Saturday, July 25, 2015

Prune Juice, Issue 16, July, 2015

Gnarled Oak, Issue 4, July 2015

A Reverence for Rust

rusted wheels
carrying us toward
the hymn of home

a haloed sun
beckons us beyond
the rusty gate

pressed prayers
these rusting memories
between our palms

rust-flecked silo
our songs still echo

Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 6, July 2015

they teased me
when I was a girl
my voice
deeper than any boy's
my chest full of thunder

a spoonful
of nuclear medicine
too late to save my brothers
not too late to heal the world

that phone call
all those years ago
I still see
a serpent writhing
between her fingers

the breath
of a chimney hangs
in the frosty air
so many questions
you left unanswered

an old friend
unable to say the words
hands me a note
tissue-thin and faded
he thinks he might be gay

NeverEnding Story, July 2015

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu

in my open hands
the slow drift
of our memories
filling up winter

Chrysanthemum, Number 15, April 2014

Chen-ou's comments:

A simile, emotional and visual, is skillfully established between the two parts of the poem, and the winter of remembrance of the things past would make the speaker feel much colder than winter itself.

Friday, July 24, 2015

All the Shells, Tanka Society of America Members' Anthology 2014

in your thief's nest
a clutch
of silver wishes speckled
with joy and sorrow

a stranger's face
in the mirror
i saw myself

in unexpected rain
I cover you
with the unfurled umbrella
of a daughter's hands


In this seemingly effortless tanka by Debbie Strange, the first line, a single word, snags my attention. "Caught"? Then, what is that "unexpected rain"? Come line three, the tone and pace change: there's hope. "Unfurled" reminds me of newly opened petals. And much symbolism is contained in the simple word "hands." They're not just any hands, and they're not "my" hands, but they're the hands of a daughter. The narrator, with humillity and tenderness, comes to the aid of a person who may or may not be one of her parents. I like how the entire poem can be read both literally and metaphorically, and I appreciate the restraint and overall skill Debbie has exhibited.

—Janet Lynn Davis, Vice President
Tanka Society of America

Bright Stars Tanka Anthology, Vol. 3, June 2014

a love song
for you
baiting the hook
reeling you in

the endless highway
her twin's only son
and his girl

in the forest
ghostly Indian Pipe
e m e r g e s
out of moss and earth
older than I'll ever be

collecting flowers
to press inside my book of you
gathering words
of stone and feathers
acorn poems in my pocket

in the highlands
we are standing stones
toward each other
f r a g m e n t e d

in my pocket
an opened invitation
I already know
the name of his new wife
the name of my best friend

at the clinic
one pale woman
while they review
her mammogram

snow stars
in the grace notes
of your hair

you cradle
my stone sorrows
in the leaf
of your palm
sifting me into sand

she flew
from the tropics
to the prairies
carrying orchid leis
for her winter sisters

on Santa's lap
year after year
she asks for one thing:
a father who stays

fly with me
over the mountains
in the curve
of a magpie's black wing

a nest for you
blood-tipped raven feathers
from my brooding breast

dissolving into wind
over the prairie
ancestral bones
remember my name

pine needles
stitch my lips together
a silent vow
the forest has heard
so many broken promises

our breath
wispy quills of maroon
a graceful ballet
in the sky

a heart in sand
i offer
my beloved's name
to the boundless sea

a fox
on the cabin steps
our dog asks
if she can go out

black ice
and snow angels
at twilight
we are riven
we are stone

into midnight
by stars upon stars
nothing but stars

your lips
a perfect storm
raining kisses
into the chipped bowls
of my unquiet hands


I see now
with my inner eye
that she always walked alone
beside the waters
that called her name
a small song rang out

a firestorm
is raging in her belly
she rends the heated cloth
and bares the scars
upon her naked breast
she is leaving, she is leaving

after she
is said and dead and done
we are earthbound
dust sparkles
on our wings though
we are still too singed to fly

mother, why
does the torment of your life
still haunt me
daughter, let go
you were never meant
to bear my cross of stone

