Nishikigoi poem

cat and koi pond - Cat and koi pond by Utagawa kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)  January 1, 1797 -  April 14, 1861

cat and koi pond – Cat and koi pond by Utagawa kuniyoshi (歌川国芳) January 1, 1797 – April 14, 186 


Years ago, we had a koi pond – nishikigoi: brocaded carp. It is a pleasure to feed them and watch them nibble bits of lettuce and melon, to watch them break the surfacte and play. A good friend of mine wrote the first three lines, which so delighted me, I wrote the rest of the poem from that inspiration. And, my friend loves my fried chicken!

A forbidden desire:
A fishing pole, pond,
Carp sushi–and fried chicken.  by Beni

Unmoving, sleeping.
At peace in the sun.

Barely rippling,
Fins and tail calm.
Dreaming of lettuce.

Flutters ripples hides –
Carp sushi nightmare.

Looks up and sees
Tall thin one with
Pole is not topside.
Sees short round one
With lettuce and melon.
Safe, he rises to eat.

Nishikigoi laughs.
Tall thin one comes
Eating fried chicken

Bits of biscuit
Float on water – Snap!
Gone without a trace.

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The Necklace

After you left I kept thinking you would return.
And because you so loved the small beauties
and the simple things,
I kept the memories.
I wanted to embed them in molten glass
and string them on a fine gold chain
that you could wear under your clothes
close to your heart,
to pull the chain up and look at those simple things
and see them through my eyes that saw them without you:
the way the mist lay close to the ground
in the late autumn,
or the sound of birds the morning of the first snow.
The tiny new kittens boneless and blind
opening their pink mouths and silently hissing.
The last string of geese flying south
in the apricot dawn,
the velvet eyes of the young heifer in my friend’s barn
and the warm smell of the animals and hay,
the first tiny pink cherry blossom opening slowly
in the cold of early spring
or the ever spreading ripples in the koi pond
made by slow rain.
you never returned.
and the necklace of memories sleeps
in a small wooden box,
never touched by your hand or seen by your eyes.

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dVerse Poetics: MTB – Music From a Passing Radio

Today at dVerse Poetics, Meeting the Bar, Bjorn has given us the prompt of “Time Machine” – flashbacks, memories of the past. Come and join us at dVerse. I think you will be pleased with the many poets of such varied talents and styles. And please, add a poem of your own that would meet the prompt!


Cleaning out a corner of the attic.
Pasteboard box sealed with loops and loops of tape.
I know what is in the box but I cut the seal anyway.
I lift out a Japanese lacquered box –
Black with koi swimming across the lid.
I open the box – I breathe deeply –
The scent of him
The scent of Trumpers sandalwood shaving soap.
I open a large plastic bag and take out the black silk
Hakama and jacket – embroidered – black on black dragons.

I put them back into the box and shove it into the corner
And pile up boxes of books on top.
I close the attic door and go downstairs.

I sit on my back steps,
Warm soft rain misting me.
Sleepy as a child I sit.
Quiet movement – the wild bunnies
Have come out to graze on the bed
of clover I guard carefully
from my husband’s voracious lawn mower –
Only for the night nibblers that fear me not.
I lean my head back against the glass
of the patio door. So tired
but needing to be out in the night.
Soft sweet rain taps on the leaves of the trees.
So very tired. My eyelids droop.
Through the woods, from a passing car
on the distant road I hear…..
one on one I want to play that game tonight.

My eyes close and in my dream I see
a summer day, long ago.
“I like this song. Teach me to dance to it.”
You pull me up from my crouch by the koi pool.
“Teach me….one on one”….you sing the words
with the radio. I smile up at you.
“I lead.” I place my hand on your belly.
Feel you warm through your tee shirt.
“Center of balance….here. Relax your knees.
Up on the balls of your feet.”
I put my arm around your waist, my hand
nestled in the small of your back.
I take your hand and then come in closer,
moving against you, pulling you after me.
quick quick slow. quick quick slow.
You are light and graceful. “Are we fighting
or are we dancing?” I laugh into your chest,
Sometimes my love, it is the same thing.”
One on one I want to play that game tonight….
You bend and laugh softly in my ear.
“Rhumba…you are teaching me the rhumba.
You are a sneaky ballroom dancer girl.”
I pull your hips tight against me
and rotate against you.
You sigh….”you are a cruel ballroom dancer girl.”
The song ends and the radio on our steps
blares out some song we care nothing about.
But later, we dance again, to our own music.

I open my eyes.
Silence now except for the whisper of rain
on the leaves of the trees.
The song is past,
gone down a road of darkness.

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The Bells: Murder of the Innocent

I am writing this to memorialize the nine innocents murdered in Charleston, SC and also, the 16 year old son of a friend who was murdered in his front yard this past weekend.  Pray for healing in our country.

The bells tolled:
every hour on the hour,
nine times.
Across the city,
people gathered in prayer
a prayer for those nine murdered in their church,
a prayer for this country,
prayers for peace and unity
prayers for healing.

While his mother was at church praying,
the young son of the family stayed at home
to watch over younger cousins.
They were playing wiffle ball in the front yard.
Kids having fun.
The street was quiet but you could
still hear the bells – nine times
every hour on the hour.

