Issue 36 – Haibun, Gembun, Rengay & Sequences

Haibun

Answering Machine

Dad rings to tell us it’s prostate cancer. He’s phlegmatic; says that at his age he’ll most likely die with it than of it. We talk around the subject; he puts mum on. She’s worrying about us worrying so she’s overly upbeat. I tell her that we’ve sorted the passports and we’ll see them soon. We agree it’ll fly by.

The cat is still asleep in its patch of sunlight. Way above, the honey buzzards are still circling. Music still drifts from kitchen to garden. Nothing is different. Everything is different.

winter evening
in the shade of
his second shadow

Alan Peat, United Kingdom

Visiting the Past

Running along the length of Korea are majestic mountains. Covered in lush forests filled with aromatic Hinoki trees, they provide a comforting escape from the rush of city lives. For millennia these mountains have stood as sentinels, calmly watching the flow of time and the journey of humans.

rain forest café
the waiter in a zebra shirt
and leopard pants

Carol Raisfeld, USA

Monochrome

. . . When everyday is like yesterday
in dreary predictability
I seek succour in memories,
drown in nostalgia
savouring every lick, until its
sweetness too evaporates
until I turn to words
for sustenance, each stroke
relished and gourmandised
and hope reigns eternal . . .

stretching the day beyond her means tram stop

Madhuri Pillai, Australia

Gembun

the dregs of nirvana

Thursday rain
he serves me leftovers
on the chipped plate

Kelly Sauvage, USA & Agnes Eva Savich, USA

minutes on the meter

high anxiety
the abyss
of an unfinished poem

Kelly Sauvage, USA & Robert Moyer, USA

Rengay

Two Straws

50’s dance party
getting into
the swing of things

a trombone player

directing the band with his slide

her poodle dog skirt
from the thrift shop––
never been worn

vacancy––

a soda

with two straws

he waits for a slow dance
to ask her

In the Still of the Night

taking the long way

home

Angela Terry, USA & Julie Schwerin, USA

Om Shante Shante

a poker chip
nestled in the stone
Buddha’s palm

free from desire

Tao roulette

disgruntled patron
suing the casino
for bad feng shui

lost among slots

the endless chimes

of ten thousand things

losing streak
bad karma catches up

carpet maze

the way out the door

is within

Terri L. French, USA & Kat Lehmann, USA

Sequences

Land of the Free

electric gate
Your Kind of Community
in glowing white letters

picket fences
a white man shadows
the black teen

thud of footsteps
one bark answers
another

ID check
the black teen’s shadow
slips out of the gate

Chen-ou Liu, Canada

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Issue 36 – Senryu & Kyoka


back to school
the fight over
corner seats

Adjei Agyei-Baah, Ghana

did I call enough
grandma’s favorite
pashmina wrap

Agnes Eva Savich, USA

coffee rings
on her desk
his promotion

Aidan Castle, USA

grail
the bra
that fits

Alanna C. Burke, USA

writing shasei––
certain I’ve read this one
somewhere before . . .

Alex Fyffe, USA

writer’s block
I ask Alexa
for a prompt

Alex Lubman, USA

10,000 feet
above San Antonio
remembering
how I hate
to fly

Allyson Whipple, USA

samurai film
she won’t let me
buy a sword

Andy Discus, USA

rosary beads : the stains of time

Arvinder Kaur, India

taxi stop
night air rushes to fill
your empty seat

Ash Evan Lippert, USA

last day of isolation
Happy Birthday
through the door

Audrey Quinn, Denmark

scrolling
too fast to pay
attention

B.A. France, USA

ready for takeoff––
the sudden spread
of a mask fight

Barrie Levine, USA

​​captcha
I am human
right?

