Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Autumn 2008, vol 6 no 3
 

TANKA

Tom Clausen
 

after our smiles
all in a flash:
I'm too old, she's too young
and furthermore
I'm married

 

unmoved on the line
the blackbirds, perhaps tired
of flying, or satiated
or maybe they too
just waiting for some time to pass

 

so connected I was
to my mother
yet in this here and now
it is just a little lint
I collect from my belly button

 

another ball game
and she wonders why
I'm so taken by the win and lose
       as if our lives should be
       nothing like that

 

the house
according to her
has again become a mess,
why oh why can't we
just accept it

 

scattering salt
on the icy steps
I step back
with a rare sense of doing
something useful

 

I've sadly matured,
no more breakdowns,
the laughing fits are over
these days my life is much more
carefully contained

 

without the guard
sauntering room to room
I'd never even think
of what someone might do
to a painting of all things

 

my wife spends the day
taking my faults apart,
letting me know in full color
and then out of the blue
she wants to kiss

 

it's not more clothes
or a better car
or more money
she wants,
it's more of an improved me

 

Acknowledgement is made to the following publications where these poems first appeared.

"after our smiles", Five Lines Down, Summer 1994
"another ball game", American Tanka, Issue 13 2003
"I've sadly matured", Hummingbird, v.7 no.4 , June 1997

 


Tom Clausen Tom Clausen lives in Ithaca, a centrally isolated upstate New York college town that has been described as being "ten square miles surrounded by reality" and "gorges". He has a new collection of tanka, Growing Late, published by Snapshot Press. He is a member in the Albany, New York based Route 9 Haiku group and through his job at Mann Library (Cornell University) he maintains a Daily Haiku feature, from the library home page. Tom is eternally grateful to have been given the chance to experience a human life, although he often feels a bewildered sense of being a bit of a misfit in the role!