Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
Contents Archives About Simply Haiku Submissions Search
Summer 2006, vol 4 no 2

TANKA

Dave Bacharach

 

when the great library
at Alexandria burned
all knowledge
changed to heat and light
and drifted off in smoke

 

red flowers
on a geisha's kimono
this trail
through the snow
of a dying deer

 

will I ever
get out of this place
my mother asked
from her hospital bed
I don't know, I lied

 

he whistled
to a cop across the street
who watched
as he sucked on the blast
of a shotgun

 

they put wires
to her head and pulled
a switch
it happened, she told me,
after I was born

 

I stop
to look at the cat
that I killed
it stares past me
beyond forgiveness

 

from the bar
his predator eyes
watch me
follow her to a room
with one chair and a bed

 

when we're naked
she plunges my money
into her bag
the cheap perfume hits. . .
not so rough, she says

 

now rich
he moves her grave
closer
maybe to feel something
for a mother he never met

 

his truck still sits
at the bottom of the lake
old guys say
it's a good spot to fish
where he broke through

 

taking a walk
so she can be alone
with her lover
he ponders imperfection
and fingers his ring

 

old bones
jam the garden tiller--
that goat
I couldn't get near
and never named

 

I tell him
effective immediately
he's fired
beyond my office window
a hawk works the field

 

Hello.
How are you?
sits on the screen
a minute or so, before
I click on delete

 

perfect teeth
the dentist told me
thirty years ago
but I ground them down
along with my dreams

 

my old dog
his hind legs gone
falls again
I sit down beside him
and watch the sunset

 


Dave Bacharach was born in 1950 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His haiku and tanka have appeared in tempslibres, Full Moon, Ribbons, paper wasp, The Heron's Nest, White Lotus, and Simply Haiku. He lives in a rural area of New York state with his beloved partner, Mary. By day, he manages a large bus garage; at night, he writes poetry and practices the saxophone. His tanka are unique in their distinct reflection of a working man's life and urban environment.