Friday, September 30, 2016

6-line poems: cherita

I was recently introduced to the poetic form called cherita, through Larry Kimmel's collection, "shards and dust: new and selected cherita" (bottle rockets press, c. 2014)


late august

a student runs to catch his bus
nearly knocks me down

pardon me, madam
he calls
over his shoulder


community acupuncture room

stretched out in reclining chairs
seven strangers



i was a superstitious child

careful never to step
on a sidewalk crack

worried about
my mother's


taking myself out for thai lunch

the crying baby
the loud-talking man

but the soup is hot
and the music


you can't recall her name

she has short hair
you say

and she wanted me
to give you
her love


early morning laughter

waking from a dream
intending to remember the joke

alas —
it is instantly


eat more kale

a bossy
bumper sticker

stopping beside the car
to stamp my feet
no! i won't!!


near the buddhist monastery

pausing to hug a woman
who i hope will become a friend

the air smells faintly
of rain
still an hour away


hurrying along

almost missing the word
on the sidewalk

written in pink chalk
okay — breathing in, breathing out


early morning walk

state street
past present future

stepping in someone else's footprints
who will step in mine


many many years ago

half-way between
the Bronx and Ithaca

a single tree
on a hill —
perhaps it is still there


two things grandpa taught me

how to multiply
by eight

the proper way to fold
the New York Times
when reading on the subway


what was mother thinking?

dressing the three of us alike —
her, my sister, me

on our way to Coney Island
a woman on the train asks
if we are triplets


Sunday nights

waiting for Bonanza
to start

we play Chinese checkers
and worry
about the week to come


yes there was favoritism

I am given the role of Maria —
The Sound of Music

but barely audible
small mercy


two days before camp

name labels arrive
for mother to iron on

a mistake —
Ira instead of Irene
she assures me no one will notice


that time at the bungalow colony

the uncles smoking and cursing
fighting over the Monopoly board

next time
Aunt Anna says
you should play "Old Maid"


each year on his birthday

we give dad a packet
of Balkan Sobranie tobacco

then act shocked
when he lights up
his stinky pipe



a word I rebel

the way
Keep Out signs
make me inch closer


colorful chalk drawings

all summer long
they decorated this street

now that school is open
daisies, hearts, arrows
fade away


this morning my neighbor

also on
the park path

her strides
discouragingly longer
than my own


on my dear friend's front porch

a sign
in bold block letters

i long to stop and sit a while
but i keep on walking


I was eleven or twelve

26 hours on a train
from Manhattan to Florida

reading Little House on the Prairie
pretending to be riding
in a covered wagon


walking a zig-zag path

avoiding road construction
and smokers

every morning
a slightly altered journey
back to myself


remembering last spring

noisy rain fell on
the other side of this window

today a man
and woman flirt
(silently) in the sunshine


four streets over

a new building
going up

I match my breathing
to the steady rhythm
of the pile driver