Senryu synchronism

I’ve recently begun the stage of my project in which I decide how many poems will be featured my final portfolio, in what order…etc. It’s relieving, mostly because I still get to generate original content but there’s less pressure to meet a weekly quota.

One part of the revision process that I was not looking forward to, was dealing with how to format my many senryu poems (same syllabic rules of a haiku, but not bound to a nature theme). They are one of my favorite forms because they encourage me to be more creative than a lot of the other forms I’ve employed thus far, but they don’t play well with the rest of my content.

In my latest meeting with David, he encouraged me to find a common theme between them and join them as a sort of super-senryu. I was opposed the idea at first, remembering that I had written each short poem at different times and that they portray varying states of mind and moods, and possess different subjects.

After many failed attempts at fitting them in between other poems, however, I began organizing them, putting them in an order that I thought made the most sense. This proved frustrating at times, but overall, much more successful than my previous attempts.

After a few sessions of  resituating-and-stepping-away-only-to-return-again-and-change-everything-hours-later, I finally landed on an order that worked well for me. I had to substitute only a few words and remove a few senryu that didn’t fit regardless of the order.

This exercise proved successful after all and taught me an important lesson: don’t be a baby and listen to the instructions of the published poet with decades of experience.


I dip my toes in

a pool of palatable

broken promises.

My pipe organ pumps

toxins through dark veins, rousing

today’s dissonance.

The morning sunlight

Illuminates a crucial

Time of day: today.

Tomorrow will be…

Another twenty-four hours

That is all I know.

Autumn leaves trees nude

A cool breeze, a dry dead rain

I, alive, fall too.

Love teeters on the

edge of your bathroom sink where

mirrors hold my heart 

Let’s exist outside

Of this fluorescent nonsense,

We’ll share the fresh air.

Her viewfinder eyes,

shutter-finger takes a pulse,

enslaved by the light.

Why don’t you ever

Write about me? She asks me.

I respond, But how?

Your essence is a

part of everything I know

and I know nothing.

Tear the answer from

The back of the book you’ve bound

In your sleepless nights.

Write ambiguous

melodies. I will listen

and sing harmony.

The silence surrounds:

swallowing sound, now louder

than my heart expounds.

Impossible, yes,

the silence cannot listen:

what is there to say?

The beads of sweat roll

like pearls across mirrored plates:

severed heads of fear.

I am not mindless:

I left my mind at home

for you to sustain.

A phosphorescent

glow throws shadows to corner

familiar warmth:

Memory is grace,

a glimmer in my mind’s eye

reflecting your life.

Reflect the light that formed your binding when at night your mind unravels

Reflect the light that formed your binding when at night your mind unravels

I was suffering from severe writer’s block on a night that I had dedicated to content creation and my girlfriend came to the rescue and inspired me over a phone call. The result was this free verse poem that will most likely be included in my final portfolio. I have revised it only slightly since the night I wrote it, changing a few words and breaking the phrases into tighter syllabic lines.

for Carly

I am a net
made of holes
eaten through pages of battered books.
Throw me
into a stream of consciousness.
Drag me
through the scum of this floor
‘till I reach rocky shore where I arrive now widened.

You cross your eyes at my dotted t’s,
trying to read between my lines.

Mineral-rich silt
reeking of life lived on the bottom will fall,
painting pictures of every time I dove deep
for what was lying overhead.

I spell out
in big letters
for my liberators to see
send them home
with signal fire
and lie on my back
to feel the earth harden along my spine
as I pull new limbs from the banks.



And walk along the shore.
Feel these corners impress upon what I once was.
I leave my mark
for the rising tide
and fill these pages with the name
of the one who loved me
long before I came up for air.

featured photo credit Carly Matthew