Tanka Kukai 1 Favorites

Roundtable Tanka Kukai 1, Fall 2011

I pack to leave again,
I'll be gone for only a day.
My greatest guilt
the sad look
on your brown dog face.

Kendall Robison

alone in the room
where we used to fight
I am still trapped
beneath the weight
of your love

Samantha Parks (4)

the love of my life
silently signs his name
and leaves
his ring
on the table

Desi Thomas

I like the finality of this tanka. Is he leaving in general, or just a brief time? Was the ring a symbol of their commitment, a sign that he is giving his devotion to her to her as a momento, or a way to cut the ties of the relationship. The fluidity of this tanka is what drew myself to it, and the vagueness of it keeps me guessing what the hell the author was thinking. Joe

The feeling that I get from this tanka is one of overwhelmingly unrequited love. I feel as if the narrator is reluctantly letting these events, probably a divorce, happen while she still loves the man. I feel as if she only wants what he wants. Another way that I interpreted this tanka after going back and reading it several timeswas that I got a sense of bitterness and sarcasm from the first line. The first line "the love of my life" can almost be seen as sarcasm because of the subject of the last four lines. The divorce may have made the narrator bitter and cynical about the actual meaning of "the love of my life". Kendall

circle dance
around the newly-weds
the groom hopes
that the third time
is really the charm

Nora Kocher (5)

the way you look
at me sometimes,
like you undress me
with your eyes,
brings shivers to my spine

Morgan Ewald

October wind,
you bring
the only thing
left for me
to hold on to

Morgan Ewald (3)

late at night
as we philosophize
my drunk and more worldly cousin
fiercely implores us
not to try crack

Nora Kocher

I tried to choose tanka from the kukai sheet that we had not already discussed in class.For this tanka, I specifically enjoyed the use of the word "philosophize" in the second line because of the way that almost matures the interactions going on between the "we". I almost get the sense that the scene is one of college students getting drunk in an apartment, talking, and calling it philosophizing. Also interesting about this tanka is the description of the cousin and the message of the cousin figure. I get a sincere sense of regret mixed in the fourth and fifth line that contrasts between the humor of the third line. Overall, the message of this tanka speaks about life's regrets. Kendall

hot water burns my skin
I scrub hard
making a red mark
that starts to welt
Why won't he come off?

Desi Thomas (7)

born in the Low End
raised in the Woods
cash, cars, clothes: drugs
packin' heat: choppas
and this is the 'Thug life?'

Desi Thomas (5)

it's amazing how
everything seems
before we realize
it isn't real

Morgan Ewald

Icompletely love this!!! If I would've made it to class this past Wednesday I would've loved this tanka!! It reminds me of facebook, rpg's, and every other fantastical game us as humans play to make ourselves feel "better." Let's face it, who doesn't like kicking minesweeper's ass? Andthen we realize that our math homework has been left unattended for a hour or so and we frown. Joe

summer swelter
hosing off the horse
I secretly take
a long cool

Nora Kocher (3)

living together
like the three musketeers
through the best and worst
i'm on my own

Owen Kosik (5)

This tanka also spoke to me from a personal standpoint. I had a couple friends from home who I did everything with. They were two guys, because I tend to get along better with guys than girls, but we always hung out and were super close and shared everything with each other. We laughed with each other, and cried with each other, and did fun things like go to Denny's super early in the morning or super late at night to get bacon. But then the summer started coming to an end, and I started packing for school and getting ready, and I remember on the last days that I hung out with these friends, that it felt like we were splitting up a group, sort of like the three musketeers. And then before I knew it, I was here at school, and at first, I felt really alone. Morgan

aunts cousins and sisters
gathered in the kitchen
the laughter ceases
when someone accidentally mentions
her late husband

Nora Kocher (5)

an empty face is what I see
when I think of her
treading slowly
with flowers and tears
Hello, mother

a little bee
buzzes quietly by,
while the realizations
of what i've done

Morgan Ewald (4)

a love affair
in the Garden of Eden:
petal after petal falls,
leaving only

Joe Sparks (6)

on a windy Sunday
you look at me nervously
I receive the keys to your house,
and your heart.
I reply instantly.

