Tanka 229, 230, Shadorma 343

From the collection published in 2021, The Immediate and No Sooner.

Tanka 229
11/23/20

an untidy game
the cat unrolls the red yarn
wraps up the chair legs
I knit straight from the tangle
Knots and cat hairs all of it

Tanka 230
11/23/20

A husband quibbles.
I stand at the kitchen sink.
The steak knife lounges
in a soothing bubble bath.
I hate to disturb it, but…

Shadorma 343
11/23/20

The new paint
resets memories
of mice nests
in ceilings
broken pipe floods and warped floors.
I breathe in the scent.

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: The Picture That Was Made

You may know that in addition to my poetry I also do art, posted on my blog Claudia McGill and Her Art World. For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

The Picture That Was Made

washed-in blue-gray sky
hovers over tired
sallow yellow stained stucco
garage
peeling jumble of windows doors purposes

apartment
up a flight of rickety
stairs don’t look safe but must be
proof
a man stomps on out the apartment door
lights up soon as he sets foot on the landing
and
he does not fall through.
Cloud of smoke wrap him up.

dead tree peels itself
sheds bark on grass rough-cut some time back
sheds shadow on row of sunflowers
they shift twist sway in the wind
concentrate on
inch by inch inching into the sky
their huge ragged-edge dinner plate heads

seeds planted by who knows who
could be somebody with an idea
that things could be another way could be
wanting some color could be liked the look of
sunflowers framed by a kitchen window.

bees buzz.

5/1/20
5/4/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 28

Tanka 226, 227, 228

From the collection The Immediate and No Sooner, from 2021.

Tanka 226
11/23/20

part scandal part joke
our double act goes back years
this old iron and me
and what we’ve done together
to shirts skirts and boxer shorts

Tanka 227
11/23/20

sleepy doves startle
the flock fans out and flies up
one strikes the window
a glancing blow but lethal
feathers flutter to the ground

Tanka 228
11/23/20

the pen sketches in
repeats the diagonal
the shape is complete
too much so? what’s the absence
that your eye is looking for?

A few new: Tanka 282; Haiku 942; Haiku 943; Shadorma 390

Here are a few new poems from this week.

I enjoy looking at real estate listings on the internet. (I especially love a 3D tour). Recently I saw a house in poor shape, overgrown shrubbery, cracked asphalt driveway – you know the kind of house I mean. Yet in some way, it seemed defiant, almost, in its decrepitude. I was thinking about this house when I wrote the first three poems for today.

Tanka 282


The house turned its back
Cold-shouldered its cowed neighbors
Angry solitude
preferred. On this dead end street
children say it is haunted.
11/23/21

*******

Haiku 942


Leaves in matted heaps
caught by the curb and left there
to rot. No one cares.
11/23/21

*******

Haiku 943


on the dead end street
solitary by design
the proud house snubs all
11/23/21

*******

In my childhood, if you burned yourself while cooking at my grandmother’s house, she administered first aid from a drawer right there on the spot in the kitchen.

Shadorma 390


Burn your hand
on the pie pan. Eat
a big slice
at dinner
the smell of aloe ointment
flavors every bite
11/22/21

Little Vines 11/22/21

How about some new Little Vines? Take a look and see what I have this week to show you.

5374.
My love, I await
another happier oscillation of the planet –
in other words, darling,
I hope for a better day tomorrow

5375.
The prefix of the meal a fine shrimp cocktail –
of the suffix, all I can remember is
it was overambitious and overbaked


5376.
Should deliberate confusion really be eliminated
in the verbal models you employ
in communicating with your spouse? Ask youself:
How’s that going to help our marriage?

5377.
The closet emptied of dresses
coats shirts shoes sweaters.
All gone. A cleaner’s tag on the floor.
You shut the door. Hangers rattle.

5378.
In the brightly lighted kitchen a man
looked over his utility bills
used a knife to pick his teeth

5379.
the bald man ruminates in his study
his beloved checks each knife
in the kitchen for sharpness

5380.
sturdy as concrete
twice as durable
the rumor that’s going around about you


5381.
the heat towers over the highway
the asphalt twists
the yellow center link kinks

5382.
yellow oven mitt
a burn mark on the thumb
It is unique.

