boxing

Miss pink gloves looks like a contender,
a speed date you would like to know,
her wispy bangs and moon-deep eyes,
the way she clasps her bag against her thigh.

As you sit down, “Oh what is it you do?”
You come out fighting, “I’m a published poet.”
She counters with a raised eyebrow, and sighs,
“Dear God, you mean another one of those.”

“The terse haiku dude labored odd relations,
the sonneteer was full of high conceit,
You  really can’t be worse than all those others.”
“I am a Tanka master.” She says, “Shit!”

So you dive straight in,
Manyoshu to Kokinshu,
modern revival,
the chosen form for lovers,
friends, between tea, end of day

She takes your points, left, right, left, right, left, right,
the best research that Wikipedia has,
She hits below the belt, “Well, I do free verse.
Your prissy counting I’ll leave to my gran.”

You stagger back, while looking for a comeback,
but she is getting up, and moves to leave.
You offer to perform a quick recital,
The timer sounds for technical defeat.

H is for homespun, homicide.

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What is more homespun
than a Midwestern farmer, his quilting wife,
a family in denial?

We thought we knew them but we didn’t
pry. Two great grandparents scratching out a life
to live.

Four bodies interred in dirt barn floors,
and, weighted with a concrete block and chain,
a fifth

was found deep down inside a well: victims
of a scam to rustle cattle: Bad cheques and vagrants,
a Marlin Varmint rifle,

a list of names with an x beside, a quilt
of dead men’s clothes, a legacy of violence,
duty, guilt.

Triolet practice

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Awash with fear, the village watched

the soldiers scuttle every boat.

A glass of ice before the scotch,

awash with fear, the village watched

the rebels stirring up to snatch

the chief, his fate in every throat.

Awash with fear, the village watched

the soldiers scuttle every boat.

Verse for an online class

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It streaks across, a brittle ball of fire,

a lone eureka wanted by the law,

a paradigm to set the world aglow.

Received opinion wants to snuff it out,

but comet truth is hope, a madman’s song

that flies above us waiting voice’s chance.

A British couple in a Swiss cafe

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his socks and sandals; her stern cotton dress
recovered from his suitcase freshly pressed;
next to the welcome pack the clinic sent,
obligatory missives to old flames;
a mobile brim with messages from home:
the late petitions, curses, snaps, and spam;
the wedding band she slipped off while mid-flight;
her camiknickers he took for a shroud;
a pair of headphones if he chose to dwell
on issues, arguments, or vent his bile;
no longer hot on gardening, or whist,
she was the final item on her list.

In case of lost marbles, fill head wiith tiddlywinks

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Okra, pepper, sweet potato
Thimble, scissors, yarn, and pins
Pencil, rubber, crossword puzzle
Patience gluing Airfix kits.

Individuals, occupations
Intermission, or a pause
Indecision, or intention
Hobbies mean more peace, less war.