O (No) Canada

shame on us
thousands of aboriginals
in nutritional experiments
and residential schools

now they search
the dump for bodies
hundreds of missing
and murdered Indigenous sisters
whose spirits wait for justice

Crocodile Tears

Oh, those crocodile tears. You painted your face with them every time you wanted something from me. All it took was a single tear quivering on the tip of your lash, and I would dissolve into a crush of bruised petals beneath your feet. You devoured me with lips dripping lies like honey. When you finally spit me out, I was nothing more than a shadow.

they said
I squandered my only life
on quarter moons
and pennies
for your thoughtlessness

New York Room

(After Edward Hopper, Room in New York, 1932)

Passing an open window on a sobbing afternoon, I catch a fleeting glimpse of you, reading. I wonder if the broken arrows of world news are piercing your conscience, or whether you are charting a new course on the unfolded map of your heart. Perhaps your mind's inward-looking eye is remembering the nothing and everything of me. Your woman in red presses the keys of the piano tenderly, as if they are recalling the song of your flesh, though there is no answering thrum. I avert my knowing gaze from the ache of her unsuspected future.

through keyholes
all the things
we wish
we could unsee

1st Place
Writers' Collective/Winnipeg Free Press Short Fiction Contest, 2011


I came in off my land 20 years ago, weary and beaten down inside and outside. My man was gone. My kids were gone. Now I'm nearly gone. I'm brittle as bone, scarred by the sun, with furrows as deep as those on the land.

thumbing history
through train track-stitched prairie
to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
and its mountain
of bleached skulls

I'm the town's school librarian now, and it's a comforting job having out-of-date, yellowing, and dog-eared books as my faithful companions. Books have always seduced me, and I gorge on them like some sweet pleasure that I will soon be denied. The library's fusty air and squeaking floorboards are both soothing and inspiring. This is where I began to work on the book that will bear my name.

at the library
aspiring writers
from inky cocoons
unfolding new wings

Accompanying each story in my manuscript is a photograph of a derelict building that will soon vanish from the face of the earth. The pictures help to breathe life into the tales told by those forlorn walls. A stately old farmhouse has taken root up on a nearby hill, with a vista of swaying golden wheat surrounding it. Defending the sagging front porch are two gnarled lilac trees that scarcely bloom. The front door dangles askew, and most of the windows are wounded. Inside the house, shreds of decayed curtains and patches of water-stained wallpaper are still visible, but nearly all the paint has peeled away. Lacy cobwebs float everywhere, while puffs of dust rise with each footfall.

dirty thirties
three million acres
d r i f t i n g
in a dust cloud of dreams
over the Atlantic

I'm wary while setting up my tripod. Hunting season is fast approaching, and I've been winged a time or two over the years. I guess I've always looked like something wild. My breathing is slow and easy as I frame the scene. Suddenly, the house on the hill is violently splitting asunder, creaking and groaning like a ship going aground. There is no time to capture the image of the crumpling veteran. As the house willingly surrenders its ghosts, a towering cloud of roiling dust rises over the hill.

hover and moan
then disappearing
into smoke

In the dusk, as I am crawling over the pile of bleached bones that were once a home, white feathers begin to swirl like snowflakes over the wreckage. I look up at the silhouette of a whistling swan gliding across the face of the moon. Then, I put my hands in traces of something that looks and smells a lot like blood.

1st Place (prose excerpt)
Writers' Collective/Winnipeg Free Press Fiction Contest, 2012

NeverEnding Story, February 2015

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu

moon garden . . .
the night blooms
with scent

Gems Anthology of Haiku, Senryu and Sedoka, July 2014

Chen-ou's comments:

L1 establishes the scenic context, while Ls 2&3 enhance the tone and mood through evocative sensory images (visual and olfactory) portrayed in a fresh new way.

NeverEnding Story, March 2015

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu

in broken bottles
all those words
you didn't say
glinting in the sun

Bright Stars, Volume 1, 2014

Chen-ou's comments:

Ls 1&2, referring to the cross-culturally allusive phrase "Message in a Bottle," establish the thematic and emotional context, while Ls 3-5 enhance the negative mood of the poem.