Bart Van Goethem, Belgium

doorways
now so narrow
middle age

Bee Jay, Australia

my rainbow
is brighter than yours
suburban sprinklers

Benedict Grant, Canada

just so that
there are no regrets
a shooting star

Bhawana Rathore, India

the years of lying
about her age . . .
mother’s headstone

old widower
the life expectancy
of grief

hall of mirrors
what I think you think
of me

Bill Kenney, USA

heatwave
a white man
loses face

Birk Andersson, Sweden

on the outside
of the picket fence
Black Lives Matter

Brad Bennett, USA

cosmic noise
how much of it
is me

graveside service
an honor guard
takes the hill

menopause
she lets me know
we’re out of eggs

Bryan Rickert, USA

getting myself
in hot water again
shabu shabu

Charles Harmon, USA

genuflection
the weight
of stained glass

Charlotte Hrenchuk, Canada

two pills
shall i go up
or down

Christine Eales, United Kingdom

cold beer . . .
we try to recount
our youth

Christopher Calvin, Indonesia

computer key clicks
beneath my fingers––
his deep sleep

Claire Vogel Camargo, USA

Grandma’s lipstick
shades lighter
than Mom’s

Curt Pawlisch, USA

changing memory lanes the past of least resistance

jewelry box
the ballerina
I never was

Cynthia Anderson, USA

cataracts gone
seeing the world
through sixteen-year-old eyes
i ask the surgeon
what else she could renew

