Category Archives: The Poetry Pantry

Bread and Broken Dreams

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~~ 1 ~~
 
tangled old orchard
filling her with fear and dread—
the fruitless plum trees
disguise themselves as women
spilling vowels from their tongues
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
first calligraphy
written in the wilderness—
foxes sniff the lines
of a swart poem, wanting
to brush dark things of their own
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
In the dusty streets
she stabs the tip of her cane,
dotting her way home—
beside her hobbles a crow,
who imagines it’s her child.
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
She hears a drummer,
and then with new clarity,
understands her call:
to live among the poorest,
sharing bread and broken dreams.
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
Uncanny vision—
she smothers it with cobbles
lifted from the street,
where dreams run down the gutter
over broken bits of glass.

 
Tanka © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #267
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #22

A Poet Is Born

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The first line of each breath-of-a-poem is taken from The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano by Margarita Engle.
 


~~ 1 ~~
 
In some hut of mud
with a floor of dry, tamped dung,
a poet is born.
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
inventing verses
that rise and fall with seasons—
the farming poet
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
on flimsy paper
writing words that reach thousands
with pathos and light
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
A fragrance of words
flows from the child poet’s mouth—
honey on his tongue.
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
the whispered daydreams
of corn pushing toward the sun
during tassel time
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
a woman running
from the seed about to split
into lightning songs
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
The fragrant garden—
she comes each day at twilight
to sip with the bees.
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
No one is looking
as she enters the courtyard
to steal a mango.
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
after the harvest
every vine stripped of its fruit—
season of waiting
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
Count the songs growing
in the tunnel of the mole—
ten thousand or more.
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
Even a free bird
cannot sprout another wing
when one is broken.

 
Poems © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #266
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #21

Mariachis and More

Old Mariachis
Painting at Fábrica La Aurora San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, México
 
 
THIS WEEK’S WORDS come from “No More Cake Here” by Natalie Diaz: mortuary, motor, many, midnight, mouths, mariachis, mutants, magician, meth, missed, more, maybe


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
old mariachis
their faces creased with music
tumbling through the night
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
A little more time—
the cobblestones will crumble
and fresh woods will sprout.
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
Maybe the ravens
know more about nasturtiums
than ever I will.
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
old poet hobbling
near the pond’s edge at midnight
ripple of water
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
Sing me a riddle:
How many crooked pathways
make a journey whole?

 
~~ 6 ~~
 
It is a sonnet,
and anything can happen—
pour it in their mouths!
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
an old motor home
clunking along the highway
gypsy at the wheel
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
thinking once more of
those missed opportunities—
sixty untold tales
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
the old magician
seeking advice from ravens
on a windy night
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
one breath from heaven
mortuary director
waits for the next call
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
sudden explosion—
a meth lab in his kitchen
blows the guy to hell
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
seventeen mutants
singing alto in the choir—
the strange ways of God

 
Poems © 2015 and photo © 2013 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #265
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #20

Seasons

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~~ 1 ~~
 
summer’s first new moon
keeping her awake for hours
in a bed of stars
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
first night of the year
her modest white kimono
falling to the floor—
in a separate chamber
soft notes from a bamboo flute
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
little hanging lamps
connected to the plum trees
with frayed bungee cords—
asleep beneath the blossoms
a beggar takes his last breath
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
drought-stricken pasture
a signal to the horses
that smoke will follow—
even now you can hear them
bickering amongst themselves

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #264
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #19

Scraps

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~~ 1 ~~
 
muttering nonsense
the women at the dumpster
rummaging for scraps
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
in a hidden vein
gold ore waiting in the dark
for a miner’s pick
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
hibiscus blossoms—
tearing at them with anger
till they are no more
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
pilgrims on the way
the youngest lagging behind
to pick some daisies
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
from here to Denver
across the Mississippi—
the length of her stride
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
the topmost branches
of a forty-foot white oak—
my childhood lookout
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
the joy of walking
in places with no footprints
crow guiding my way
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
pathway pebble-clear
walking barefoot after dark
for our rendezvous
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
an old silver tray
laden with grapes and olives—
artisanal fruit
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
hibiscus blossoms—
changing their color with chalk
snitched from a schoolboy
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
August afternoon—
the way thunderheads threaten
to flood the washes
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
(extravagant)

