Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Undertow Tanka Review: Issue # 2

UNDERTOW TANKA REVIEW ISSUE # 2


Artwork by Sheri L. Wright, United States. Two-time Pushcart Prize and Kentucky Poet Laureate nominee, Sheri L. Wright is the author of six books of poetry, including the most recent, The Feast of Erasure. Wright’s visual work has appeared in numerous journals, including Blood Orange Review, Prick of the Spindle, Blood Lotus Journal and Subliminal Interiors. In 2012, Ms. Wright was a contributor to the Sister Cities Project Lvlds: Creatively Linking Leeds and Louisville. Her photography has been shown across the Ohio Valley region and abroad. Currently, she is working on her first documentary film, Tracking Fire.




the lady next door
a Holocaust survivor
tortured yet again
by TV news coverage
of her grandchild's suicide


Debbie Strange, Canada


she kneels
in the spangled grass
listening deeply
to the opening hymn
of a monarch chrysalis


Debbie Strange, Canada


he is fading
his teenaged daughter
keeping vigil
paints his toenails
while he sleeps


Debbie Strange, Canada


moonbeam quills
through our windows
transcribing
the grammar of shadows
into the poetry of light


Debbie Strange, Canada


we walked
through the waterfall
in moonlight
behind veils of grace
the nakedness of mountains


Debbie Strange, Canada


the slow spin
of one maple seed
d r i f t i n g
in a downward spiral
another runaway child


Debbie Strange, Canada


a dreamcatcher
hangs above our bed
in that thin place
we are lingering between
hanging on and letting go

(note: "thin place" refers to the sacred space between heaven and earth)


Debbie Strange, Canada




was it absinthe                
that green glass bottle
on the top shelf
did it swing my mother
in the belly of the sea?


Carole Johnston, USA


clairvoyant friend says
look for her in lunatic
asylums but I think
demon suicide took her
family bible stained by blood


Carole Johnston, USA


we'll take
the dog and the Malbec
we'll find
the highest hill for moonrise
enthralled in ancient magic


Carole Johnston, USA


pink pearl
rising translucent
enormous
butterfly moon
drunk on milkweed


Carole Johnston, USA


didn't know
I was a hedgewitch
secluded
behind a creaking gate
whispering butterflies


Carole Johnston, USA


ripe scent
of full dumpsters
the night
before garbage day
super moon light


Carole Johnston, USA


summer ending               
I'm still butterfly crazy
kaleidoscope
all the colors of the sun
in my whirligig eyes


Carole Johnston, USA


high summer
poems about butterflies
fluttering
across computer screens
we feel them touch our fingers


Carole Johnston, USA


is this
the summer when
the world
incinerates itself
of just the beginning?


Carole Johnston, USA


Merlin
stars shimmering on
his purple robe
I loved the runic picture
in that antique book


Carole Johnston, USA




the dandelion
trapped beneath a rock…
a swell of tears
from the child not picked
at the adoption fair 


Mary Davila, USA


her chest rising
as if she took a breath
in her casket
can she see the torment
in my parched heart


Mary Davila, USA


that window
we escaped through
fifty years ago
finally boarded up…
my fears ready for demolition


Mary Davila, USA


her soul teeters
on the edge of this world
afraid of addiction
her long stare at morphine
left by a hospice nurse


Mary Davila, USA


smoke billowed
through the treetops
I can only imagine
what I looked like
as a baby


Mary Davila, USA


the constant crash
of waves on rocks…
surges
in our argument
topple a sandcastle


Mary Davila, USA


endless meows
from the blue-eyed feral
under my empty sill…
how do I tell him
Pio’s gone to heaven

Mary Davila, USA





puddles on the asphalt
after the rain
she's not
ready to
let her sadness go


Dave Read, Canada


water leaking
through cupped hands
I tried to
hold you
to your promise


Dave Read, Canada


the first white hair
I pluck
from my eyebrow -
some souvenirs
we choose not to keep


Dave Read, Canada


twirling spaghetti
onto your fork
the little things
you do to
reel me in


Dave Read, Canada


a scratched
record
my memory
skips back to
how we lost our groove


Dave Read, Canada


the candles on
his birthday cake
are only dim
in the light
of his excitement


Dave Read, Canada


noting how
we've both grown
the creak of
my knees bending
to lift you


Dave Read, Canada


a finger trap
me and this sadness
unable to pull
away
from each other


Dave Read, Canada


tracing tracks of rain
down my office window
I ignore
the rising tide of
unaddressed requests


Dave Read, Canada


with the nothing
he had
on his mind
he filled
our conversation



Dave Read, Canada





my heart
grows wearier each day...
a kite flutters
in these vast skies
as though mockingly


Shloka Shankar, India


your voice
fills the blank spaces
in my head...
did we always repel
each other so much?