Kendall Robison

This is my second favorite Tanka Kukai. When I read this Tanka I picture newly weds moving into their new home. The husband is handing the wife the keys to not only their newhome but to his heart. Her accepting the keys symbolizes her respond inmarriage. The fact that its on a windy Sunday symbolizes the holyness in the marriage because Sunday is usually a church day or as other's might refer to asthe day of the week dedicated to god. Cristy

teen suicide
whispers through
the school
everyone knows
her name now

Randy Brooks (6)

always overshadowed
by the chosen one
I have a lot to give
does Hermione see?
I hope she does

Bill Rzesutko

a dandelion seed
carried by a furious wind,
drowning in a river
another wish

Brittany Mytnik

I can just see this little kid, blowing a dandelion seed off the stem thinking she got her wish because the wind carried the seed away and out of sight, but the girl doesn't know that once it was out of her sight, the wind dropped the seed off into the river, destroying it. And I think of the picture of the girl blowing the seed and wishing as something beautiful, and the wind ruins that and destroys it. And I think of how many wishes people have had and lost because of something they cannot control. It makes me sad to think about. Morgan

the chapel
resonates light
from the people within
but my light
feels so painful

the changing clouds above
blue skies
a warm breeze
when at last her voice
brings me back

Ashley Longcor (5)

I loved the imagery used in this poem. I was able to fit it perfectly with scenes that I have seen in the past, particularly around my home. The changing clouds, warm breeze and blue skies invoked images of my childhood wherein I was playing outside and enjoying a beautiful day. These days always ended with my mother hollering "MIKE! OWEN! COME ON!" so the ending fits very well with the images that I derive from the rest of the tanka. Owen

puddles of summer moonlight . . .
beneath the forest's eyes
we embrace
to drink magic from lips
and pray autumn away

Samantha Parks (6)

I adore the imagery in this tanka. I have noticed that a lot of the tanka that has been written in the class has some imagery followed mostly by reflection and an intriguing thought or idea. In this case, however, there is almost all imagery, which I find very captivating and unique. I am drawn into the realm of this tanka from the first line, and kept there throughout. Even afterwards I am left pondering about the picture that has been painted, and I do not want to leave. The word choice is excellent and consistent for setting a scene in a forest, almost like a fairy tale, as we mentioned in class. Brittany

i touch the back
of your hand
wondering how many others
have been held
by it

Brittany Mytnik (5)

This was one of myfavorite from Tanka Kukai 1 because when I read this I think of people and trust issues. No relationship will ever be perfect because in the back of oneshead there will always be that question of who was there before me? This person sounds like someone with insecurities who doesn't necessarily not trust their partner but can't help but be jealous of those who have had this other person's love or help. Cristy

a full plate
I give thanks
for these carrots
potatoes, roast beef
all the dreams in your eyes

after stoking the fire
I brush the ashes from my hair
and smile
perhaps tomorrow
I'll burn his memories too

Samantha Parks (8)

I also enjoyed the descriptions used in this tanka. It seems that the person has just ended a serious relationship on very bad terms. The fire could be being used to dispose of old photos or other memorabilia from the relationship, and it would seem that the narrator is contemplating some way to remove even the memories from her mind. This could also be interpreted as a murder-suicide story: the narrator just burned her partner and is considering burning herself the next day. Either way, the subtle implications of insanity and the tone of sadness make for a very good poem. Owen

I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine
a mantra repeats in different tones
I know I'm fine
but it doesn't hurt
to be sure.

you close the door
I shut my eyes
wondering how you
could take that love
away from me

the tip of your nose
covered in kisses
I bathe you in
the sunlight
of mid-morning daydreams

Samantha Parks (6)

This tanka creates a very bright, comfortable atmosphere for me as a reader. Initially, I had pictures it being a romantic situation, but I prefer the interpretation of a mother and child, actually. I imagine a woman in a nursery cradling her sleeping baby, the blinds open just a bit, and beams of morning light are filtering inside, casting rays upon the two. However, it does not matter how much light there is in the room, because the mother will always be able to see the child in the "sunlight/ of mid-morning daydreams" that she herself creates. It seems very beautiful, relaxed, and adorable in its simplicity. Brittany

first day of school
she comes home
waving a yellow form
her lifelong dream
to play the violin

Carmella Braniger (5)

© 2011, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.