NeverEnding Story, January 2015

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu:

bats dart
in and out of light
we no longer speak
each other's language

A Hundred Gourds, 3:2, March 2014

Chen-Ou's comments:

Unlike a classic waka whose jo ("prefatory image") is logically metaphoric or at least resonates closely with the emotional point of the tanka, the prefatory image (depicted in Ls 1-3) of Debbie's tanka forms a thematically and emotionally dialectical relationship with the main statement (Ls 4&5) of the poem, which sparks the reader's reflection on human relationships.

And the issue of language, written (as implied in L3) or spoken (as indicated in L5), takes on metaphoric significance.

One Man's Maple Moon: 66 Selected English-Chinese Bilingual Tanka, Volume 1, 2014

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu

on father's coffin
the cowboy hat and polished boots
of a prairie Gael
the skirling pipes
that sing him home

Skylark, Volume 1, Number 2, Winter 2013 

Gnarled Oak, Issue 2, February 2015

I was honoured to have my phrase "the velocity of night" chosen by the editor, James Brush, to be the title for issue 2 of Gnarled Oak.

Moongarlic E-zine, Issue 2, May 2014

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Akitsu Quarterly, Summer 2015

columbine . . .
i used to think
of flowers

empty chrysalis . . .
the summer snap
of sugar peas

moon nugget . . .
a river otter's pelt

Gnarled Oak, Issue 1, December 2014

a wild sky
tethered to earth . . .
chain lightning

World Haiku Review, June 2015

cows and calves
bawling at weaning time
my breasts ache

Vanguard Category
Zatsuei Haiku of Merit

World Haiku Association, June 2015

131st Monthly Haiga Contest

Shamrock, Number 31, June 2015

a muskrat
sequins of sun ripple
the silence

Hedgerow Poems, Number 34, June 2015

The Heron's Nest, Vol. 17, Number 2, June 2015

Perseid shower
the scent of tamarack
on the campfire

evening fog
antlers ghosting through
the coulee

VerseWrights, 2015

NeverEnding Story, June 2015

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu

on the tundra
caging a winter sky
caribou bones

3rd Place, Second Annual "aha" Hortensia Anderson Awards, 2014

Chen-ou's comments:

Like the judge an'ya, I'm impressed by Debbie's striking imagery portrayed in her haiku, and her great verb choice -- caging -- lifts the poem up a notch.

Skylark, Vol. 3, Number 1, Summer 2015

the staves
of my brittle breast
split open
you set me adrift
in uncharted waters

Red Lights, Vol. 11, Number 2, June 2015

this is where I took
the double exposure of us
I didn't know it then,
but you were already fading,
half the way to being gone

there is healing
in the ministry of moonlight
the dark lifts
with my spirit at dawning
I am reborn to rise up

kettle lakes
punctuate the prairie
come, sit still
we will become reeds
for red-winged blackbirds

Hedgerow Poems, Number 33, June 2015

Frameless Sky, Issue 2, June 2015

did i dream i heard
your wings

summer storm
a wheelbarrow overflows
with petals

birdsong the lilting summer dawn

A Hundred Gourds, Issue 4:3, June 2015

fare thee well
my own true love
when i sing
those songs of home
a thrush flies from my mouth

Hedgerow Poems, Number 30, May 2015

Cattails, May 2015

in the pond
a white begonia
and old news

bumper crop
a grasshopper sky
all that remains

monkshood . . .
the vows you broke
last summer

dance class . . .
all the questions
you side-step

the killdeer
feigning a broken wing
leads me
away from her makeshift nest
(I am still easily fooled)

Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 5, May 2015

Moonbathing, Issue 12, Spring/Summer 2015

a monk
places the last grain
of sand
on the mandala
everyone e x h a l e s

World Haiku Association, May 2015

130th Monthly Haiga Contest

Frogpond, Vol. 38:2, Spring/Summer 2015

tall grass prairie
the sound of summer
between our lips

Hedgerow Poems, Number 29, May 2015

Atlas Poetica, Number 21, May 2015

rusted train tracks
over abandoned prairie
beckon us into the light
until we become blind

they wondered
if she was a changeling
this fey child
with alabaster skin
and raven-feather hair

we seek refuge
under a railway trestle
by flamenco dancers
with hailstone castanets

rogue wildfire
a matchstick forest
in the burn ward
the screams of a child

the boy
slipped off his medal
placing it gently
around the neck
of his grandfather

Prairie Quills

they made
my sister give me
her new doll
every time I wheezed
between shots of adrenaline

each morning
we vomited our porridge
on the bus ride
over roller coaster hills
to a one-roomed school

the slop pail
always needed emptying
that winter
we found three kittens
frozen on the windowsill

we choked
on the acrid smell
of singed feathers
never forgetting
how lifeblood drips away

Sonic Boom, Issue 2, April 2015

Gusts, Number 21, Spring/Summer 2015

on the cusp
of my sixtieth year
I cast off
my spent carapace
in the moon-damp night

mule deer
resting in a thicket
by the slough
all over this world
the sound of guns

spring peepers
beside the swollen rill
how plaintive
the sound of longing
this anniversary night

Hedgerow Poems, Issue 26, April 2015

The Haiku Foundation, EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration, April 2015

Theme: Light

riding the sway-backed barn setting sun

Frogpond 37:3, Autumn 2014

a dragon kite
carries the sun
in its mouth

Tinywords 15.1, February 2015

moonglow . . .
a thousand jellyfish
in an ocean of sky

Cattails, September 2014

World Haiku Association, April 2015

129th Monthly Haiga Contest

Romanian Kukai Group, Sharpening the Green Pencil Haiku Contest

Translated into Romanian by Cezar Florin CIOBICA

I make a wish for
one more summer

The Third Haiku Contest
Sharpening the Green Pencil, 2014

Translated into Romanian by Corneliu Traian Atanasiu

out to pasture
only the wind upon
her bent back

The Fourth Haiku Contest
Sharpening the Green Pencil, 2015

Gnarled Oak, Issue 3, April 2015

These Hands

These hands cradled the window-stunned sparrow, and caressed the stiff hairs on the hide of the elephant.

These hands tended the garden, strummed the strings, and focused the lens on all things abandoned and broken.

These hands held the walking stick up the mountain, over the frozen river, and down the path of enlightenment.

These hands kneaded the dough, carried water from the well, and kindled the fire of longing . . .

gnarled driftwood
these hands
no longer able to play
the soft notes of your skin

Hedgerow Poems, Number 25, April 2015

old mare
on her back
the sun

Chrysanthemum, Number 17, April 2015

Translated into German

Atlas Poetica Special Feature, April 2015

Myths and the Creative Imagination

the bride's spirit entered
a white horse
roaming an eternity of plains
in search of her Cree warrior

Haiku Canada, The Betty Drevniok Award, 2015

the whistle
of a wood duck . . .
her last breath

Honourable Mention
Betty Drevniok Award, 2015

Prune Juice, Issue 15, March, 2015

Bones, Number 6, March 2015


World Haiku, Number 11, 2015

Translated into Japanese

I turned around
and you were grown

at pier's end
a yellow ladder
steps in sky

full milk moon
on the glass lake
a spill of light

Ribbons, Vol. 11, Number 1, Winter 2015

we walk a path
paved with aspen gold
my torn pocket
filled with nothing
but your warm hand

TanshiArt, 2015

Modern Haiku, Vol. 46.1, Winter-Spring 2015

autumn sunrise
a beaver's fur glistens
with aspen dust

the yink and yank
of white-breasted nuthatches
we no longer speak

Soft Thunder, British Haiku Society Tanka Awards, 2014/2015

with rainsong
whispering in my ear
how could I
not have known that
the time had come for leaving

British Haiku Society Tanka Awards, 2014/2015

Judges' Report:

Ron Woollard: The sense of melancholy and sadness is delicately drawn.

