BALTIMORE — a tanka string

10 Apr


To get off
The crowded bus
I shuffle,
Stretch and lean—
The old straphangers’ dance

Stepping off
The Trailways bus
At Fayette Street
A chilling rain
The fragrance of diesel

Deep in the stacks
At the Enoch Pratt
I sense the ages
Still breathing, intelligent
Pages waiting to be seen

A National Boh
Sweating on its coaster
Cod cakes catching flies
I’m lost in my newest find
At the Peabody Book Store

Lunch at the deli
Next to the fish market
I choose pastrami—
So fine with mustard
And crowds and noise

After working late
In my trudge to the garage
Always this delight—
The moment the sensors click
All the streetlights on at once

Headed north on Charles
In the evening rush hour
Bicyclists pass us by . . .
Inside, my car’s AC
Drowns out the daily madness

After a late dinner
We step outside
The street is white-carpeted
Snowglobes around each lamppost

Mid-town arcade
Everyone crowds around
The fun-house mirrors . . .
Any illusion will do
For prisoners of reality

“Things go well,”
My friend says “. . . Well. Well.”
Adjusting his coat sleeve
To hide a soiled cuff
I peer across the street

Fund-raising dinner
Slides of starving children
Flash quickly by—
The tinkle of crystal
And silver almost stops


Published in Streetlights (2009) and in First Winter Rain (2010).


Posted by on April 10, 2015 in Short Verse, Tanka


Tags: ,

2 responses to “BALTIMORE — a tanka string

  1. thotpurge

    April 11, 2015 at 1:11 am

    Any illusion will do for prisoners of reality… nice!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Lens and Pens by Sally

a weekly blog that creates a personal philosophy through photographs and words

Belinda Broughton

illustration, art n poetry (by Belinda Broughton)

Life After Carbs

A real person eating (mostly) real food

the other bunny

for the other kind of haibun


where all the trash in my head pours out as poetry. Enjoy!


"Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back." ... these are my songs and whispers.

Failed Haiku

A Journal of English Senryu

All Things Tanka

News and information about tanka


an open journal

Charlotte Digregorio's Writer's Blog

This is a writer's blog for authors, business people, creative people, freelancers, journalists, publishers, and poets. They will learn the ins and outs of writing for publication. Both beginning and experienced writers will profit from it.


poetry by j matthew waters

In The Hive Poetry Thoughts Stories Photo's Art (copyright by

Bending moments

This site is the cat’s pajamas


4 out of 5 dentists recommend this site

Lilly coyote's haiku den

Home to haiku, haibun, haiga, and a few stray poems


Just another site

Jars of Stars

... some of the best micropoetry from Twitter, kept alive in jars...

this empty nest

photos and images by angie werren


contemporary haiku since 1994


Truth is a pain to accept


Incomplete Thots...


"As things are, and as fundamentally they must always be, poetry is not a career, but a mug's game. No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written: He may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing." T.S.Eliot

The Bonny Blog

photography ● poetry ● quotations

Awoodlandrose's Blog

The Poetry of Soil

tom clausen

poems and photos

%d bloggers like this: