A few new: Tanka 260; Selected Alternatives

Here is some recent poetry.

Tanka 260

third class reunion
first class gossip mavens dish
over shrimp cocktails
garnish cold rubber chicken
with chewed-up reputations



Selected Alternatives

In the life where I stepped off the curb
fell on the street into traffic
and – you know the rest –
you cried for days
you sold the house
you remarried.

In the life
where I took the train
that derailed and burned
and – you know the rest –
you cried for days
you sued the railroad and won
you bought a house at the shore.

In the life where
I went to the bank on the wrong day
and – you know the rest –
you cried for days
you visited my grave once a month
you took on a new look: tight jeans and
low-buttoned shirts

In the life where
I did none of these things but
I lived at home until one day
you slumped in your armchair
you turned up the television
to accommodate your hearing
you yelled for me to get you a beer
and – you know the rest –

I didn’t
I couldn’t hear you
from a beach house
two thousand miles away


8 thoughts on “A few new: Tanka 260; Selected Alternatives

  1. That first one made me laugh:
    “garnish cold rubber chicken
    with chewed-up reputations”
    is brilliant. 😀

    The second poem is poignant. I imagine there are many couples like this.

    • Thank you. Regarding the first, I was thinking about my high school days. And projecting into today, I guess, because I think people don’t change much…as for the second, my years of overhearing on trains, waiting in line, or locker rooms or whatever, well, it seems there are more sad stories or else that is what people like to tell. I choose to think here that the last life is the one that really happened, if things are not working out there is a time to say, try something new.

  2. I loved the first poem. Your words really convey the nastiness of those types of people. The poem about the alternative branches a life could have taken is wonderful. It is something I think about from time to time, reflecting on all of the choices or even passive life events that have brought me to this point in my life and made me who I am. I like the way your poem centres around a narrator who has various ways of exiting their life and leaving loved ones behind but then it pivots from passive to active choices and makes the decision to relocate to the beach house feel like an act of empowerment.

    • I also felt the focus in so many situations is that the only way to escape is for something to happen, so many people wait for that. And others reap the advantages. In this case, action wins. That to me is important because then it means any person can take charge of themselves and their situation.

      • Yes indeed. I say a similar thing to my kids which is to not wait for opportunities to present themselves but to create your own opportunities. They just groan, of course, but hopefully they are absorbing that idea that life isn’t something that happens to us passively.

  3. I think we all have those alternative endings in our head. The trick is being where we are and fashioning the best one. (K)

    • You said it perfectly – stay in control of the process as much as we can and adapting to work out the best alternative. So often I think people feel they have no choices. And then there are those who take advantage of those who feel this way, too.

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