Issue 37 – Sequences

Sequences

the almost vacation

whispering a come on sleep app

pillow talk exchanging last words

weighted blanket a late winter snow

escape room extending our stay

daydreaming the caress of a narrative

blue hour a tug of sweet light

Lorraine A Padden, USA & Peter Jastermsky, USA

tying Iona

a hand’s width too slow
his empty sandals
waiting for the splash

raindrops
on magnolia
she says he’s gone

tears on the doorstep
another mother
wrings her hands

weeping birch
some truths
are better hidden

knots
in her school shoes
trying to untangle this

storm rages
in my hip flask pocket
Gandhi’s autobiography

Iona––
tying our lives
to a driftwood prayer tree

Tim Roberts, New Zealand


Split Sequences

Fairground Games

July heat

melting

as he takes the reins

at the horse pull

the cotton candy

tilt-a-whirl

centrifugal force

draws her near

on my tongue

eyeing the next car

the roller coaster

starts with a jolt

Bryan Rickert, USA & Kat Lehmann, USA

Where the Flowers go

discipline

licked into shape

the sergeant’s barked command:

as you were

the only way

after

the passing-out parade

passing out

to make men of them

surviving

first contact with the enemy

wedding plans

Keith Evetts, United Kingdom

New World Martini

stirred and shaken

special order . . .

add two or four olives

to Mr. Putin’s drink

preparing my head

guided meditation

upon the sunroof

plinks and plinks

for world news

one more day

the planet revolves

around a tyrant

Richard L. Matta, USA

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Issue 37 – Rengay

Witching Hour

plastic surgeon––
the neighborhood’s best
carved pumpkin

Dracula’s missing

front tooth

first date
during the horror flic
our embrace

full moon

the werewolf caught

with his fly undone

all trick no treat
the she-devil’s grin

nobody dares

to touch it––

candy corn

Bryan Rickert, USA & Terri French, USA

Ligamental

broken steeple boy . . .
I’ll read the Bible
if it has unicorns

seeking nourishment

a grub from Shrek’s ear

Jupiter jig
his left knee healed
on the way up

reflecting on . . .

personalities

in rainbows

ceramics play
kids fire up the kiln

end of night

candle’s tears

stopped in their tracks

Geoff Pope, USA & Robert Kingston, United Kingdom

Just Desserts

snow capped mountain
my Oreo cookie
McFlurry

our white chocolate soufflé

at Café Jacqueline

devil’s food cake
the conversation
turns sinister

with my cherry blossom

frappuccino

a whipped cream kiss

first time we touch
the scent of cinnamon

dipping my finger

in the chocolate fountain

and into his mouth

Jackie Chou, USA & Kath Abela Wilson, USA

Getting Away

get-away weekend
we each carry
our own baggage

the back stories we polish

for show and tell

airport shuttle
so many stops
that aren’t ours

seeing parts of the city

not in

the tourist brochures

our carefully planned itinerary
lost

finally

having to let go

and move on

Julie Schwerin, USA & Angela Terry, USA

Even in Toronto

small-town girl
dreams of Toronto
even in Toronto

the CN Tower

taller than my soul

afternoon shower
arm in arm on Bay Street
Burberry and St. Laurent

water, water, everywhere . . .

halyards clanging

by Lake Ontario

summer in the city reflected
in the museum’s crystal front

at the Hockey Hall of Fame

my boy keeps asking

to see the Zamboni

Naomi Beth Wakan, Canada & Michael Dylan Welch, USA

Band-Aid

broken finger
little girl misses
her bike

homebuilt trolley races

we take turns at crashing

birthday party
half blown balloon
flies away

wave roll

the kayaker spitting

out sand

ice cream lands
on a bald head

moon launch

the astronaut’s Band-Aid

loses it sticky

Zoe Grant, New Zealand & Ron C. Moss, Australia

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2022 7th Annual H. Gene Murtha Memorial Senryu Contest Winners

First Place

cockroach…once more i beg forgiveness

Philip Whitley

We hate killing bugs of any kind, so just on that level alone it resonates with us. Taking it a step further, we also see this as metaphor for domestic violence. The perpetrator is the cockroach and the other person is apologizing for a mistake that is either real or just perceived by the other person, hoping it will stop them from whatever they’re about to do, which feels inevitable because it’s in their nature. We like how this senryu can be flipped around so that it’s not only the cockroach that could be stepped on, but a person too. For this reason, it was our top choice.


Second Place

and again
the white horse wins –
merry-go-round

Joanne van Helvoort

This senryu, though seems simple, is loaded. The visual of merry-go-round fills the reader with a child-like joy. The first two lines show us that in their innocence, the children are racing each other on their horses but only a particular horse wins. Is winning of a particular horse even possible in the merry-go-round? This is where this cleverly crafted senryu takes us to a different path. Line 2 with “the white horse wins” makes us realize that this poem can actually be about the white privilege or the rich privilege. We all know how it works and how some people in power rig the whole system. It’s a vicious circle – common people work hard and strive for success, but it’s only the people in power who control the reins and reap the benefits


Third Place

first bite
your move now
Adam

Aka Moone

We love the humor in this one! The allusion to Adam and Eve and then a dare on top of it makes of think of the childhood game “truth or dare.” Using the Garden of Eden as a background, perfectly illustrates how fun it can be – do you tell the truth or take the dare? Was it in fact a dare all those years ago? It’s a fun thought, making this playful senryu one of our favorites.


Honorable Mentions
(in no particular order)

old flames
at the class reunion
not one match

Ron Russell


them
not me
the obituaries

Fred Andrle


a cheerio
in the pill box
fool me once

Ron Scully


eye of the storm
not even the wind
wants me

Stefanie Bucifal


phone call
the length of
a bottle of wine

David Grayson


middle school
even our breast sizes
have letter grades

Antoinette Cheung

a constellation
on her breast . . .
freckle envy

Julie Bloss Kelsey


my neighbors’ noises
all night long –
way to go crickets

Cristina Angelescu


nesting dolls…
how history
repeats itself

Laurie Greer


chrysanthemums trying on my wife’s kimono

Jacob Blumner


tent poles
testing the strength
of our marriage

Rich Schilling


childless
cracks forming
in the heirlooms

Carly Siegel Thorp


cash flow
the hole in my pocket
bigger than I thought

Richard Grahn


national debt!
and you’re worried
about my credit cards?

Richard Grahn


deepest breath ever leaving the psych wing

Geoff Pope


carrying the coffin –
the undertaker says
i’m a natural

Stephen Toft


sand shifting pronouns

Jacquie Pearce


first cut—
the watermelon seller bites
into his profit

Kala Ramesh


hermit crab
where to begin
downsizing

June Rose Dowis

hand-crocheted afghan. . .
too late to tell her
I don’t like maroon

Billie Dee


Smirnoff vodka
all my demons
in high spirits

Cezar-Florin Ciobica

Judges – Vandana Parashar and Susan Burch