His robe is stained a rich eminence that cloaks its blemishes. Blotches that might dominate lesser colors hide within its royal polyester landscape: mudded fields of chaw, puddles of scuffed up gum, and dry riverbeds of alcohol and urine that flow with their lingering scents, but don’t distract the eye. Leaning under the low hum of a lamppost in his regal purple embroidery, he is the back edge of dusk, the swell between the sun and burning constellations lost in light pollution — what we see, but overlook. He is the king of the street, the embodiment of his domain.
Square after two-ply square curl around gartered socks, press against khaki creases, bind my belted belly button. My daughter chides her children when they look to begin a second roll and pin my hands across my chest, but I will a final motion with my wrist dismissing her displeasure. They pass the full spool back and forth as I rediscover the difficulty of coaxing my back to let it uncoil with ease and my daughter returns to some electronic distraction. Layering my chin, the kids permit a deeper memory when our eyes lock before mine are wrapped with funerary contentment.
The following network of haiku, senryu, and a tanka were written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday #129, based upon the use of synonyms for ‘Hobby’ (‘diversion’) and ‘Play’ (‘performance’). The red and blue text are the pieces that primarily focus on and attend to the prompts while adhering to the standardized syllabic structure. Anyway, unthread this as you will. (Per usual, sorry for the shrunken font.)
This threading of haiku (and a senryu or two) was written for participation in Ronovan Writes’ Haiku Challenge #246, based on the words ‘Narrow’ and ‘Minded’ (which I replaced with ‘inclined’). Don’t go forgetting the potential horizontal reads!
We planted a stratified samara after he had taken root. We didn’t know which was bigger then, but when we were finally able to bring him home from the hospital, he had an early lead.
His advantage was short-lived, however. The staked sapling that sprung from the seed grew into its own stability quickly. His growth seemed typical, but became inconstant with the fickleness of his heart. By their third year, the ash was firmly vertical, while he was crooked and coiled into himself in discomfort. We pried him upright every month thereafter so we could trim the tree to his size, partnered victims of our desperate, fleeting control.
The tree now looms with its own clusters of keys — rich, green winged fruits unfurling toward the earth. Despite its wondrous sprawl, the ash won’t reach his heights. And neither will we, beneath them both, committed to the shadows we’ve borne.
The following haiku sprouting out and around a tanka were written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday prompt. The syllabically-structured poems must be based on synonyms of prompts words, which this week were ‘Spring’ (‘Lenten’) and ‘Sing’ (‘trumpeting’). The lines are intended to help distinguish each piece, though I apologize if they add to the confusion.
A cotton candy web hangs between dusk-touched branches. The pink and purple threads aren’t disguised in the lowering light, their allure only heightened by the pastel sky.
Flinches flexing through the web show I’m not the only one engrossed by it, the flap of wings too frail to sound. A clutch of legs nimbly tightrope the strands with reverence for the patronage. The legs and wings tangle in creative differences as the wings are worked into another masterpiece of the gallery. And as I marvel at the cruel truth behind art, I fail to notice mosquitoes artlessly siphoning my blood.