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #263
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #18

Small Tales

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~~ 1 ~~
 
a coatless woman
shivering under the bridge—
the scent of jasmine
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
slices of white bread
arranged on a blue platter—
the homeless shelter
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
memo to herself
scribbled on an envelope—
cigarettes and cream
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
the roadside barber
clipping shaggy pilgrims’ locks
a penny an inch
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
At first light of day
she bows before the mountains
in adoration,
while a dozen cactus wrens
sweep away leftover stars.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
Time to say good-bye
to birds hidden in the bush—
one is in your hand,
one is nestling in your hair,
one is becoming a star.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
It is not yet dawn
and already the old shoes
clamor for a walk,
their wrinkled tongues chattering
of paths they took long ago.
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
how the gods play games,
breaking open the bundles
of rye and oat straw,
while the farmer and his wife
take up their lamentations
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
breezy autumn day
tattered prayer flags on a fence
flapping crows away—
farmer’s unspoken longings
for a bumper crop of corn
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
exhausted pilgrim
thinking of another way
to make this journey
so that her threadbare tunic
will last another six months
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
in her small kitchen
a sip or two of cocoa
from a broken cup—
savoring the memories
of more than seventy years
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
one more touch of myrrh
to burn the tip of her tongue
with mortality

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #262
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #17

Destiny’s Tales

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~~ 1 ~~
 
tangled in the tree
two crimson kites with white tails—
seven startled wrens
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
old paper, fresh words
torn envelope the canvas
for brushing haiku
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
a brown paper bag
clutched in a child’s fist holding
all of creation
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
addled gardener
dropping her gloves in the path
as the wild goose calls
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
In her new language
she sings of running naked
through the April rain.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
hoisting new lumber
onto his bruised right shoulder—
the builder of dreams
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
caught in the headlights
of a passing patrol car—
fumbling teenagers
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
On green park benches
old women wearing purple
celebrate the sun.
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
Far from the suburbs
an old woman is striding
toward her destiny.
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
walking through the woods
on her way to somewhere else—
rumblings of thunder
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
To open the book
she needs only a moment
and a trembling hand.

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #261
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #16

Twice-Told Tales

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~~ 1 ~~
 
breeze beneath the stars
making prairie grasses prance—
mustangs on the move
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
the icy river
where she comes to bathe at dawn—
falling kimono
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
a skein left behind
after the wrathful weaver
abandons his work
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
on her back porch bowls
filled with drifting lakes of cream—
treats for feral cats
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
a thorn at the end
of the long-stem yellow rose
piercing her fingers
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
To the forest glade
two women come at midnight,
shattering the peace.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
As the raven flies
over shady canyon lands—
the sound of weeping.
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
desert oasis—
from deep within the waters
the thrumming of psalms
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
three cups of coffee
as they loll through the morning—
afterglow of love
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
dialing the number
of the taxi cab service—
journey into night
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
a wicker hamper
with dirty clothes poking out
spilling to the floor
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
a month of blog posts
scheduled for publication
before she checks out

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #260
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #15

Tattered Tales

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~~ 1 ~~
 
discarded boxes
sheltering homeless people
down by the river
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
journey into night—
your heart at the beginning
fluttering wildly
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
In a perfect world
there would be no mosquitoes,
neither rats nor lice.
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
an autumn morning—
walking a misty pathway
wet leaves underfoot
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
Everything depends
on rain, a red wheelbarrow
and some white chickens.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
a long journey to
nowhere in particular
and then back again
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
Beyond the back fence
a world I have never seen
is waiting for me.
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
a short siesta
in the silence of her room—
insomniac’s dream
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
coffee for the guests
pouring again and again
until the last drop
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
rainy afternoon—
finding a place of refuge
in the library
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
finding a table
where we can talk till midnight
nursing our whisky
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
summer afternoon
the head of one sunflower
drooping toward the earth

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #259
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #14

No Idea

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She had no idea
that merely sitting
with a book in her hands
on the bench
outside the shop
where records were sold
would be her invitation
to go elsewhere
along a way that she could
neither walk nor run—
as if she were a letter
dropped in a mailbox
sorted by a hundred hands
until at last she
reached her destination
slipped through a narrow
slot in her
lover’s front door, and
announced her presence.

 

© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #258
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #13
 

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