Beverley George: The sorrow of parting delicately expressed.

migrating geese
writing cursive letters
across the sky
I finally read between
the white of your lies

British Haiku Society Tanka Awards, 2014/2015

VerseWrights, 2015

The Bamboo Hut, Spring 2015

the aroma
of pungent Persian stars
transports me
to a caravanserai
in the moonlit desert

how still
this numinous dawn
we kneel
watching a muskrat's breath
bubbling under thin ice

a hapless boat
trampled by water kelpies
all souls lost
so many widows waiting
upon every wild shore

spring arrives
one small droplet
at a time
the way everything
takes root in earth

that night
a lightning ball bounced
through the house
scorching mother's linens
and a little girl's dreams

Blithe Spirit, Vol. 25, Number 2, Spring 2015

chinook wind
magpies bathing
in snowmelt

jackrabbits . . .
the twang of wind
in barbed wire

Hedgerow Poems, Number 22, March 2015

Hedgerow Poems, Number 19, March 2015

The Heron's Nest, Vol. 17, Number 1, March 2015

crab spider
a frost moon dangles
out of reach

World Haiku Association, March 2015

128th Monthly Haiga Contest

A Hundred Gourds, Issue 4:2, March 2015

my one
and only wing
a white sail
splitting the wind
into pelican dreams

frazil ice
on a mountain lake
at breakup
the tinkling chimes
signal your departure

Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 4, 2015

Featured Tanka Art

Editor's Comments:

"Mercurial" is a word loaded with meanings: changeable, erratic, impulsive, etc., I love it. The second line caught me by surprise, "in this turning season", I had to look closely at the artwork and notice the leafless tree, the winter season of our lives. The following lines the poet skillfully brings into focus, "my body / a weather vane tilting / in a new direction", which connect with the opening line. It is a marvellous juxtaposition and metaphor.
—Sergio A. Ortiz

Akitsu Quarterly, Spring 2015

globe thistle . . .
how blue the earth
from space

lady's mantle . . .
inside a dew drop
the garden

alpine meadow
stippled with paintbrush . . .
mule deer fawns

Acorn, Number 34, Spring 2015

sea otter . . .
the moon opens
on a stone

TanshiArt, 2015

Hedgerow Poems, Number 17, February 2015

The Sacrament of Snow

the glow
of candled sea ice
at sundown
snowflakes melting
on our lashes

the snowy foothills
u n d u l a t e
a night bird calls
my echo answers

a nimbus
around the frost moon
above us
the hushed wings
of a snowy owl

so many words
for rain and snow
in foreign tongues
yet the language of lovers
remains the same

World Haiku Association, 2015

127th Monthly Haiga Contest

Comparing Tattoos, Haiku Canada Members' Anthology, 2015

the sound of your name
on my tongue

Frameless Sky, Issue 1, December 2014

Haiku Canada Review, Vol. 9, Number 1, February 2015

ancient lichen liver-spotted stones these hands

sleigh bells
the hayloft rustles
with deer mice

Hedgerow Poems, Number 15, February 2015

Blithe Spirit, Vol. 25, Number 1, Winter 2015

square dancers . . .
the frosted ruffles
of flowering kale

the way snow
covers fallen leaves
this need
to make order
out of our chaos

in silence
you tell me things
will be fine
the tracks of wolves
make ciphers in snow

Atlas Poetica, Issue 20, February 2015

her calves
crumpled around
thick ankles
we still hear the sssswish
of her silk stockings

red squirrels
on top of the cliff
I focus
on the polar bear
at the bottom

you opened
the cage in my chest
to freedom
every wilding answers
when wanderlust calls

Oceans of Prairie

setting sail
from desolate crofts
to prairie farms
Gaelic songs resounding
all the way to paradise

hardscrabble men
racing toy sailboats
across sloughs
for a moment, at home
once more on the water

