Modern TANKA Corner 2011

Page 2.

Tanka (five lines with 5-7-5-7-7 or short-long-short-long-long structure), is one of the shortest literary art forms in the world that merges the perception of nature with a moment in human nature or with an event. They make the simplicity of a moment significant and memorable. Tanka have poetic patterns which fuse with descriptive ways of experiencing the wonders of the world and the human condition. Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine hopes to capture the essence of the tanka tradition with all respect due to the Japanese art form.

   Pays $1.00 per tanka if funds permit. Manuscripts cannot be returned.                    

Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine © 2007-2019

falling from
low-lying clouds,
light flurries
and the voices
of snow geese

                        by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen

fight unresolved  . . .
so wanting to turn over
I remain
looking out of the window
and feel the moment pass

leaves hum
on a gentle note
a restfulness
as I lie under the canopy
of dancing thoughts

all around me
champa and chameli blossom
never satisfied
I wondered from childhood
what it would be to be a sunflower

                        by Kala Ramesh

cut, fold, tape.
the girl does it again
and again:
her life in holiday seasons

nothing new
under the sun --
I wage
one fight after another
against a poet’s loneliness

standing before the attic
on these winter days
makes me feel less alone

standing like a pole
on the street corner
he shouts...
a string of Chinese f-words
at the white sports cars

all that noise
through the paper-thin wall
in my motel room
I start counting
summer stars in the window 

my powwow solo
makes the attic as big
as the whole world...
hanging low in the sky
the mid-autumn moon

my dog
seems to know the length
of its leash
I've no clue
how to measure nostalgia

                                by   Chen-ou Liu

on tatami
a young girl plays
the samisen –
while her father is out
making money.

before getting down
to it
the businessman
and his new mistress
discuss last night’s moon.

                          by   Alexis Rotella

I sleep
in his shirt
so I wake
of happier times

velvet petals
of snapdragons
into dust
beneath his rough hands

snow-speckled mountains
the last thing
I see
riding the crest
of an avalanche

                         by Tracy Davidson

she asks 
if I want children
a breeze through
the half-open window
flips the calendar

                          by   Lucas Stensland

winged maple seed
blown far from your tree
we are not so different
you and I..

all too human
we map archipelagos
and plot the stars
yet pin our hopes
on cherry blossoms

                          by   Claire Everett

I close the door
to quiet her cries
pushing hard
my guilt

summer heat
we make our escape
by reading
about penguins
in Antarctica

I’m here
but now
I forgot why –
one perfect thumbprint
on the chrome faucet        

                       by Christina Nguyen 

all these socks
without mates,
yet not one 
of them is willing
to pair up with another

beyond the flickering
wafts of sandalwood incense,
the shadowy presence
of things unseen 
but not unfelt

my cat
attempting to escape
by digging a hole
all the way 
to China
                              by   M. Kei

school of angel fish
flashing the sun of heaven
turn right on a dime
which I pick up off the sand
to drop in the box at church
                             by William Cullen, Jr.

her last letter
smells of withered roses...
chocolate hearts
I've eaten since daybreak

Only You
from the stereo she gave me
years ago --
one glass after another
the moon and I get drunk

bare maple tree
standing on the front lawn…
with no one around
I speak to it
in my mother tongue

in the depths
of an autumn night
the mailbox
of a foreclosed home
click-clack, click-clacks...

                              by   Chen-ou Liu

the year West Nile
wiped out the crows
we had to go it alone
without omen
or apparition

beneath her fingers
the strains of Liebesträume
lull us to sleep
damper pedal staying
a mutual fear of the dark

             (previously published "Modern English Tanka, Winter 2008)

the half-moon’s
fitful dreams
this sweltering night
on half
a sleeping pill

delicate tracings
to the sun—
of red hibiscus

the cardinal
shows interest
in his song alone
leaving the crows
to quarrel

                             by Brian Zimmer

fourth of July—
in place of watermelon
my sister bakes
mother’s lemon meringue
perfumed with our childhood

                              by  Margaret Dornaus

the lake
freezes over
tonight. . .
remembering you
under this full moon

              (first published in Notes from the Gene, Issue 4 - March 2010)
                                     by   R.D. Bailey

I stare out
the same drunken moon
where I grew up...
China Roses on the stereo

against the attic window
on winter days
like Sisyphus
my butterfly dream keeps trying
                             by   Chen-ou Liu

moon viewing 
I reach out my hand 
as if
you were here
beside me
                               by  Paul Smith

when will the angels
stop their bowling --
I want to go outside
and play.

High tea
at the Ritz --
as the harpist plays
my mother
dunks her scone

Business slow--
I rearrange remedies
on the shelves
hoping for
better days
                             by   Alexis Rotella

if these winds
take me away
just know
my heart
will remain here...

her guitar somewhere...
to be strummed

eye of the storm
in exhausting quietude...
doesn't sound so bad
after all

in my eyes 
the serenity 
of our tomorrow

after the wake
a butterfly
tangled in the breeze...
thoughts of you,
more beautiful
                                    (in loving memory of Barry A. Bailey)

afraid to face
the reality
of a love lost
I hold tight, my dreams of you
like balloons in the wind

I am
your cup of coffee waiting
where you left me...
trying to keep myself warm
till you return

when I want to hear 
your voice...
I open my window
and listen to the hum 
of autumn wind gusts

I can call you
by any name
and they all suit you
like the sunrise
and sunset...

in this summer love
sometimes it's better
not to learn to swim...

how easily a child
finds rhythm in raindrops
while I still search
to find the rhythm
of your heart

an unwanted tear
glistens beautifully 
under tonight's
autumn moon

a vee of geese
show her 
the direction
his heart
has gone

the way you feel
between my fingers
how delicately
      I rub your petals

you gave me
only to clip them...
and watch
as I fall

childlike innocence--
you pluck
the very petals
that once made me
beautiful in your eyes

Can I be that rainbow
you look towards
when you feel
there's nothing left
to smile about?

a pallid rose
still holds beauty
   in my eyes
   what matters most
    right now

you are water
cupped in my palms
through the space
left between us
                          by   R.D. Bailey    

his desire
with each step
to the bridge
                          by Brian Zimmer

a spot 
on her right lung--
he chain-smokes
for the rest of the day
in front of the T.V.
                             by   Chen-ou Liu

my life:
the last embers
of a dying cigarette
where the ashes
dream of someday
igniting again   

                              by Josh Bunin
the old village pond
goes up a tornado's spout
and then come reports
of perch falling like manna
on the poor side of town
                              by William Cullen, Jr.


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