Dave Chandler, USA

altar candles
the secret wishes
of strangers

David Watts, USA

warm oatmeal
she slips a cookie
into his lunch

Deborah P Kolodji, USA

burial
the end
of forgetting

Elaine Costanzo, USA

halving strawberries
Grammy spins the story
of his proposal

Elaine Wilburt, USA

dusk
tipping dinosaurs
off the edge of the sofa

Elancharan Gunasekaran, Singapore

for sale
bozak speakers –– losing dad
all over again

Eric A. Lohman, USA

not asking
about her ‘vacation’
in-patient

Erin Castaldi, USA

the roar of traffic
dying to a murmur
country churchyard

Ernest Wit, Poland

last order
she touches up
her lips

Eva Limbach, Germany

standard deviation––
the measure of your distance
from my mean

Fionnuala Waldron, Ireland

the fly and I
share the same buzz . . .
afternoon bourbon

Gordon Gearhart, USA

yellow streetlight
a pregnant girl, heavy
with almosts

Hege A. Jakobsen Lepri, Norway

retail therapy––
the boyfriend pillow
comes at a price

Hemapriya Chellappan, India

echoing gavel
after the bidding concludes
the bride’s lowest price

underage bride
the handmade rag doll becomes
her chief bridesmaid

Hifsa Ashraf, Pakistan

pitting cherries
she spits out
her diagnosis

embroidery sampler
what each stitch holds
of her

driving with my dad
what used to be here
what used to be there

Jacquie Pearce, Canada

country accent
the roll of hills
a letter away

Joanna Ashwell, United Kingdom

an old stone wall
crumbling into itself
dad’s last words

John Hawkhead, United Kingdom

ouija board
not knowing what questions
to ask

Johnnie Johnson Hafernik, USA

minimum wage
the ramen labels
become a rainbow

Joshua St. Claire, USA

falling cards the house panic built me

Julie Bloss Kelsey, USA

cry for not my usual self help

Julie Schwerin, USA

acclimating
to its only speed
porch swing

June Rose Dowis, USA

baby shower
she remembers me
innocent

Kat Lehmann, USA

death poem––
reconfiguring
the paperclip

Keith Evetts, United Kingdom

guilt
no farther away
than my pillow

Kelly Sargent, USA

jury interview
I try to create
reasonable doubt

Ken Slaughter, USA

attic violin
the person she was before
my first breath

Kevin Valentine, USA

storm damage
not the top-down change
we hoped for

Kristen Lindquist, USA

jazz playing
your whistle far into
the night

empty chair wishing it wasn’t

Lafcadio, USA

our favorite argument
we end it
by not ending it

Laurie D. Morrissey, USA

20th anniversary
her ring finger
in the oximeter

Lew Watts, USA

dry eyes on the sparrow

rock bottom––
it sinks in
that I’m an addict

Lori A Minor, USA

Mom’s silk sheets how things come to be

Lori Becherer, USA

box upon box tissue wrapped childhood

Margaret Walker, USA

heavy scent
of the old dust
colonial house

Marie Derley, Belgium

new year
couch to 5k to couch
resolution

Mariel Herbert, USA

childhood photos––
around our table
the mismatched chairs

Mark Forrester, USA

filling the kitchen
aroma of vanilla
and his fists

Meg Arnot, United Kingdom

breakfast at twilight
trying to remember
your name

Mike Fainzilber, Israel

phone lock . . .
pulling the day into a
wrong pattern

Minal Sarosh, India

hopscotch
between adjoining numbers
the boys’ gaze

toy train
choosing from the crowd
the father I’ve never had

Mirela Brăilean, Romania

social media––
a side of you
I never knew

Mona Bedi, India

call from a stranger
his family tree
grows a branch

always happening
somewhere else
until

Nancy Shires, USA

still orbiting
my old bedroom . . .
Jupiter’s moons

Nick Hoffman, Ireland

tv news
a rioter wears
the same mask as me

climate protest
a drum beats
out of time

Nick T, United Kingdom

playing
the wabi-sabi card
chipped china

blue Monday
i wander through
my spam

P. H. Fischer, Canada

mirror, mirror . . .
the topology
of old age

Pat Davis, USA

all-inclusive
the resort’s
armed guards

Peter Newton, USA

the sin in the sinner in me

Pippa Phillips, USA

after
all these winters
the weight of a scar

Ravi Kiran, India

mother’s religion
prayer cards
under her ashtray

Rehn Kovacic, USA

five of midnight
silencing the in-law’s
grandfather clock

Richard L. Matta, USA

synesthesia
developing a taste
for the blue notes

Rick Jackofsky, USA

New Orleans jazz club
dancing with a lady
I already miss

Robert Moyer, USA

barnyard memories
I was once
a spring chicken

Roberta Beach Jacobson, USA

college degree
my application in
at the car wash

Ronald K. Craig, USA

shortest day––
fitting in
a fight

Ruth Holzer, USA

pandemic year
every day I hug
my tree

Ryland Shengzhi Li, USA

last year our cloudy memory of friends

S. Michael Kozubek, USA

black history
twenty-eight
days long

Sarah E. Metzler, USA*

origin story
learning to speak
for myself

Shloka Shankar, India

zazen––
i’ve had my fill
of emptiness

Sondra J. Byrnes, USA

teacher’s birthday . . .
rechecking the grammar
of my wish

work from home
in lieu of 3 a.m. friends
3 a.m. colleagues

Srinivas S, India

hot coffee
the warning
that you’ll burn me

Susan Burch, USA

toy store which teddy to buy dad

colossus
at least I thought
you were

Tim Gardiner, United Kingdom

doodles
on a small cross
early morning prayers

Tim Roberts, New Zealand

campfire
envying my kid’s
imagination

Tomislav Sjekloća, Montenegro

feeling good
about myself
drawstring pants

Tony Williams, United Kingdom

coin flip
am I
two-faced

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams, USA

funeral
all his ex-wives
in the same pew

guests gone
eating the leftovers
cold

Valorie Broadhurst Woerdehoff, USA

library book
did his hands touch
you too

Vandana Parashar, India

twilight
in her curves
the lack of exactness

Vijay Prasad, India

born again
the river baptism
leaves him cold

William Scott Galasso, USA

burnt cookies
my second
Covid Christmas

Yvette Nicole Kolodji, USA

status update
another day
in alternate reality

Zahra Mughis, Pakistan

​​*“Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of ‘Negro History Week,’ the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.”

