Japanese Short Form Poetry 2016 - 2017

"We shall never understand one another until we reduce the language to seven words."- - Kahlil Gibran   (1883-1931)

Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine © 2007-2018


smell of fish
in his apple juice bottle--

                 by R.K. Singh

summer night
the moth fans
a paper moon

            (published in Frogpond 38.3)

dipping his quill
into the rainbow—
the grackle

thin ice
the moon
cracks under my feet

 (A Hundred Gourds, 5.2 Spring Issue, March 2016)

                         by Cherese Cobb

a year sober
these wine-stained


moth wings
what silence
sounds like

                    by Cody Huddleston

The Aria         by Deborah Guzzi
The room’s twelve-foot ceilings echo the sound of the drawn chairs. An arena forms about the polished onyx slick of an ancient piano. The grand’s exterior mirrors the worn surfaces of the room. The palest of yellow walls dawns around the gathering. One by one, people enter. They excite crush velvet cushions. Laughter and ringtones vibrate through the air, each sound adds to a building harmonic. The performers enter. The diminutive size of both the Chinese tenor and female concert pianist prove to us all that indeed Le grandi cose vengono in piccole scatole . Dressed in formal black and a crisp white shirt the barrel-chested male diva owns the center stage. The pianist, a shadow of frailty: a small boned, round-shouldered, glass rimmed woman a foil for his performance. With a curt bow he begins. Surprise wreaths the room as fluent, languid, Italian arias meander through the audience, kissing each closed eyelid and florid cheek.

autumn light
casts shadows on the floor –
laced fingers
The pianist curls around the keys. Her hands pose and begin. Their skilled movements lead to each silent indrawn breath of his songs. He fills his lungs. With eyes cast heavenward, his lips shape vowel sounds, his almond eyes—black-framed—glisten. A blue-black, slicked-back, sheen crowns his balding pate. All eyes gravitate to his voice as his next aria stirs the room with the drama of China. Each listener achieves bliss.
hairs rise
on my arms –
the last note
Though I had come with the expectation of boredom, I left with a smile of a cat licking cream, knowing I will come again.

wolf  ...
as if food could ever give
what hungers it

                 by Martin Pedersen

raindrops on windows
unremarkable moments
melt into themselves

minutiae …
tick and tock splitting
each second

by David J. Kelly

estranged partners
a homey iron fence

the strawberry patch

                  by Michael Francis King

the dim room steals our
faces; slim rinds of light curl
in from window blinds

Raindrops slap the palms of leaves  

swallowing itself  

                    by Iain MacLennan

the moon

                     by Judith Huang


          in the bowling alley

                     by Michael Ceraolo

Dal Lake

The starless night does not take away the beauty of Dal Lake, but further enhances its mystery and depth. We marvel at its charm and the boatman tells us, ”Yes, the lake is stunning and it belongs to us. Your military or the neighbouring country's militants have no claim over it.” The previous day, an army officer told us, “We will not concede an inch to anybody. This place belongs to us.” Why do people want to hold onto something beautiful and gloat over it? With the army and terrorists destroying this land and demoralising its people, this state is taking its last breath. If given a choice, I would not prefer to possess this place. Let this state thrive as a free land. With a last prayer for the strife-torn land, I depart.

Chilly winter…
Partially-knit sweater
in her ransacked cupboard


The Pathway

Renowned as ‘The Pathway’, the park near my apartment attracts various joggers from the area. As I take my evening stroll, the chilly breeze pierces the Cedar, grazes through the Pines and touches me gently with the scent of the trees. The Maple tree looks magnificent and their half-hidden flowers glow in the crescent moon. I watch in awe as the shining leaves of the plum tree rustle their raw plums. The young leaves and the buds of the Forsythia emit a pleasant, youthful scent. I take in the fragrance, not wanting to miss a second of this joyful moment. After all, this is what I live for.

Moon glow
half-bitten plum
in the plum tree

                            by Padmini Krishnan

sunlight scatters
through the branches —
shapes of diamonds

at a haiku reading —
the ring of tram bells
filling the pauses

    (cattails June 2016)

                           by Diarmuid Fitzgerald

longest night
         I settle for stars

                            by Daya Bhat 

rain on the mountain -
the winds
and I, quickening

cover of night -
in the tall grass
a whispering

the clasp 
of hands -
first day of school

                                by Lysa Collins

 by Elizabeth Crocket   

sultry night
a breeze stops
at the curtains

                                      by Adelaide B. Shaw

hard frost
your footsteps crack 
the silence

overnight snow
opening the door
to silence

                                        by Rachel Sutcliffe

bumblebees hum through their only spring

                                                 a persimmon sunset ripens the cold
                                                 by Jann Wright