The quiet neighborhood
became a battle ground for two warring gangs.
They did not care who was caught in the crossfire.
They did not care that prayers were being said.
They did not care children were out playing.

The beautiful young man
The innocent young man lay still –
several bullets found his body
and as his young cousins watched,
he died in the front yard of his home.

No one saw anything.
No one knew anything.
If anyone knew anything,
they were silent.

The bells tolled every hour on the hour.
The bells tolled.
People prayed.

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dVerse Poetics: Monsoon

Today at dVerse Poetics, Abrha is the bartender. He is from India and wishes us to write about monsoon. I have never experienced monsoon but have experienced the torrential sudden rains after a long, hot dry spell of summer. I am using my imagination for monsoon and weaving in some of the past. Come visit us at dVerse. Read some of the submissions for this very different prompt. Add one of your own!


“I love storms. Primordial. Every bit of civilization gone. Everything true coming out.” Vanessa Ives, Penny Dreadful

Hot. Smoldering hot.
The sky like molten bronze.
It is amazing the stones of the buildings do not explode in the heat
Or melt and run in the gutters.
Rain coming. Soon. Soon.
And then the first breath –
The rain begins and  –
The skies rip and before I can open my umbrella
I am soaked to the skin –
The rain like cold needles drives into my skin,
stabbing into my heart and emptying it of secrets.
Steam rises from the street,
The buildings
My skin.
In the rising steam and driving rain
People move, barely seen, like wandering ghosts.
I have tried to chase away the memories.
In my mind I hear your voice
Like a call that crackles from a bad connection
and disconnects before I can interpret your words.
A man bumps into me and for a moment
I think he looks like you.
But he disappears into the mist and rain
And I accept I will never see you again.
Every time it rains, it reminds me of you.

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ゆうだち Yuudachi – sudden evening rain

“Sudden Rain” Author: Takahashi, Shotei (Japanese, 1871-1945)

“Sudden Rain” Author: Takahashi, Shotei (Japanese, 1871-1945)

breathless summer night –
wind rushes, quick taps on leaves
sudden evening rain.

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dVerse Poetics – Open Link Night: Silent Road

public domain photo

public domain photo

Today is Open Link Night at dVerse Poetics. This means we do not post to a prompt but instead, post a poem of whatever subject and style we choose. I am posting a haibun I began several years ago. I grew up in North Carolina and the countryside was filled with farms of all kinds: vegetable, cattle, tobacco. There are many two lane roads out in the country with dirt roads leading off to less populated areas. I frequently would drive out into the countryside to escape the ambient lights of the cities to observe meteor showers in the black night of the countryside.I wrote this in 1995 and have just now cleaned up enough to post.  Mary is hosting at the Pub today.  We are also sharing books we enjoy.  Come and join us and read some talented poets and…submit one of your own!

Silent Road
Delta Aquarids –
Escape from city lights – the
Veiled stars will unveil.

Hot night in July –needing to be out of the city, rolling smooth down a country two lane blacktop, soft roar of the tires – tack…..tack…..tack…..Rock in the tire tread – front passenger, I think. Black countryside, no lights showing in the few houses. Folks have to get up early go to work in town, go to work in surrounding tobacco fields. Rolling past rows of tobacco and corn row after row after row, broken only by the dark houses. Green plants show up white in the headlights.

Past another small house, dark. Ahead off to the right a dirt road. I pull off and go down it slowly. Dust invisible but I can smell it, thick whiffs of sharp iron and sweeter lime. And in the headlights ahead. Washboard shadows in the hard dirt where constant tires have cleared away the gravel. In the headlight the road is pale pink but in the daylight, it will be red as blood. To the left, a small drive leading to an empty space by the tobacco field. I pull in and park, cut the engine – the cooling motor goes ting ting ting…

Insect sounds rise in
The darkness – chackachacka,
Whir, hypnotic hum..

Except for the insects, dead silence except for a dog barking some distance away then another closer by answers. In front of me as my eyes adjust I see several empty tobacco slides waiting for morning. Time of year to prime the thick leaves, snap by hand the thick stalks heavy leaves of the plants, to be loaded in layers in the slides, then hitched to the back of a tractor to be taken to be to ancient tobacco barns and tied by hand to tobacco sticks, loaded by hand into the barn to dry for sale in the fall. I can tell by the snapped stalks on the plants, this is the third priming.

Fireflies flicker – an
insect meteor shower
among the dark plants.

One comes in my car window and settles on the steering wheel, White dark white dark – flashing its signals to an alien being who doesn’t understand the language. Smells of dust, acrid tang of tobacco sap, smell of cows from a field close by. Tipping the seat back  I lean my head against the headrest And look at the stars through my windshield. The firefly continues its signals. Suddenly, several quick bursts in the dark sky and the stars begin to fall – trails of white falling towards the horizon, silent as dust. Some shimmer, some burst, they all burn in the summer night, streak after streak, fast, slow, dark and again they explode and fall.

July stars burst, streak, –
Trails of fire in the black night
Fade and disappear.

In the cool grey dawn, the stars have gone to sleep. The firefly has flown away. I drive slowly down the dirt road back to the two lane black top back to the city.   Tack…..tack…..tack…..

public domain free image

public domain free image

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