Don Corleone (Tanka)

I ask a favor;
You’ll receive my gratitude.
On this paper sheet:
Your signature or your brains,
An offer you can’t refuse.

6/23/17

Inspired by a recent post by Kindra Austin.

The Faerie Queen (Tanka)

The fair fay kingdom
Otherside of the West Wind
Inside the mirror
Enchanted and eternal
Ageless monarch; Faerie Queen.

6/13/17

This tanka is my response to Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge # 38 – FAIRY & MAGIC. Note: I substituted “enchanted” for “magic” and used the Old French form “Faerie” for “fairy.”

Sophia

Oh, Sophia Shekinah,
Socrates-lover, Plato-Friend,
Maternal dwelling of the Logos.
Sefirah, emanating
From the crown of creation without end,
Wisdom, Understanding: Knowledge.
Understanding wisdom is knowing
That you know nothing.

6/7/17

Notes:
Shekinah (Hebrew:שכינה ) – Pronounced Sha-kee-nah. Literally “dwelling.” A Rabbinic term for the presence of God, held by some to be the feminine attribute of God. See more here.
Sefirah (Hebrew: סְפִירָה ) – Pronounced Se-fir-ah. Literally “emanation.” A term from Kabbalah. See more here.
Logos (ancient Greek λόγος) – Pronounced “low-gose,” which has been used as a term in Philosophy and Theology since the time of Heraclitus. See more here. I’ve written about the Logos previously.

Survival Skills

In the chasm between dreams and reality
Falls pain and disappointment,
Bridged by madness and hope,
Holding off the suffocating
Black blanket of eternal night.

5/29-6/3/17

Reoccurring Dreams

The dreams return,
Can’t stop them from coming,
Dreams of the past,
Relived like a robot,
Unable to deviate from programming.

Dreams of things that never happened
–that never could–
But I that know to be true:
On stage alone,
Ukulele-playing Tangled Up In Blue,
Rock-Band-Playing
Won’t Get Fooled Again,
Sharing a backstage drink with
Early ’80s Pete Townshend,
Toasting a fallen friend,
Fidgeting for a fix.

Dreams of the future,
Not flying-car Flash Gordon future,
No Starships or monoliths.
The real future, my future:
The coming darkness,
Depression and death.
Standing on the beach
Feeling old and tired,
Isolated; alone,
Ready for the end.
But I’m wrong.

5/29/17

Adapted from Chapter II of Summer of a Doormouse.

Bus Terminal Blues

Through the dirty bus window
The past plays like a silent movie,
Scene after scene, never changing.

Memory contradicts memory,
A story told so many time
It becomes your truth.
Alone without a home,
Drifting back to the beginning,
High school hallways,
Smiles and promises,
Bent and broken.

A bus station in Purgatory,
The next scene already written.
Play your part;
Hope for a sequel.

5/29/17

This poem is partially based on the Second Alternate Prologue to Summer of a Doormouse.

Thermodynamics (a Tanka)

Entropy grows
Past the point of no return
Time’s arrow flies on
Toward the heat-death future
A fate sealed by mathematics.

5/24/17

This is my second response to Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge # 35 – PAST & FUTURE.

Very observant readers will note that this Tanka doesn’t hold strictly to the 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count. I opted for what I felt was best for the poem. There is actually some disagreement regarding syllable counting when writing Japanese forms(Haiku, Senryu, Tanka, et cetera) in English, since the Japanese “on” and the English “syllable” are not synonymous.

How Many Times?

My knees are weak and swollen,
My joints creak and pop,
My feet ache, my toes are numb.
Worn down, almost broken,
No cartilage left in my soul.
I’m tired and need a nap
As soon as I get out of bed.

How many times can you fall
Before your arms are too weak
To get back up?
How many time before your soul’s too weak
To even try?

Spider swimming upstream,
Water circling the drain,
The sun going down, going out.

5/19/17

Janis

gahr_copy_public_solo_joplin_018

A pure honest voice,
Soaked in Mississippi Delta blues
And Southern Comfort®.
A cathartic melodic scream
Singing songs to broken hearts.
Smile of an angel
Laughter of someone who knows
What its like to fall.

5/10/17

Inspired by Kindra’s recent post about Janis Joplin.

Photo by David Gahr via JanisJoplin.com

A House Divided

The patricians on the hill celebrate,
Sharing a beer, lining their pockets with gold,
As the poor are condemned to death
For the crime of not having enough money.

Wealth and power their only goal.
Virtue, ethics, and empathy.
Just words they use
To get what they want from the crowd,
Making plebeians fight in the arena,
Pitting one set of peasants against another,
For their amusement and profit.

A house divided against itself
Cannot rise up in bloody revolution
Against its parasitic rulers.

5/4-5/7/17