Contents
 

 

 

Sketchbook 

M. Kei, US

 

 

 Tanka

Looking down on clouds
as I wing my way across
a vast continent,
thoughts return to her I miss
although I have scarcely left.
 

 

Mother sleeps at last,
propped on plain white pillows,
oxygen humming,
her adult children stand
the watches of the night.
 

 

Although there are days
on which the winds do not blow,
there are no days when
I ever fail to yearn for
one who inhabits my dreams.
 

 

I write poetry
like the hills of Maryland,
slow, easy, green swells,
rolling from creek to vale,
with all the time in the world.
 

 

When I was a child
I brought my grandmother
a picture of bluebonnets;
she cried, lying there
paralyzed in her hospital bed.
 

 

The ribbon shirt folds
around her owl-tail headdress,
the box closes on sage;
the lodge struck and loaded,
the Indians vanish again.
 

 

Spanish Bombing, March 11, 2004

In Spain
eleven million cry
a deeper grief;
tragedy magnified
in a a weeping world.
 

 

 
Free Verse

Upon the Accidental Discovery of Culture in Walmart

Walmart startled me
with a wall of Japanese courtiers.
Aristocratic figures in formal caps
and Imperial robes, somber and serene,
knelt against a background of lush green gardens
and round, rough pillars of an ancient palace.

Tv upon tv echoed the scene;
the entire wall of the electronics department
filled with the gentle grace of a time gone by.

I stood alone, asking the silent screens,
"Who are you?"
But as quickly as they appeared,
the courtiers vanished like ghosts
back into the machine.

No matter how long I stood
through the banal blare
of advertisements
for things I didn't want,
they did not return.
 

 

Couplets

scarecrow doesn't vote,
even for president
 

 

Tercets

A single petal
drifted from the lazy breeze
to rest here with me.
 

 

Silk and iron pines
as the jeweled inferno
of the heart aligns.
 

 

blue-green paper like
a small map of the ocean,
my poems like islands
 

 

Your lips smile at me
and my heart rings just like
a great temple bell.
 

 

When I was a child,
cicadas sang the summer
that would never end.
 

 

Misty moon of spring,
I want to see my lover,
so don't be bashful!
 

 

I feel like a boy
though I am a married man
when I think of her.
 

 

a cherry petal
on the fitful winds of May
is my restless heart
 

 

It's just hot water,
but then jasmine petals fall
ah! now it's tea.
 

 

I stop abruptly,
too much traffic!
a peahen with seven chicks.
 

 

Cicadas in love!
Rattling their legs with passion,
the din never stops.
 

 

 


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