Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Spring 2006, vol 4 no 1


Dave Bacharach

seeing him
shrunken and dead
I remember
how my father's thick hand
could squeeze a grapefruit


she asks
are you happy
I say yes--
that's close enough
to what I mean


on my belly
even closer today
than yesterday--
the freight train's roar
draws me in


how many years
since the splitting maul
left a note
on my leg that says
don't be careless


the others
gone off to a mountain
I sit in camp
and let a chipmunk
drink my coffee


his dinner cold
she drives out to the field
the corn chopper
is still running
near a laced boot


when I die
feed me to bears
big growlers
that have no use
for good and evil


completely lost
coming down the mountain
I end up,
like the rest of my life,
on the wrong side


I come down before dawn
and write poems
in bed she gently dreams
what can't be said in words


my friend died
last night, I'm told
long distance
I go up to fix the fence
where the horse got out


I am there
where an arrow points
to an X
the mall map raises
an existential question


next spring
I'll get the old tractor
somewhere there must be
something it can do


they move on
I get up and spit blood
the quarter
still safe in my shoe
for Saturday's matinee


the candy bar
almost breaks free
but stops
I shake the machine
as I've shaken myself


she believed
he owned a string
of theatres
and married him, an usher
who liked to sleep late


dark chocolate
with a glass of scotch
for dessert
I gaze at the hills
and dream of adventure


Dave Bacharach was born in 1950 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although new to haiku and tanka, he has an extensive background in English and American literature. A member of the Word Haiku Club, the Haiku Society of America, and the Tanka Society of America, his haiku have appeared recently in tempslibres and Full Moon, and two of his tanka in Ribbons. He lives in a rural area of New York State with his beloved partner, Mary. By day, he manages a large bus garage; at night, he writes poetry and practices the saxophone. His tanka are unique in their distinct reflection of a working man's life and urban environment.