Unless stated otherwise, all poetry on Swimming in Lines of Haiku is Copyright Kirsten Cliff and may not be reprinted in any form without written permission from the author. kirsten(DOT)cliff(AT)gmail(DOT)com
The latest issue of on-line journal Lynx (28:2) is out now with two tanka sequences I've collaborated on this year, with two different poets.
The first is Uncharted Depths withKat Creighton (US). This was my first time writing with Kat and I enjoyed the process immensely. I was in the middle of summer, while Kat was in winter, so we decided to write to our own season, which I think worked well. I hope we'll be writing together again soon. Here is a favourite of mine from that sequence:
hoping I'll know when I've become whole . . . so much to learn watching the sunflowers watching the sun
The second tanka sequence is Lost & Found withMargaret Dornaus (US). Margaret and I have written together a few times now and I always learn so much through the process. We already have another in the pipeline! Here's my most memorable tanka from this joint creation:
first dream of the year diagnosing her pain as leukaemia . . . could I find the strength to do it over again
My first dream of 2013 really was about me being a doctor and diagnosing a patient with leukaemia! It's poetry like this that stops me from wrapping up my first book manuscript as I keep finding more to write about and process about my journey with cancer. But I have given myself a deadline this year for completion, so I'll let you know how I get on.
I'd travelled by train to the
well-known Harajuku purely for the piercing experience. Tongue
piercing, that is. Or a nipple, if you were game and your tongue was
already adorned. Sitting upstairs in the studio, I could hear the
sounds rising from the busy streets below. Markets overflowed with
people and wares. The city had a good vibe. It was a place for the
young and trendy. And pierced.
of white bread, with the
I brought from home—
morning sun strains
through curtains never
I was the next in line and watched with
interest: a Japanese boy sitting in a raised chair, his tongue
protruding with an X marking the spot. A large cork was positioned
under his tongue and held firmly in place ready for the thick needle
to puncture it. I held my breath as the piercing needle came down and
the boy’s tongue curled around it, surprised at the assault. A blur
of hands, then a shiny gold bar was poking out from the boy’s mouth
as he paid and tried to say arigato.
with a cinnamon stick—
do well here
Five minutes later I was awkwardly
announcing, “It didn’t hurt as much as having my nose done.”
The friend I'd come with was lying on a high bed having Xs drawn on
her left nipple. Her lengthy black hair looked scruffy against the
white pillow. I seemed to be leaning over her in protection, and
couldn’t help but watch as her areola changed from a smooth
yielding circle into its tight brown peak. This was a welcome
distraction from my own discomfort. That is, until I had to avert my
eyes from the sharp needle penetrating it.
a quick bite to eat
at the noodle bar—
pictures, we both order
same meal every time
My tongue didn’t hurt much, but it
sure was a strange sensation. Imagine someone’s forearm stuffed in
your mouth: the fist pushed hard against your palate and the elbow
jutting down forcefully into the soft base of your mouth. Not much
room left for your swollen tongue, so enlarged that your teeth have
now firmly sunken into the sides. How was I going to eat?
New Zealand Poetry Society International Haiku Competition
and senryu. Cash prizes of $NZ100 each for the first five placings, plus
the Jeanette Stace Memorial Prize of $NZ150 for the winner. All winning
haiku, plus selected others from competition entries, will be published
in the annual anthology. Judge: Nola Borrell. Closes: May 31, in hand. Cost: $NZ1.50/haiku, for NZPS members every 5th haiku is free. It is possible to pay via the website. For full details see the website.
New Zealand Poetry Society Junior Haiku Competition
haiku and senryu. Open to entrants 17 years of age or younger on May
31, 2013. Three cash prizes of $NZ50 each in both the
primary/intermediate and secondary sections, plus the Jeanette Stace
Memorial Prize of $NZ100 for the overall winner. All winning haiku, plus
selected others from competition entries, will be published in the
annual anthology. Judge: Kirsten Cliff. Closes: May 31, in hand. Cost: $NZ1/haiku or 4 Kiwi stamps/3 haiku. For full details see the website.