Enter the Sacred #TankaTuesday

Sunlight filters through tidal barriers of air and water where animals bloom from salty rocks with the permanence of plants, and gardens wear the guise of animals in this place where swimming is soaring from the edges of canyons, hiding in coral caverns of this wondrously alien world, secretive, and brimming with creatures, some tempered by timidness, others leaping and diving from blue to blue.

enter the sacred

domain of eels and turtles

world beneath our world

taught by schools of parrotfish

to touch a dolphin’s wild joy

 

***

Denise Finn chose the wonderful prompt for this Ekphrastic challenge (poetry based on a visual image). If you click on her name, you can read her entry. As a scuba diver, I’m entranced by the underwater world.

My poem is called a “tanka prose,” a bit of prose followed by a tanka with a syllable count of 5/7/5/7/7.

The weekly #TankaTuesday syllabic poetry challenge is the brainstorm of Colleen at Wordcraft Poetry. Think about joining in. It’s great fun.

Children Forget

Title: Russian Dancers
Artist: Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris)
Date: 1899 via https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/459097

Children Forget

women dance their prayers

crowned in wreaths of wild color

in whirling skirts of flowers

arms entwined with arms

else breaking hearts bleed red streams

and children forget

love exists and joy endures

the dark whims of violence

nightmare days of warring men

**

The #TankaTuesday challenge this week explores Ekphrastic poetry inspired by visual art. The artwork was chosen by Colleen from WordCraft Poetry and poet and blogger Selma Martin. Their selection relies heavily on current events, however they wanted to be clear that their choice “is not a celebration of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” and they both “support Ukraine in its efforts to maintain its sovereignty.”

This poem is a syllabic form called a chōka with syllable counts of 5-7-7-5-7-5-7-7-7.

I chose to write about women as the bearers of hope, the guardians of children, and the protectors of joy and love during the dark days of war. (I know countless men share these qualities too).

Man in Control: Flash Fiction

Pixabay image

Brandon donned his latest acquisition—a  genuine silk suit. The industrious little silkworms bordered on extinct, and he finally ranked among the international elite who could afford their cocoons. His was new money, thanks to polished attorneys and creative accountants, both armed with tarnished ethics. 

He’d given himself two hours to make the one-hour trip from his penthouse to the corporate highrise across the gorge—one of a host of towers. And not the tallest. But he was only thirty-five, and the world was his chessboard, the match a move away from mate. In a few hours, a significant portion of the conglomerate’s assets would fall under his control.

He slipped into the leather recliner of his midnight-blue slider and tossed his briefcase on the seat beside him. “Headquarters. Skip the traffic and take the flyover.”

The slider’s cyber-system hummed to life. “Flyover not recommended.”

“Heavy traffic?”

“No traffic detected.”

Brandon mugged a face. “Then take the flyover.”

“Flyover not recommended.”

“Why not?”

“Flyover not recommended.”

“Override.” Brandon detached the console and typed his passcode, pleased to finally use the feature. He liked the idea of control, driving the slider instead of the slider driving him. The upgrade had cost him a small fortune. It would pay for itself that morning.

As the vehicle glided forward, Brandon closed his eyes and relaxed his shoulders. The slider veered from the congested rails onto the flyover, cruising into the pre-dawn darkness.

At the peak over the gorge, the slider decelerated and stopped. Brandon glanced out the window at the black depths below. Sunrise would soon carve sharp shadows across the cliffs and turn the river into molten gold.  “Proceed.”

“Not recommended.”

“Overide.” He typed in the code.

“Not recommended.”

“God damn it. Override.” He stabbed the console and received the same reply. After a quick check of his watch, he peered into the darkness ahead. “Is there a traffic problem?”

“No traffic detected.”

“What the hell? How long to back up and take the other route?”

“Estimated time three hours.”

Brandon barked a curse. He leaned forward and rubbed his hands together, changing tactics. “Override slider functions.”

“Not recommended.”

“Override braking system.”

“Not recommended.”

“Okay, how about override acceleration?”

“Not recommended.”

Brandon’s fist slammed onto the console, and the glass screen cracked. He tossed the damaged hardware onto the passenger seat. There was no point. His fate was sealed. He’d lost out on the biggest deal of his life.

“Cyber system impaired, reverting to manual overrides.”

“Ha!” Brandon checked the time. He’d make it if he flew. With the brake released, he pressed forward on the throttle. The slider responded, accelerated. With a laugh, he opened her up, and the bitch roared like a beast with a taste for speed.

The machine screamed down the other side of the flyover, lurched sideways on a damaged span of rail, and leaped into the sky. The sunrise blinded him as the slider plummeted, its throttle clutched in his white-knuckled hands. The golden river smashed the windshield into his face, his life, in the end, beyond his control.

***

destiny

disavowed

underlings deal and grasp

gold with white-knuckled fists

rapt in night’s deceptive dreams they fly

eyes blinded by a distant sunrise

snared by reckless desire

seconds gained and years lost

illusions

of control

***

It’s been a long time since I shared a flash story. I hope you enjoyed it.