Shloka Shankar, India


a reprise
that constantly runs
through my mind…
how much is enough
till I quit?


Shloka Shankar, India


you unveil
a smokescreen before me
once again
those comforting lies
I still believe in


Shloka Shankar, India


desert winds...
in this wilderness
the plumage
of my desires
take shape



Shloka Shankar, India


Artwork by Sheri L. Wright, United States.




this pattern
of leaves
in every puddle
reflections of
a lost dream


Vibeke Laier, Denmark


silent morning
growing freely
this rose
a reason
to live


Vibeke Laier, Denmark


spring morning
the name of a flower
i always remember
taking her
last breath


Vibeke Laier, Denmark


beneath
the moon of
a quiet night
the secret of
my poetry dreams


Vibeke Laier, Denmark


trying to express
childhood's
nuances of light
footprints on
the seaside


Vibeke Laier, Denmark


the secrets
we share
in this moonlight
a dream
on a distant star

Vibeke Laier, Denmark



The first blackberries
Fat, deep purple, promising
Stained fingers, stained lips
It is just Assumption Day
Early winter, coming soon


Bee Smith, The Republic of Ireland



stirring the ashes
I burn my fingers
how foolish
even now
to think the fire is out

~after Antonio Machado

Kenneth Slaughter, USA




Loud music. Fake trees.
Grim shoppers push through the crowds.
Food smells compete with
perfume. Windows show beach scenes.
Tan models lie – Luck’s for sale.


 Alison Stone, USA



Late April
(a tanka sequence)

Across the kitchen
table, a miniature
ping-pong net. The girls
giggle as they hit wildly
or miss. Puff leaps for stray balls.

Outside, bleeding hearts
dangle white valentines near
clumps of dark green shoots
we don’t remember planting.
The first daffodils are dead.

The cherry tree fed
by my daughter’s placenta
poofs with pink blossoms.
The girls begin to argue.
Their sharp voices join the birds’.


Alison Stone, USA





Daughter
(a tanka sequence)

          I watch you inch out
further onto the ash branch,
wait for the swaying
to subside before you reach
& pull yourself to the end.

          You always did think
yourself a bird. Sparrow, crow,
hawk: the great hunter,
always prepared to take fight—
for your wings to unfurl you.


Jenifer DeBellis, USA 




albatross
(a tanka sequence)
“y hay cuerpos que no deben repetirse en la aurora”
                        Ode to Walt Whitman, Federico Garcia Lorca


there was a beginning
an invitation to play pool,
the maneuver
to have another beer
on our first night together

there was a middle
complications—a need to
see you on my bed
running your hands through
the carapace of my skin

there was an end
A Farewell to Arms
of forgotten names
the last clown in a parade
you taking down the marquee

Sergio Ortiz, Puerto Rico


fear
(a tanka sequence)

as punishment
he locked me in the closet…
little did he know
I was more afraid of the shadow
behind the door

to keep from peeing
a treasure hunt inside his shoes
a roman coliseum
a few garments that smelled
like fish offal and scissors

there was
no such thing as terror,
a stutter,
or my mother’s empty
embrace



Sergio Ortiz, Puerto Rico


Artwork by Sheri L. Wright, United States.





Photo by: Xiao. Tanka by: Sergio Ortiz





Debbie Strange, Canada






Debbie Strange, Canada




Debbie Strange, Canada

Mary Davila, USA





Pat Geyer, USA




fear 
(tanka sequence)


as punishment
he locked me in the closet…
little did he know
I was more afraid of the shadow
behind the door

to keep from peeing
a treasure hunt inside his shoes
a roman coliseum
a few garments that smelled
like fish offal and scissors

there was
no such thing as terror,
a stutter,
or my mother’s empty

embrace



Sergio Ortiz, Puerto Rico




albatross
(a tanka sequence)


there was a beginning
an invitation to play pool,
the maneuver
to have another beer
on our first night together

there was a middle
complications—a need to 
see you on my bed
running your hands
through the carapace of my skin

there was an end
A Farewell to Arms
of forgotten names
the last clown in a parade
taking down the marquee


Sergio Ortiz, Puerto Rico




blue shibori scarf
dances in swirling zephyrs
your glistening skin
between mine and naked sky
before we swim together


