Day Eighteen #PoemADayFeb – Tanka (form)

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Rain beats like Morse code
taps the letters of your name
on tin roof pages
drenches my skin with wanting
still I wait for you.

© Kathy Parker 2019

Day Eighteen #PoemADayFeb – Tanka (form)

The Japanese tanka is a thirty-one syllable poem, traditionally written in a single unbroken line. Tanka translates as “short song” and is better known in its five-line, 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count form. Tanka poems are usually written about nature, love, sadness, and other strong emotions.

Day Sixteen and Seventeen #PoemADayFeb – Cusp and Unveil


And this is where we will meet;
this place in-between, where
we will shed our clothes and
watch all we have been fall to
the floor; unspoken promise
heavy beneath our tongue.
Your lips will taste of warm soil,
my skin of summer rain;
tear-stained earth, sweat-stained
sheets, thirst-stained promise.
We will write new stories on each
other’s bodies, volumes of words
we have longed to say, but couldn’t –
unveiling flesh, unveiling desire.
Yes, this is where we will meet,
my love, on the cusp of what
we once were, eager hands
grasping for what we now become.

© Kathy Parker 2019

Day Sixteen and Seventeen #PoemADayFeb – Cusp and Unveil (missed yesterday so throwing two in for today!)

Day Thirteen #PoemADayFeb – Change

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I tell him I will write a poem where the letters of his name
are woven through every line; that I will not place him
in the spaces between, where I hide meaning inside
of metaphor.
I do not tell him of the way this terrifies me; to write
of such pure things, as friendship, as him,
when my native tongue is fluent in the language
of sorrow,
and his name does not belong in such dark places.
Someone once said all you need is twenty seconds of
insane courage for something great to happen
and it made me think of coins in the air;
the way we hold a lifetime of hope inside our lungs
as fate is decided, except it’s probably not a lifetime,
or even twenty seconds, but is courage just the same.
Snowboarding while listening to My Chemical Romance,
he tweets, and I have listened to them on repeat
for an entire year and I want to grab hold of this moment
of kinship
but there are wounds on my fingers still trying to heal and
bloodstains never looked good on new beginnings
and I still have not told him
how he was my twenty seconds that day;
how we spend our lives afraid
to throw our coins in the air; so unsure which way
they will fall, until we soon become tired of pockets full
of loose change weighing us down.

© Kathy Parker 2019

Day Thirteen #PoemADayFeb – Change

Day Twelve #PoemADayFeb – Summer

woman-in-rain-storm.jpgAnd this is how it happens;
months of half-descended skies
dampen our gaze and like greedy children
we clamber to see the first yellow vein
touch the surface of fleshy cloud; we drench
our shadowed bodies with light, careless
to heed the warnings of our youth –
eager gaze prolonged, cells of retina
bleached by sun’s bitter kiss.
Black spots, blind spots.
In a dream,
sky above scorches flesh
while ground below holds frozen
and the air hangs thick with a metaphor
I cannot see, blinded by beams of him
coming through the doorway of my winter.
Black spots, blind spots.
He does not notice how taut my arms
become from holding up the sky for him.
I do not notice how razor-edged the ice
against my flesh until I bleed.
Black spots, blind spots.
Blistered eyelids force my gaze away
from that which I once hungered
and I see what I did not before:
love is only born of the soft soil
beneath our feet.
The scales fall from my eyes.
I am the rain.
And he is so last summer.

© Kathy Parker 2019

Day Twelve #PoemADayFeb – Summer

Day Eleven #PoemADayFeb – First

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I lost my voice when I was seven;
buried in an unmarked grave
where all untold stories go to die.
I learned it’s quite a skill to hold
a lifetime of words beneath your tongue
and not choke on the debris of letters
that fester in the back of your throat;
to swallow truth like a hungry dog with
bared teeth;
willing another to not come close enough
to taste such foul feast upon their lips.
It turns out there is no minute of silence
for silence;
no funeral for people to dress in black
and eat jelly cakes
and cluck tongues over the tragic loss
of life taken too soon.
Innocence taken too soon.
There is only the sound of applause; let a
woman learn silently with all submissiveness.
I am thirty-four when I find my voice again,
yet it is not the first time I speak
which brings me to my knees,
but the first time I am heard.

© Kathy Parker 2019

Day Eleven #PoemADayFeb – First

Day Five #PoemADayFeb – Journey

I was looking for one

not afraid to journey

upon these war-torn

paths of my freedom

but he was never

a man of sure foot

and what I needed

most was a traveller

with heels as blistered

as mine.

Day Five #PoemADayFeb – Journey

Day Four #PoemADayFeb – Inside

I turned my heart inside out;

delicate, handle with care.

(as if you ever read labels)

(as if you ever read me)

Day Four #PoemADayFeb – Inside

Day Three #PoemADayFeb – Beginning

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And this is what we’re left with,
but then, we never were complete –
only ever broken halves of a whole;
pages half open, clothes half open,
half-finished wine, half-begun touch.
A goodbye disguised as a tomorrow
we knew was not ours to believe in.
I write stories about leaving lovers,
you, about being left. The ocean still
longs for the shoreline even though
she knows if one thing does not end,
another cannot begin.

© Kathy Parker 2019

Day Three #PoemADayFeb – Beginning

Day Two #PoemADayFeb – Cascade (form)

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I have passed this test before;
sable eyes flecked with autumn light.
I will drink of you like morning wine –
foolhardy; yet wise to abandon
before I am found drunk by the night.
For I have passed this test before.
You; found weighed and wanting,
hollowed out promises held behind
sable eyes flecked with autumn light.
I am too knowing to fall for misguided
impression as in my youth, yet still,
I will drink of you like morning wine.

© Kathy Parker 2019

For the cascade poem, a poet takes each line from the first stanza of a poem and makes those the final lines of each stanza afterward. Beyond that, there are no additional rules for rhyming, meter, etc.

Day One #PoemADayFeb – Heat

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I held your hand as the forest stilled
and the air grew cold; a silent prophecy,
a prediction not felt but tasted
upon our tongues.
Your thumb drawing circles
on my palm, the callous of your skin
still felt against mine
like a phantom limb gnawing
at the empty hours of my sleep.

There are twenty-three circles
around the fallen branch
of the tree we once named ours.
She has been here longer than we
ever knew how; roots fumble below
damp earth the way we fumbled over
truth, never sure of the way to turn.

I have been thinking of the winter;
how hardened we became as resignation
stole the colour from our eyes.
How we clothed our bodies in husk and
called ourselves weatherproof.
How we have become like Banksia seeds;
hope held tight beneath resin seal,
restless for the heat of a wildfire
to awaken new birth.