Tinywords, Issue 15.1, February 2015

a dragon kite
carries the sun
in its mouth

TanshiArt, 2015

World Haiku Association, January 2015

126th Monthly Haiga Contest

Red Lights, Vol. 11, Number 1, January 2015

a ragged curl
of birch bark fluttering
in the sun
even our smallest wounds
become limned with light

oh, my friend
I thought I heard an owl
call your name
on the night you flew
off the face of the earth

sunburnt children
holding conch shells
against their ears
the susurrous ocean
calling them home

The Heron's Nest, Volume 16, 2014

Illustration Contest Winner
Front Cover, 2014

Hedgerow Poems, Number 12, December 2014

NeverEnding Story, December 2014

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu

crossing over
the bridge of sighs
I felt you
folding into me
folding into prayer

GUSTS 19, Spring/Summer 2014

Chen-ou's comment:

The implied contrasts (the physical scene vs the mental image; the symbol of separation from the world vs the religious significance of relational intimacy...etc) between Ls 1-2 and Ls 3-5  are emotionally powerful.

And the use of syntactic parallelism adds spiritual depth to the poem.

at dock's end
a yellow ladder
steps in sky

VerseWrights, 2013

Chen-ou's comment:

The unexpected yet powerful L3 takes the reader to climb down the ladder into the sky of imagination, and the bright colour of a yellow ladder enhances the tone and mood of the poem, reminding me of Georgia O'Keeffe's famous 1958 painting, titled (yellow) Ladder to the Moon.

NeverEnding Story, July 2014

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu

red tailed hawk
on a telephone pole . . .
the prairie listens

The Heron's Nest, Volume 15, Number 4, December 2013

Chen-ou's comments:

Debbie's use of the zoom-out technique and figurative language makes this poem visually and emotionally effective.

NeverEnding Story, January 2014

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu

on father's coffin
the cowboy hat and polished boots
of a prairie Gael
the skirling pipes
that sing him home

Skylark, Volume 1, Number 2, Winter 2013

Chen-ou's comment

Through well-chosen and ethno-socio-cultural details ("the cowboy hat and and polished boots,"prairie Gael" and "skirling pipes"), Debbie skillfully tells a heartfelt story about who the speaker's father was.

Frameless Sky, Issue 1, December 2014

the sound of your name
on my tongue

poppy field
the way you rattle me
with your stare

Hedgerow Poems, Number 11, December 2014

Lovelorn Moon

one pair
of tundra swans
a pas des deux
across the moon

a loon's
plangent tremolo
how eloquently
you plead your case
for going

in the pond
a great white egret
w r i n k l e s
on my face
and the moon's

Under the Basho, December 2014

Modern Haiku Category

jasmine tea
how your scent lingers
in the morning

a fox carries her kits
to the river

purple iris . . .
the bruises around
my sister's eyes

Personal Best Category

on the tundra
caging a winter sky
caribou bones

3rd Place for Haiku,
UHTS "AHA" Awards, 2014

Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 3, December 2014

Eucalypt, Issue 17, December 2014

the bleakness
of that last day on the farm
storms moving in
lightning is not the only way
to burn down fields of dreams

Presence, Number 51, December 2014

lying in sage
on limestone cliffs
sunning myself
with ribbon snakes
emerging from hibernation

oxeye daisies
on the mountainside
our faces
turning eastward
calling out the sun

Skylark, Issue 2:2, Winter 2014

then, a circle of loons
the sound of wild abandon
in our throats

the cleft
between mountains
a chalice
spilling alpenglow
onto our shadows

Ribbons, Vol. 10, Number 1, Winter 2014


on a tray
the congealed meal
no one fed her
an old man down the hall
freshly shaved

cleaning out her suite
we find his letter
under a table leg
so much we didn't know

by the sea
scattering ashes
in the breeze
he tastes
her essence

Moonbathing, Issue 11, Fall/Winter 2014

the dust
of moon and stars
on my skin
that winter i learned
all the ways to shimmer

