2 Tanka Kukai

Roundtable Tanka Kukai 2, Fall 2011

the sun reflects off the lake
silence echoes off the docks
I wave to a fellow runner.
Worries couldn't be
more miles away

we walked across the stage
moving our tassels from
one side to the other
fifty years ago
seems like yesterday

the mournful melody
of the train whistle
passing through this tired town
someone is going home--
i wave.

your blackened fingertips
trace the path
of a maze in the newspaper
and cannot find the end--
neither can i

the day I long for every year
counting down the days
but this year I cringe
knowing this Christmas
I have to finally face you

wandering through
a used book store
I pull an old volume from the shelf
take in the smell
and move along

his anger aimed
at me
i evade
another hole
punched in the wall

I play with my food
at brunch with grandmother
my due date approaching
she asks him again
when he intends to marry me

a great friend
sees me walking
he shouts my surname
after so long
it could be a symphony

the stares and whispers
as she walks down the hallway
she wonders how they know
as she holds onto
her still flat belly

hot, soothing tea
laughter and conversation
until I speak his name
and she whispers
her inmost secret

Fragrant coffee fumes
wafting through the empty apartment
the scent
echoes more loudly
than your words

sniffing me like if I'm
unknown to you
I took you
for your first walk
more like you walked me

hakuna matata
is the life!
Fame, women, beer
until my heart
gets frostbite

majestic and serene,
white mist
rises from the river--
i once thought
home was on the other side

sparkling reflections of light
leap across the ocean's surface
beneath which
my heart now lies,

a simple third letter
sent in the mail
all it held
was a stamp . . .
write me back?

One simple question
do you believe in love
at first sight
wipe my tears
and say you do

visiting the old neighborhood
with the kids in the car
I don't know why
but I lie to them
about which house was mine

watching the rain
illuminated by
cars' headlights
i remember when
you called me beautiful

only together
for 2 days
but how quickly
we fell back
into old habits

at the forgotten park bench
she holds a tea party
for spiders
and squirrels . . .
Peace here.

half way there
livin' on a prayer
c'mon old reliable
don't fail me now
sput sput sput

turning left
turning right
I hike this mountain
on a journey
to touch the sky

you wake me
with a kiss
eggs, ham, and pancakes
then put me to
sleep in tears

I think
I wonder
I give up
drowning in these
snow white bubbles

Rain pours down
like an evening shower
softening the roughest of edges
Heh--even makes my hood
worth living in.

warming my toes
in the bathtub
after a long walk home
the smell of Christmas cookies
fills the house

back in your arms
you squeeze me close
as if afraid that
when I leave
I'll disappear this time


in the meadow,
next to him,
my heart races
as his hand
brushes against mine

blossoming angst
like a dark, fetid flower.
the girl
you'd never show
your parents.

Silence as the sun rises
Comfort as we lay closer
Peace as your breathing matches my own
I wait patiently
For the alarm clock

I love you
three words
as fake as the
artificial flowers
on your grave

I open the door
a look of surprise and happiness
fills her wisdomed face
as she tells me
the bathroom needs cleaning

sighs echo
like slammed doors
running through gypsy blood.
Who knew I'd come home
travel sized?

the temple wisteria
chasing my
flustering thoughts.
who knew god
was so easily offended!

early Christmas morning
their sick child's third night
in the ICU
no coffee shops
are open yet

she shoots at him
he stabs at her
they both miss
on purpose

in the mirror
she shows off her milky thighs.
new heels,
celebrating six months
without your bruises

calm wind
under a tree
immersed in an adventure
sword drawn
to save the princess

staring at the rain
wondering where you
are at this very moment
are you thinking
about me too?

racing their walkers
down the hallway to the caf
two old kooks
in love at last . . .
warm chocolate pudding.

for the first time
since I left,
i surprise you
on your front porch

I am Rose.
in full bloom
my black petals spout
in need of nothing but
space, air, & quiet

a three hour drive
becomes five.
Sitting in the wrong state,
I ponder . . .

so much to do,
so little time
in my BIG BLUE hoodie
discussing how soon I'll be
back again

rolling in the leaves
we pretend to be dragons,
tossing rings of smoke
and . . . enlightenment
into the stars

Christmas Eve snowstorm
she still drives on
having decided it was finally time
for her two year old
to meet his grandparents

the sharp prick of a needle
stealing my blood,
offering to another
what I can no longer circulate
with this broken heart

I return to find
my blood in a pool
on the porch steps
of my house—
warm, thick, & strong

I have missed you
so much . . .
and carving
jack 'o lanterns
was a beautiful surprise

this creaky home
full of good memories
feels quite lonely
his room
emptied, cleaned, repainted

faded pictures
in a dust coated album,
still smooth to the touch.
i feel the sudden urge
to walk

struggling to figure out
where she went wrong
she had it all mapped out
now all she feels is

memories of childhood
are their only bond
he tries and tries
but she says

weak, tired, and broken
I feel
Holy Spirit rush in
lux aeterna

in the moment
before I kiss you
I brush the hair from your eyes
and want nothing more
than to hold this breath

breathless whispers
are still a mist
in my mind.
i can hardly
find my way home again

our sport is crashing
into brick walls.

twilight kiss
under a willow
as fireflies dance around us
and crickets serenade
our hearts our whole

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