5383.
in the thunk
of a green walnut on the sidewalk
I hear despair.
I’m tired of disappointing you.

5384.
you propose a logical linear journey
I would prefer
that you take me by surprise now and then

5385.
in the third row there is
a vat of pulp not yet resigned
to being pressed into egg cartons


5386.
Coffee made by a dead man
Pink roses in a vase on the piano
How can I make sense of it
when the author couldn’t?

5387.
It was Mom’s lasagna
the scent wafting through the cat door
that made our Mittens finally come home

5388.
A needle experiments
A spool of thread unwinds
to correct some unfortunate decisions

5389.
passengers on the express train
whisk past the first moments of a romance
now beginning at a local stop platform

5390.
a handful of yellow pencils yet unsharpened
the future
holds so many possibilities

Fused

From And Don’t Come Back, published in 2021.

Fused

My faith and my failures
mingle

A double exposure.
The camera’s eye snicks shut
twice
records two images turned inside out
reverses them prints them
One.

Nothing to do with each other
and yet
always meant to be
One.

12/14/20

Tanka 224, Haiku 895, 896, 897

From the collection The Immediate and No Sooner, from 2021.

Tanka 224
11/17/20

blurred copyright year
a book coy about its age
charmless and dated
the former belle of the ball
presents her tattered dance card

Haiku 895
11/23/20

the engine cramped up
the transmission seized and gasped
the minivan died

Haiku 896
11/23/20

the inheritance –
this dull sawblade of a laugh –
your father left you

Haiku 897
11/23/20

a wool coat soaked through
the apathetic triumph
of winter drizzle

Little Vines 11/18/21

This week’s selection.

5355.
You travel light
you long for home
Won’t you call me? I miss you too.


5356.
feeling a spiral
the flock of birds
disconnects from the earth and rises

5357.
the soul flies out of her body
a shadow dissipating in the doomed glow
of a putrid yellow moon

5358.
orange juice and beets
I don’t like the taste of them together
but what a beautiful color pair they are

5359.
a chaotic lunchtime
but on the table
plums purr purple in their dish

5360.
underwater
the typewriter
clacks out a mermaid’s autobiography


5361.
Oxygen struggles with sulfurous gases
Losing badly. A new nose just arrived
notices: the afterlife smells like….

5362.
I so need a good day today.
Is there one available
at a price I can afford?

5363.
gluey and almost translucent,
decked out in too-tight-too-short black bathing trunks
the man strode across the beach, fuming

5364.
You cut flowers from my garden
for your mom, said the ogre.
How sweet. Now go and bring me her tooth.

5365.
the house is still
there is no answer when I call out
I know he’s gone now many years
But somehow I just can’t believe it


5366.
Tight on the one side
loose on the other? Oh my goodness.
Well, Dr. Flaxon did say he was in a bad way all right.

5367.
The teapot stamps on the table
rattles its lid. The sugar bowl
cringes. The cup gapes. You know
what happens next.

5368.
I made spaghetti for dinner
the baby loves it. Now he’s wearing it
in a three-strand necklace

5369.
strung along the lonely road
a gathering of decrepit houses –
fossils of the life here as it used to be

5370.
I can never think of that hour without feeling the
pinpricks of what might be altered
if I ever have to re-live it


5371.
Stop quibbling. It’s footprints
Gloria, footprints.
That’s all you have to remember. Footprints.

5372.
That top-heavy cake – you knew the risks so now
detonate it gently like I showed you
and watch out for Grandma

5373.
The packed chaotic highway
a perfect site for romance
if you are a car looking to kiss a concrete barrier, maybe

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: Half in This World Half Yet to Arrive

You may know that in addition to my poetry I also do art, posted on my blog Claudia McGill and Her Art World. For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

Half in This World Half Yet to Arrive

In what fairy tale did you speak your first words?
What magic made you
a flower in a garden a wise frog friend
a seer
wearing a mended apron and a divided mind
who sees me as I am with one eye
and with the other
knows me as I might be?

What spell cast over your house knitted its roof
embroidered its windows
What hand colored in the empty spaces
with feathered strokes of hope?

5/1/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 27