The Zen Space, Winter Showcase, 2014

Bright Stars Tanka Anthology, Vol. 5, August 2014

floods the bed
we wade
into the billows
and drown

peeking through
midnight's velvet drapes
a spotlight moon
scans the theatre
for fallen stars

the stormy thrum
of our quickening breath
as your lips
wend their way
to the rain in my breast

her first boyfriend's
hard slap
some of our memories
are burning brands

he gave me roses
and larks ascending
I offered tanka
bound with strands
of my silvered hair

an eagle
carries off a lamb
still struggling
the new mother grieves
her lost baby

our initials
tattooed on sand
b e t w e e n
heart-shaped tracks
of white-tailed deer

with ink stick
and wolf hair brush
on rice paper
I paint the unlikeliness
of my married name

warp and weft
into the tapestry
of war-torn faces

these delta blues
blowing through
the broken reeds
of my heart

e x h a l i n g
the unspeakable
slipping-down pain
i n h a l i n g
the unknowable
stripping-down bone

rearranging my (negative) space


measures the tread of infidels
and your infidelities
incremental reign of words
affection over-ruled
broken-thumbed dictator
the judge declares you out of order

paper clips

clip clippings of your clipped words
to my origami wings
paper-quilled intimate intricacies
bent out of shape
i am undone
by your undoing


unfurls over cutting edge
sticky tongue catching the fly
tearing the tip
zipping the lip
securing your crime scene
and sealing my evident fate


experts advise that using
may cause serious injury
while turning over and shaking out contrapuntal crumbs
a scattering of unplayed scales
falls from my eyes and fingertips

white out

rubs out the road to there from here
in an icy blast of shrouded blindness
pointed to pointless point of no return
we listen to the static noise
erasing everything i meant that you would never say


hold documented scars together
never dissolving or resolving
punctures wounding
both the paper and the skin
thoughtless perishables behind closed doors
fill my emptiness of self


reflects my distorted
fingerprinted face
viral truth and lies
lies as thick as the dust on my illusions and your collusions
first the shield
then the reveal


entangling and untangling
electrical and umbilical
i wear the frayed fabric
faded ridges worn down by the misgivings of forgiving
you chop and bind the rotten wood
and wither the blossom's bud


cages the page
confining lines
between the gates of prologue and epilogue
wielding this instrument of might or might not
treastise broken
indelible ink blots the pain on my escutcheon


overflows with used tissue kisses
world stained with acrid acid tears
plastic oceans and emotions
sweet rot begot and forgot
i watch your ashes drift away
on burning waves of truest blue forget-me-nots

Bright Stars Tanka Anthology, Volume 7, November 2014

this amulet
of feather and bone
how frail
the hope that my verity
could banish your demons

trade winds
washing through my hair
at ocean's edge
the salt of forgiveness
in morning's mercy

we compose
the music of our lives
with grace notes
scattered between
lullaby and requiem

winter winds
play an aeolian harp
of barbed wire
a lone coyote and i howl
at the long night moon

all i ask
from you is sanctuary
the world's weight
is upon me and my hands
are filled with weeping

on the stroke of

my parachute
careens earthward
p u n c t u r e d
by flashes of memory
in this blur of falling

ineffable fear
at the closed door
of my understanding

shadowed maws
swallow me whole
s p i t t i n g
my softened bones
into the crib of a coffin

silver trees
nurse me
from torn bags
of slow-dripping rain

i am swaddled
in a blue shroud
c r a d l e d
in the web of my harness
rocking like a baby

a roosting bird
spoons worms
into the red gape
of my slack mouth

so many voices
in my broken brain
g a r b l e d
all the tangled lifelines
that hold me here

creatures hover
and shout
someone else's name
as if i cannot hear

i exist
between layers of life
i m p r i s o n e d
keeping the company
of ghosts and crows

The Heron's Nest, Volume 15, 2013

red-tailed hawk
on a telephone pole . . .
the prairie listens

Monday, July 20, 2015

Brass Bell, December 2014

winter bird
am i the only one
who knows your song

A Hundred Gourds, Issue 4:1, December 2014

a blue fan
unfolding in the distance
so many hills
we meant to climb before
they became mountains

small birds
lifting the rim of night
with music
in silent meditation we listen
to the singing bowl of morning

a gypsy wind
strumming halyards
in the marina
we dance by the light
of a tambourine moon