I combined it with a syllabic poem in response to Colleen Chesebro’s weekly #TankaTuesday Wordcraft Challenge. Her challenge was to make up our own syllabic form! Well, that was fun. The one above has syllables 3/3/6/6/9/9/6/6/3/3. I named it a Distillate because it’s a distillation of a larger story. My guess is that every story’s theme can be captured in a poem, no matter how large the book. What do you think?

Dare to Choose #TankaTuesday

Pixabay image by Pretty Sleepy

Dare to Choose

clockwork

doorways beckon

gears and pistons fastened

we seek a master’s silver key

to click

 

unlock

we brave of heart

silence snaps with a snick

cogs whir and teeth weave as hands tick

time twirls

 

in loops

knobs thump, rings spin

through creamy clouds of steam

oil and grease, wheels whirl, and rust flakes

doors break

 

open

to infinite

portals, countless choices

through keyholes we peek before doors 

creak closed

 

defy

the gyrations

clockwork machinations

we wield the ancient key and dare

to choose

***

I had the pleasure of choosing the image for February’s Ekphrastic prompt, and then struggled mightily to write for it! This poem is a Crown Cinquain, five stanzas, each with syllable count of 2/4/6/8/2.

The weekly #TankaTuesday syllabic poetry challenge is the brainstorm of Colleen at Wordcraft Poetry. Think about joining in. It’s great fun.

Solstice: #Tanka Tuesday

pixabay image

Solstice

Winter dawns, heralded by dreary skies and the sun’s retreat. Wind-whipped rain blusters, casting free the remnants of autumn’s crinkled leaves. Woodland creatures burrow into the roots of things, latent, enduring, and twinkling colors gleam in frost-rimmed windows, a warm false-light to see us through the darkness. Oh, do not despair during these days of dying, for the magic of this wise world welcomes the first day of winter with the return of light.

mornings by moonglow

shadows hushed in shades of blue

twilit afternoons

winter’s darkness shrouds the day

while solstice promises spring

***

This tanka prose is in response to Colleen’s #TankaTuesday challenge. A “tanka prose” is a piece of prose followed by a tanka with syllable count 5/7/5/7/7. For inspiration, she prompted us to write about any festival or tradition we celebrate during the month of December. Happy Solstice!

Unknowable: #TankaTuesday

Image Credit: Kerfe Roig

This poem is my attempt at a crapsey cinquain for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday. It’s inspired by Kerfe’s visual art above.

~

Unknowable

starlight

stitched in patterns

weaves a vast universe

deciphering the mystical

with faith

~

I’m on the road, hiking around here:

File:Shasta At Night (258050167).jpeg
Mount Shasta. Credit: Dheera Venkatraman, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

So, I may be a bit delayed with comments and visits. But I’ll catch up. Thanks for stopping by!

Fades to Black

Pixabay image by Susan Cipriano

A double Etheree for Colleen’s mid-month poetry photo challenge. This month’s photo was selected by Jane Dougherty.

Fades to Black

white

ice melts

in trickles

etching gullies

calving blue glaciers

until oceans submerge

gray ashes of field and farm

when birds and butterflies succumb

will we bray for justice, thoughts and prayers

proclaim false innocence, righteous despair

or rue our excuses and pay our debts

spill tears for an absent tomorrow

bewildered as our children drown

between islands of lost trees

rooted in salt waters

among dying leaves

a wasted world

of green life

fades to

black

 

 

Faded Valentines #Tanka Tuesday

pixabay

Faded Valentines

glued
glittered
valentines
gifts for mommy
scribbled words of love
fly from children’s fingers
to rest in attic boxes
while affections stray to others
and in the dawn of a winter’s day
she unfolds her faded hearts, loved anew

**

In honor of Valentine’s Day, an etheree for
Colleen’s #tanka Tuesday.
No prompt words this week.

**

And a bonus!
My Grandson’s Valentine’s Day Poem
(age 5)

Love is red
Love makes me happy
Love is connected to peace
Love is about Martin Luther King
I love my family
more than infinity

 

Autumn

pixabay image

In celebration of Colleen’s 100th poetry challenge! A haibun/tanka.

Autumn

I love autumn, even though it’s a season of dying. There’s no ignoring the withering of vines and weeds, the fading light and deepening chill. Leaves cease gobbling up sunlight and chlorophyll breaks down. The green ripeness withdraws, revealing shades of canary yellow, pumpkin, and fire-engine red… before crisping to brown. How softly life let’s go. With a breath of wind, it drifts and returns to the earth. Nature is wise, isn’t she… to make this time of dying so beautiful? There are lessons in each of her rolling seasons. The graceful fall of Fall mirrors my experience working in hospice. If we are lucky we will spend our autumns like the leaves, in beauty and glory, bright and brisk of spirit, joyous and beloved… and let go with a whisper to dance on the wind.

I glide with the wind
in autumn’s celebration
gold and vermillion
a confetti of crimson
dying in graceful beauty