Tanka Kukai 2

Roundtable Tanka Kukai 2, Fall 2009

looking around my room
thinking of what to write
I see a Bavarian clock
and a bag from Prague
I’m not here anymore

head in my hands
the sandy butterfly
drifts to the ground
silent as my sobs

a few stray leaves
on the lake's
the one
that sinks

kids asleep
we stay up
about what to do
with the baby starling

the train passes by
in the late hours of midnight
my eyes wander from my window
to the bright
light of my computer screen

candle. next to a picture
of a husband
a father
a man who once was.
he is remembered.

I stare at the phone
await the rings
the minutes,
hours and days
such silence

my secret
you turn away
          i catch myself
falling in love again

coming home
a man
from the war
that started
in middle school

vine ripe tomatoes
steeping in jars
gentle rattle
the pop of vacuum seals
what will you say next?

a girl in white
waits alone
under the streetlight
kicking her legs
in impatience

one black balloon
rises over campus
with a prayer
the others

at the bar
I met a goddess
several drinks later
I don’t know where she went—
what was her name?

asleep in day
awake at night
in my dreams
I see your eyes
disappointment awakens

the misty rain
tickles my face
as I search
for a dry place
to scribble down tanka

bird hits clear glass
breaks a leg
its nothing new
I feel his pain

the clearing at dusk
you take my hand
lead me deep
into forests
of dream

in the section called
modern artists
I run into a hanging string
the guard bellows
don’t touch the art!

a tie dye scarf
looks cute
but matches nothing
I wear it
because it’s from you.

I sit
in my chair
cold weather
brings back

looking at the picture
of us together
i hope
she misses me
or at least thinks about me

i never stopped to
look in your eyes ‘til now, and
now I’m afraid that
I can’t
get out.

outside the rain falls
inside the tears pour—
how long before
the sun shines
and the tears dry?

you send me a photo
of a cute puppy
a smile turns into sadness
my own mutt

walking under the
leaves that haven’t fallen yet
a squirrel throws a
nut to scold me for something
I probably didn’t do.

I slowly
scratch my beard
for new ideas—
an old
Philosopher’s trick

waking up to the
sound of a bluejay on my
window-sill, I can’t
shake the feeling that I dreamed
of something cruel last night.

i drop by for a visit
her picture still
in the

football game over
our slow walk
to the gate
not wanting to say
goodbye again

i find myself
blindfolded by ignorance
i learn
to ask for help

as the responsible one
I should have
told her no
now lilies grow on the banks
of our childhood

who tucked me into bed
and told me stories
that filled my head

these hands
these steel toed shoes
what can I build
so the end is not
merely more dust?

winding road
to the monastery
so many questions
rehearsed before
a vow of silence

drawing circles
in my palm
you say that
I will grow old
without you

I admire you
Eiffel tower
for your beauty
and wonder—
how many more stairs?

in the background
when did
become loud?

I love you
with all my heart.
How many more times
do I have to say it
before you believe it.

cutting through the fog
sweet and tender
your voice
the melody of a song
we both once knew

© 2009, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.