glasses: all of my mistakes now painfully clear
the wool smell
of grandfather’s army coat —
(contributed to the 1,000 Verse Renga Project)
cherry petals lying blown
upon the asphalt–
what have you taught us
except to fall, and fall, and fall?
published in American Tanka #16
One thing follows another,
as sure as teeth mesh
with teeth, the pinion turns the gear,
the axle drives the wheel and the world
tumbles forward on its pivot:
Some things are reversible,
allowing for the unavoidable backlash,
a little play, a wiggle in the works,
a slap in the gears, the jerk of each car
as the train gets underway,
the taking up of slack
and the moment
just before reversal,
the holding of breath, the gasp,
the lash, the slop, the stop.
The rosin dust on the violinist’s
oldest violin is white,
like the chalk beneath the words
where children learn to write
the equations that will define
the arcs and angles of their work.
Rosin is the trace of a hundred
thousand notes, silent, no spark
remaining but the sense that all
has come to rest: the scratches
on the indestructible stands,
the shabby folding chairs, matches
in the composer’s tweedy pocket.
His music, a spent and silent rocket.
a single brown leaf tumbling
from the sky
published in The Heron’s Nest VIII.2, June 2006
This is my first published haiku outside of tinywords.