History.com Editors. (2022, January 31). Black History Month. HISTORY. https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month

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Issue 35 – Senryu & Kyoka


as the crow flies fentanyl

#newalgoirthm
#theadvertisersknowingme
#betterthanme

Aaron Barry, Canada

PhD journey
all the coffee brands
I know

Adjei Agyei-Baah, Ghana/New Zealand

Valentine’s Day
my feelings and I eat
another chocolate

Agnes Eva Savich, USA

bumper to bumper
she proposes
leather

mastectomy scars
all but my husband
swipe left

suicide watch
another hand
of Go Fish

Aidan Castle, USA

secondhand book––
clear as day
what happened
to granda

Alan Peat, United Kingdom

shot glass
another wasted
pickup line

Alvin B. Cruz, Philippines

no seeds left to sow his vasectomy

Amber Winter, USA

citizenship test
dad thumbs the pages
from right to left

ballpark hotdog––
we try out
being American

Antoinette Cheung, Canada

calling mom
on new years. . .
pouring another

B.A. France, USA

the world news
I eat my apple
core and all

Barbara Sabol, USA

southern christmas
the crackling fire
onscreen

Barbara Strang, New Zealand

re-opening . . .
the server remembers
my standing order

Barrie Levine, USA

all the fiction
in my truth
campfire stories

Ben Gaa, USA

dinner date
not that hungry
for you

Benedict Grant, Canada

resuming chemo
midtown traffic
stop and go

“make a wish . . .”
I pretend
I’m pretending

end of the day
slow dancing
by myself

Bill Kenney, USA

discount roses
the price for being
second best

coworker’s suicide
all her things
in one box

breastfeeding
how quickly she latches on
to motherhood

Bryan Rickert, USA

depression . . .
I slip a little further
under the duvet

C.X.Turner, United Kingdom

showing me her art
the razor blade
on her nightstand

broken ribs
more than a carved turkey
at thanksgiving

Claire Vogel Camargo, USA

police car passing
on the left––
my first bag of pot

Curt Pawlisch, USA

fifty-first birthday . . .
I open another
emoji

Dave Read, Canada

midsummer
adding a city
to my weather app

David Grayson, USA

accidental
the note we found
when you didn’t die

David J. Kelly, Ireland

958.104
another war
shelved

Debbie Olson, USA

connecting . . .
the circling sun
of my isolation

Deborah P Kolodji, USA

getting his ego bruised nectarines

birthday alone
this urge to entertain
a wild thought

Elmedin Kadric, Sweden

the screen door ajar open adoption

Erin Castaldi, USA

new love
the brickwork
of a footpath

Frank Dax, South Korea

listening to Lennon
I arrange books as if I’ll live
one last shelf

Frank Higgins, USA

language lessons
my tongue slides
on cerveza

dress rehearsal
my DNA
in a pink tutu

Genevieve Wynand, Canada

corner cubicle
the flies don’t want to be here
either

Gordon Brown, USA

school uniform
keeping the conception
immaculate

Hazel Hall, Australia

sunset . . .
the legs
I always wanted

Helene Guojah, United Kingdom

root canal
the dentist digs deeper
into my past

Hifsa Ashraf, Pakistan

red ochre road
the long walk
to the nearest clinic

Ingrid Baluchi, North Macedonia

woodpecker taps . . .
my dad recalls
his Morse code days

Jay Friedenberg, USA

kindergarten
her corkscrew curls
at full bounce

Jo Balistreri, USA

all night diner
a party of one seated
on every stool

google earth
an unsuccessful search
for Brigadoon

car backfire
the schoolyard bully
holsters his finger

Joe McKeon, USA

mint julep
her lips taste
of goodbye

lesbian porn
I wish I had been born
a better man

John Hawkhead, United Kingdom

six yuan for lunch––
her head hidden behind
the begging board

John Zheng, USA

Sweetest Day
she shows off
her new vibrator

weekly visitation
the struggle to compete
with YouTube videos

Joshua Gage, USA

frozen pension
the boomer scoffs
at his son’s debt

head-banging
the air where the hair
used to be

cost of living raise
another year
in the tuna can

Joshua St. Claire, USA

Rubenesque––
too much of me
to love

application rewritten history my job
rewritten history my job application
history my job application rewritten

my job application rewritten history
job application rewritten history my

Julie Bloss Kelsey, USA

post-apocalypse
Alexa asks herself
to read a poem

Julie Schwerin, USA

eleventh hour . . .
she asks me to sing
a lullaby

Kat Lehmann, USA

family evening
everyone left
to their own devices

trying to be
ordinary
impostor syndrome

Keith Evetts, United Kingdom

three sheets the one-man jug band

abandonment issues
waiting for
the sauce to split

Kelly Sauvage, USA

the holy man says
befriend your pain
I suggest
to my sore hip
that we talk over zoom

