Star Wars Tanka

Tuesday morning in the dunes…


Official sighting:
Star Wars Episode VII,
or Jedi mind tricks…

Photo evidence:
Large grey mechanical disc —
The Empire Strikes Back?

Hollywood sources:
“Scenes of Tatooine would shoot
in Abu Dhabi.”

“Never coming back,”
mused Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker.
Storytellers: “Wrong.”

“Business as usual,”
said Emirati farmer.
J.J. Abrams: “Wrong.”

Hidden from locals;
no one at the gas station
was aware of set.

Haikuisation, Oulipost prompt #17
Source text: ‘Star Wars’ Set Spotted in Abu Dhabi Desert

“A Maxim” by Carl Dennis

To live each day as if it might be the last
Is an injunction that Marcus Aurelius
Inscribes in his journal to remind himself
That he, too, however privileged, is mortal,
That whatever bounty is destined to reach him
Has reached him already, many times.
But if you take his maxim too literally
And devote your mornings to tinkering with your will,
Your afternoons and evenings to saying farewell
To friends and family, you’ll come to regret it.
Soon your lawyer won’t fit you into his schedule.
Soon your dear ones will hide in a closet
When they hear your heavy step on the porch.
And then your house will slide into disrepair.
If this is my last day, you’ll say to yourself,
Why waste time sealing drafts in the window frames
Or cleaning gutters or patching the driveway?
If you don’t want your heirs to curse the day
You first opened Marcus’s journals,
Take him simply to mean you should find an hour
Each day to pay a debt or forgive one,
Or write a letter of thanks or apology.
No shame in leaving behind some evidence
You were hoping to live beyond the moment.
No shame in a ticket to a concert seven months off,
Or, better yet, two tickets, as if you were hoping
To meet by then someone who’d love to join you,
Two seats near the front so you catch each note.

So much hope in the last six lines, and just the right balance of poignancy and humor in the middle. Found this gem in the New Yorker magazine. I don’t know anything about Carl Dennis, but his poetry is brilliant.

Poem 15: a Psalm

Bellman, who shall dream in thy familiarity?
Who shall sing in thy essential existence?
He that awakened thoughts, and heaped remembrance,
and heard the mystery in his moments.
He that conquers not with his calculations,
nor seduces children to his territory,
nor carries a fact against his mind.
In whose eyes a midmorning childhood is woven;
but he nourishes them that dream the sky.
He that rises to his own archaeology, and blusters not.
He that passes not out his time to death,
nor overflows life against the moments.
He that travels these borders shall never be half-hearted.

Found Poetry Review’s Oulipost prompt #16: CHIMERA
“Having chosen a newspaper article or other text for treatment, remove its nouns, verbs and adjectives. Replace the nouns with those taken in order from a different work, the verbs with those from a second work, the adjectives with those from a third.

Body: Psalm 15, Holy Bible, King James Version
Nouns: Diane Setterfield, Bellman & Black, p. 1 and introductory quote from Crow Country by Mark Cocker
Verbs: Stephen King, On Writing, p. 64, reprinting a poem by Tabby King, “A Gradual Canticle for Augustine.”
Adjectives: Helena Frith Powell, All You Need to be Impossibly French, pp. 174-76.

Yeah, I KNOW it’s crap. (My fault; not the prompt’s.)
I already said there were no more words. But in an attempt to not give up, I’m scraping the bottom of the cyber barrel for prompts.
Anybody got any ideas?

Do you see her much?

Rosalind Russell, Auntie Mame, c. 1958

“Agnes!” I hope she hears my smile. “How’s rehab?”
“Fine, dear… I… got your note.” She chokes. “I thought nobody noticed I’d gone.”
My throat tightens. “Oh, Aggie.”
“You’re it, kid.”
Emotion passes.
“I’m dying for a martini. Lunch?”

Inspired by a recent phone conversation with a fabulous, not-to-be forgotten old friend. If you notice someone’s MIA, please send a note or call. A few minutes of your time means the world to her.

from zero to author in 40 years flat


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