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 35 – Rengay & Split Sequence



Rengay

Deep Storage

in an old cigar box
three generations
of buttons

keys just in case

of a lock

one year gone
adding his tools
to my box

found letter

the steamy rumor

that no longer matters

the hand-me-down
cat’s eye marble

wrapped around

an aperitif glass

the war is over

Bryan Rickert, USA & Kat Lehmann, USA

Back to Normal

traffic congestion
finding no space
to reflect

crossroad winds

never coming back

display window
all the mannequins
with masks

city drifter

the close of a song

from an upstairs window

sidewalk flowers
tracing the past

intersection

between then and now

dust and ash

Hifsa Ashraf, Pakistan & John Hawkhead, United Kingdom

All Fingers and Thumbs

second date
her lipstick
stuck in the tube

borrowing a dress

that almost fits

bitten down nails . . .
the pantyhose
scagged

strappy heels––

three steps

before her ankle twists

a wet patch
where the roll-on missed

his text . . .

staying in

mustard-stained sweats

Lew Watts, USA & Tanya McDonald, USA


Split Sequence

How the Wind Moves

escalation

whistling kettle

no way left to hide

the truth

on the fire escape

knock on the door

our neighbor says she hears
every word

loud coos of pigeons

unclipped wings

the freedom to be
myself

GRIX, USA & Christine L. Villa, USA

High Desert Blues

homestead hardware

hollow core

a door hangs on

by its good hinge

the last bounce

desert trampoline

a truck tire

gives only so much

of rusted bedsprings

hipster makeover

curating lost dreams

as their own

Peter Jastermsky, USA

To Be or Not to Be

suicide hotline

we tell each other

one more lie

bruised moon

the same platitudes

I don’t know why

I keep trying

shallow sunrise

as yesterday

dying light

will anyone catch

the falling kite

Susan Burch, USA & Vandana Parashar, India

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Issue 34 – Linked Forms

Hexarengay

Erratic Gravity

Kat Lehmann, USA & Bryan Rickert, USA

Once Upon a Time

Tanya McDonald, USA & Lew Watts, USA

Tan-Renga

John Hawkhead, United Kingdom & John Stevenson, USA

Rengay

Last Call

sawdust
on the floor of the saloon
cowboy spit

by the Women and Escorts sign
the glow of a cigarette

her accent over cocktails––
the shape
of her vowels

crowded pub
his touch
on the other woman’s arm

on a barstool living the life
of a country song

last call
the fading buzz
of neon

Alan S. Bridges, USA & Jacquie Pearce, Canada

Role Reversal

a barking dog—
the thunder fades
into the distance

eyes follow the rails
to a single point

the art teacher
trying to explain
perspective

role reversal
how long it takes
to see the other side

the new pronouns
after their name

the poet
giving words
where I had none

Angela Terry, USA & Julie Schwerin, USA

Cradle Song

pink moon
not one wrinkle
on mother’s face

tender ways of love
with tired eyes

cradle song
the kiss
on my birthmark

falling asleep
at the movie show
in her warm arms

treasure chest
a walk in her shoes

party time
mum would rock’n’roll
along with my music

Elisa Theriana, Indonesia & Ron C. Moss, Australia

Celibacy

after the breakup
the strength
of her sneeze

the unheralded joy
of a bowel movement

parboiled potatoes
this frenzied quest for
a seven-inch handle

the sliiide
of fingers down
the ziplock

riding her wave
with the spin cycle

three fingers then two
the intimacy
of a cigarette

Kelly Sauvage, USA & Robert Moyer, USA

Heads or Tails

nickels in my pocket
from our birth years . . .
first of autumn

warm coins
for a cold soda

winter drizzle––
no spare change
for the street performer

spring showers
pennies dropping from
the child’s fist

the ref calls
heads or tails

one long summer day
George Washington didn’t throw
a dollar that far

Michael Dylan Welch, USA & Gary Hotham, USA

Olvera Street

crying baby––
the Mariachi band
stops to tune

a mother hissing
“no tocar”

gaudy ukuleles
hanging with the chilies––
first drops of rain

hushed voices––
painted skulls
in the candle shop

the slap of tortillas
as we count our cash

Sepulvida’s window––
in the evening rush
a siren

Michael Dylan Welch, USA & Oleg Kagan, USA

Over the Wall

counting motorcycles
just to prove
I’m not a robot

behind the slow tractor
hells angels

desert highway
the rank and file
eatin’ dust

licking
its open eyes
gila monster

sarapes sold
at a road-side stand

cantina flies
the only wi-fi
since the border

Terri L. French, USA & Bryan Rickert, USA

Sequences

Purple Hearts

green grass––
a house bought on
the G.I. Bill

yellow tablets . . .
a little shrapnel
in his knee

blue veins––
there’s a hole in
Daddy’s arm

red balloons . . .
an overdose hovering
in the air

black suits––
a flag-draped casket
on a local heroes’ hill

Source: found sequence from singer-songwriter John Prine’s “Sam Stone”

Matthew Markworth, USA

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