Alan Gann, Plano Tx, USA


seven seconds left
and with outstretched arms catches
fifty yard touchdown
cheering fans head for their cars
the home team beat the point spread


Alan Gann, Plano Tx, USA


took the back roads home
stopped to walk along the beach
barefoot in the tide
dolphins roll beyond the point
sand dollars fill my pocket


Alan Gann, Plano Tx, USA


flat rock does not care
for warming sun or bodies
inspired intertwined
like virgins looking into
depths of a patient quarry


Alan Gann, Plano Tx, USA


summer leaves falling
too tired and hot to hang on
the long days stretching
sky and soil and plum
waiting for the cool breeze


Alan Gann, Plano Tx, USA




Wet morning, August
Has slipped away, dragged summer
Into soaking woods
Where small rabbits hide themselves
And squirrels bury rich fruit.


Steve Klepetar, USA


In the land of ice
A pale goddess rides her throne
Into winter’s night --
Wind moans in new ecstasy
And cold stars mock frozen earth.


Steve Klepetar, USA


My tongue on your thigh,
Your hands caressing my hair –
Only the slow death
Can shake us loose from moments
Grasped with such passionate force.


Steve Klepetar, USA


A bright fish struggling
On my line sends splashing spray
Over the gunnels of my
Small boat, where I have waited
Patiently for this brief gift.


Steve Klepetar, USA



Sun rises over
Knife River. Mist breaks and fades
To wisps and is gone.
Small boat glides along green reeds
Merging with the song of frogs.


Steve Klepetar, USA


Here in the garden
Pumpkins blaze beneath tall corn.
An old woman bends
In cool morning to gather
Plump tomatoes for her feast.


Steve Klepetar, USA


She walks a long mile
Aching in stiletto heels.
Her car has broken
Down on a dark country road
Far, far out of cell phone range.


Steve Klepetar, USA






boxes waiting to be filled
others waiting for labels
I know you have to leave
but just yesterday
I nursed you at my breast


--Terrie Leigh Relf, USA


sirens. . .
then fire trucks, EMTs, police
gather like carrion birds at the shore
they come too often now
at summer’s end


--Terrie Leigh Relf, USA


the rattle of ice
scent of lemon
how each sip of tea gives rise
to stories you shared
stories I wish we’d written down


--Terrie Leigh Relf, USA


we soak our feet
in a tide pool
a rogue wave rises
but you reach out
before the cliff claims me


--Terrie Leigh Relf, USA


rain blows sideways
trees shiver and crack
I light a candle
sit by the window
listen to Brahms


--Terrie Leigh Relf, USA


only a few weeks
since last we spoke
I bake you biscotti
reach out for the phone
remember you have passed


--Terrie Leigh Relf, USA




The stripes cup my breasts
like a dozen moons searching
for a sky to hold
them, as if a heavenly
body could ground them. As if.


Jenifer DeBellis, USA 


for Emily Dickinson

I wonder about
this wind, if, while you’re laughing
in your knowing way,
the softness of your sigh is
the bitter taste on my tongue.


Jenifer DeBellis, USA 


Rushing through the door
as water flows from hoses,
I find the children
bickering like mockingbirds—
rankled song notes taken flight.


Jenifer DeBellis, USA 


Secret garden blight
Winter’s raucous breath blows north
Snow turns into rain

Gargoyles spot warnings atop
Our upturned, curious heads.


Jenifer DeBellis, USA 


Rose coals line the pit.
Poked, prodded, a smoke line lifts
from the pit’s center
in cursive swirls as if they
were written by ancient hands.


Jenifer DeBellis, USA 


Eight arched windows frame
the garden room. Look upon
rolling greens lined with
balsam firs & lavender.
Hold back summer floral winds.


Jenifer DeBellis, USA  


japanese maple
burns gold, citrus, vermilion
a silent witness
in the calm of afternoon
filters sunlight, sifts for truth


Jenifer DeBellis, USA   






changing my
missing person’s report to
stolen property
my husband
found with yours


Susan Burch, USA


towering
over everyone
my gigantic dad
who spends his free time
making miniature figurines


Susan Burch, USA


making her look like
their kidnapped daughter
the adopted girl
never sees a photo
of herself


Susan Burch, USA


a rubix cube
a silk flower, a mood ring –
in grandmother’s purse
the things she carried
without knowing why


Susan Burch, USA


a single thought
of my father is
all it takes -
a teardrop in his urn
before I notice


Susan Burch, USA


too much cinnamon
in the applesauce
I gag
if only it were that easy
to catch you in a lie


Susan Burch, USA

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