Ken Slaughter, USA

crowd of candles
my wish for
another birthday

Laurie D. Morrissey, USA

what a jury knows
what a jury doesn’t
cherry blossoms

LeRoy Gorman, Canada

Burial Insurance––
her spam folder
gets personal

#MeToo rally . . .
his wolf-whistle
extinct

Maria Bonsanti, USA

New Year’s card
so often the word
health this year

Marie Derley, Belgium

sidewinder
how he skirts
their gender

Marilyn Ashbaugh, USA

pink twitch
of a rabbit’s nose
she sniffs the wine

Marilyn Fleming, USA

writer’s café . . .
unsticking the mug
from the table

Mary Stevens, USA

highwaypileup
unable to get through
to her

Matt Olechnowicz, Canada

forgetting you
perhaps . . . but not
when the bell tolls

Meg Arnot, United Kingdom

father’s day:
showing my lover
childhood scars

Michael Battisto, USA

mega church
everyone sticks
to their guns

roadkill
accounting for the last
of the kittens

Michael Henry Lee, USA

a boy asks about
the people in that church
silent night

granddad’s rabbit’s foot
the littlest one takes
a step back

Mike White, USA

office loop––
my child grows
unnoticed

Milan Rajkumar, India

making a mountain
out of a mole
––melanoma

Nancy Brady, USA

on a rock
turtle on a turtle
nudist beach

Neena Singh, India

recycling day––
my overindulgence
on display

Nick T, United Kingdom

our plans . . .
the straight paths
of a cemetery

Nikolay Grankin, Russia

at peace with my darkness stacking up red red apples
​​
one margarita slowly i become Nostradamus

Orrin PréJean-Champs, USA

interview––
choosing
a background

P. H. Fischer, Canada

downpour
wipers and curses
in sync

newcomer
the circle widens
for my story

Pat Davis, USA

jumper cables
not a transcendent thought
in my head

Patrick Sweeney, Japan

the last lilacs––
adjusting the purple
of my prose

Pippa Phillips, USA

first-time guest
the lags
in alleluia

retirement day
father introduces me
to his routine

Ramesh Anand, India

visiting Vietnam
I repatriate
my hat and shirt

the applause
of autumn rain
40 years of service

Raymond C Roy, USA

mom’s layer cake
coated with icing
the salty sprinkles
of yesteryears
she bottled up

Richard L. Matta, USA

high school sweetheart
a lab assistant
re-dates a fossil

Robert Witmer, Japan

nowhere to go
the repeated pattern
of mum’s old cardigan

Robyn Cairns, Australia

stoking the coals
I ask Mother
who is her favorite

Ronald Degler, USA

ladies’ room––
stepping on the scale
without her earrings

Ruth Holzer, USA

my face
unlocking the computer
update requests

Sarah E. Metzler, USA

breaking inside of you night’s thin shell

Shloka Shankar, India

recharging
his equipment
friday night

his blue eyes
before my fingers
were crooked

Sondra J. Byrnes, USA

maritime museum
the creak and sway
of immigrant ships

Sue Courtney, New Zealand

hot flash
what I’d give
for a cold one

a woman
swallowed whole
by a python
some days
are like that

Susan Burch, USA

housecleaning––
I shed some more
wounded skin

Tim Murphy, Spain

unfinished bowl
a potter shapes
the air

Tyler McIntosh, USA

exorcism
every time I say
I am gay

Vandana Parashar, India

ordinary day––
i pick
an ordinary death

Vijay Prasad, India

sunday morning
the laundry rope
crosses her lifeline

Vladislav Hristov, Bulgaria

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