Red Bricks and White Stucco        by Deborah Guzzi
Inside the crumbling stucco walls of Mission Dolores, walls which 
do little to keep the soot of San Francisco’s traffic from the ancient crosses, the air steams with the scent of moss and mold. The century old graveyard holds many wealthy benefactors on Holy ground.
The spirits of Yelamu Ohlone Indians haunt: behind, beneath, and 
between the spaces of their unmarked graves. It was a sad day for the village when the Christ worshipers came with their tales of crucifixion,  flaming hell, and the shame of naked Eve and Adam. God-like, they came to judge.
behind the alter
brown hands paint a mural:
white washed walls

From the bounty of the land, they had lived in harmony, fed on roots, 
berries, nuts and wild life, their ways teaching of man’s place with nature.They were clothed, schooled, worked, and punished by the emissaries of Rome.
they shake the oak
and acorns fall upon the ground:
the sound of saws

Even today, it is the Vatican which takes credit for raising up of the heathens. Yet, it is the artisans of Ohlone who built Mission Dolores. Upon their unmarked graves, white feet still walk.

All the Pretty Little Ponies      by Deborah Guzzi

After: The Fool on the Hill by Paul McCartny
Enthroned in a sylvan wood, the carousel reigns, a queen among the visitors. Blurred images flicker behind gargantuan sheets of plate glass in an artsy garden home. Mirrored eyes fool the unwary with reflection. Like St. Catherine’s Wheel without the sparks, the old gal spins around at the docent’s summoning. Hidden cogs and wheels mate within the calliope’s heart. Brilliant brass works raise and lower fierce or flamboyant creatures as court begins. Yet, the carousel would give it all up to feel the blaze of sun or touch of rain beneath a turquoise sky. Do you hear the bellows umpa as the music starts?
a sign outside reads
do not walk on the grass:
a gardener prunes

Sustained by love, her horse’s race on golden, spiraled, poles, chasing the ostrich, frog, or deer; never letting the cat come near. Though instate, she daily waits for little ones who squeal for joy—to leap on the pinto or plop-down in the old green gilded sleigh.
In her missed notes, in the crackle of her panes, a sense of longing for days long gone resides, carnival days—caramel apples, cotton candy, and taffy, for the buskers play, for the roaring twenties when women were sassy. Yet here, she sits assigned by design encased at The Heritage Museum of Art.

Art on the Bart       by Deborah Guzzi

She sat on the Bart. The subway whooshed on swaying like a fine woman’s hips. Red was a picture of perfect imperfection. Her bike chipped and cherry-red as her fingernails. We got on at Mission and 25th Street. Her complexion, peaches, and cream, defined her as au natural. Her dress’s skirt draped between elegant knees, a circle of fiery-red polka-dots on a white ground. She made an impression. She was a work of walking art and kindness leaked from her every pore.
the smell
of sweat and perfume:
fans whir
I [a fish out of water in her wake] asked the way to my stop. Her elegant hands in fingerless, red, wool-gloves shifted atop the black trash-bag covered seat of her ancient bike. She braced the frame against the seat stanchion and looked up smiling.
"I’ll watch for you, It’s hard to see and too much noise to hear.”
I glanced down at my matronly sneakers, beside her caramel cowboy boots. Feeling a bit lost but safe with her Pacific-blue eyes reassuring me beneath honey-colored bangs. She was a vision of unkempt loveliness, this aide to wandering mothers.
The cars stopped and with a point, she shooshed me off the East Bay train, never telling me her name.

Kissin’ Cousins     by Deborah Guzzi                                                                                      

The escape began. It was the summer of nineteen fifty-nine, the “good old days.” Dad packed my sis and I in a 1947 Lincoln Continental, he called Black Beauty. We were off to the land of Peyton Place, Camden, Maine. The drive from middle-class suburbia’s ticky-tacky house took eight hours. We went north on the highway; then down small feeder roads. Dad drove as we whined in the back seats, our faces flushed, curls matted to foreheads. The seat covers of gray wool itched our scrawny thighs. We only stopped the leg-cramping journey for bathroom breaks.
small stones ping
of the chrome bumpers –
cows low

My Aunt’s ramshackle chalk-white farmhouse finally appeared up the dirt road. It looked lavender in early evening. Uncle Ken was there too but he didn’t rule the roost, Madonna did with her worn, black leather, razor strap and silver its buckle. She was no lady, but she was our Aunt, raised with Gramp’s bad temper. Her face was always looked as if she was sucking lemons. (Grandma saved us all by hiding the razor strap.)
squeals fill the air
as the car empties –
dogs bark
Oh, how we adored Uncle Ken. Yup, Uncle Ken had charm with his sweet smile and Chiclet- white teeth, beer bottle in hand. His concrete company hat cocked to the side. He worked days at the factory in Rockland, nights and weekends on the farm. He was one long, tall, strawberry-blonde, drink of water. He was Prince Charming to us little girls. He called me Snow White and my sister Goldilocks. His only rivals for our affections were his sons.
Gorgeous George, Georgie-boy, first cousin, was my first love. Yes, it was summer. School was out. We had fields full of wild strawberries, cows to ride, haylofts to conquer and a house full of kissin’ cousins, what more could two little girls want on a summer vacation.


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