Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Portrait of an Attic Poet: A Tanka Sequence

I yell out
I'll stay drunk on writing
her silent tongue
like a scissor
cutting my words to shreds

rain pelting
the windows of this rooming house
I hear voices
rising towards the ceiling
jostling for survival

my mind complains
it's hard to live by words alone
tongues of fire
lick the flesh
and stay for a while

I conduct
the Fifth Symphony
inside my head
the doctor sees nothing
but a poet's failed dream

a wolf
howling at the cold moon
alone
face to face
with my own demons

after wishing
on a shooting star
all that remains
of my attic room
a shadow on the wall


Published in Lynx,XXVII:3, October 2012