Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Spring 2008, vol 6 no 1
 

TANKA

Bob Lucky
 

Chinese Lessons

 

local hair salon
she asks in English if I
speak Chinese
not well, I say in Chinese
cutting the air with finger-scissors

 

seven million souls
knocking about this city —
down by the lake
I see everyone I know
trying to be alone too

 

hoping the thieves
don't have time to break in
a new bike
I've left on the bubble wrap
but use a chain as well

 

muggy evening
I envy old Chinese men
who pull up their shirts
where they please
and fan their pot bellies

 

the duck tongues
are passed my way —
I nibble slowly
wondering if I'll ever
say what I want in Chinese

 


name Bob Lucky, the erstwhile editor and publisher of The Asian Foodbookery, has an MA in cultural anthropology and has lived and worked in various places throughout Asia. He writes mostly nonfiction and poetry; his work has appeared in various journals. He currently lives with his family in Hangzhou, China, where he teaches history and geography, pedals around on a one-speed clunker, and plays the ukulele — though not at the same time.