How could anyone systemize
and have it still be,
what the melody just barely remembers.
You can have expectations all right,
that say this isn’t the way things
what the deeper meaning,
the key the thing (read WORLD)
is played in.
It was dark and the dog was outside hidden in the darkness,
a black dog against the night.
Pause for the moment for the really
which are in order:
The What, exactly?
And, the Who?
Stop right there! I’d argue if we knew
then we’d know the What and the Why.
Old answers aren’t necessarily
echoing in different voices, voices
rooted in old words
slow, chiseled in the rock.
(If you had to scratch everything in
a treatise on clay tablets,
two really might be enough. Think
of all the wasted
words scattered in cyber space,
I mean the treatises I’ve erased!
The black dog makes us look for things when the darkness
is indiscriminate, lots of things the same as nothing, THE nothing.
It doesn’t have to be night
for it to be dark, a bad mood will do it.
What would you trade for a meaningful, an understood life? He asked.
What kind of life? I said.
rich or poor,
a long one, short,
could I be the King?
Write everything up!
The darkness, just a shadow really,
you could see through
and the sky was still blue, maybe
it was just a cloud passing, waiting to rain.
But, I said to the Wizard who had the whole thing
who had, do you hear me? ANSWERS!
I’d have to say that all this
means very little
outside your thoughts, or mine (or anyone’s).
Here’s my question.
If the world and life
have meaning, do they mean the same
thing to me
and to the little black dog shaking there, making his collar ring,
wet, coming in from the rain?
There is a light here, a match light, a flint spark, a mythology, a FLAME.
Farther, farther away!
Two, then the light coming down
through the water, from above, then
nothing cannot be
O, if only I had a horn (and could play it like Nat Adderley)
I’d give this shit some meaning!
Philosophers talking about talking
setting the limits
what anyone can say!
The girl in the parking lot
handing out fish
to hungry customers. And the sky was overcast
My voice varies, you see, the rhythm
of the sentences resists
I was looking through the weeds in the garden under the rain
and there were asparagus spears
peeping up, standing up, forcing themselves up, and then
an ocean of mint, wild,
running out of control
an ocean of things to come.
What do YOU mean by time?
The same little black dog lies curled up on the couch, waiting sadly
As the leaves force themselves upon the trees, persuading them
of nakedness demands penance, that they clothe themselves
in fine raiment,
silken folioles, (pièces foliaire),
“Who told thee that thou wast naked?”
The opposite dark shade of summer closing in,
but I am standing here. What else could I do?
is a retired university professor of political theory who lives in Old Saybrook,
Connecticut with his wife, Ann Knickerbocker, an abstract painter, and a Standard
Poodle named Nikki. He is the author of three books of prosimetra published by
KYSO Flash Press:
Touching Fire: New
and Selected Ekphrastic Prosimetra (2018),
Get Up and
Dance (2019), and Carmody & Blight: The Dialogues (2019).
Tarlton has been writing poetry and flash fiction since 2006, and his work is published
in: Abramelin, Atlas Poetica, Barnwood, Blackbox Manifold (UK), Blue and
Yellow Dog, Book Ends Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Contemporary Haibun Online,
Cricket Online Review, Dark Matter, Fiction International, Haibun Today, Ilanot Review,
Inner Art Journal, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Jack Magazine, KYSO Flash, Linden Avenue
Literary Journal, London Grip, Muse India, Palette Poetry, Peacock Journal, Prune
Juice, Randomly Accessed Poetics, Rattle, Red Booth Review, Red Lights, Review
Americana, Ribbons, Shampoo, Shot Glass, Simply Haiku, Six Minute Magazine, Sketchbook,
Skylark, Spirit Wind Gallery, Tallow Eider Quarterly, The American Aesthetic, The
Ekphrastic Review, The Houston Literary Review, tinywords, Tipton, Unbroken Journal,
Undertow Tanka Review, and Ink, Sweat, and Tears.
He also has a poetry e-chapbook published in the 2River series,
de Piedra y de Palabra: Improvisations on Pablo Neruda’s Macchu Picchu;
an experimental prosimetrum in Lacuna entitled Five Episodes in the Navajo Degradation; “The Rock in a Jar,” an
extended prose poem in several parts in Gone Law 32; and “The Turn of
Art,” a short prosimetrical drama pitting Picasso against Matisse, in Fiction
Artifact With Steam (2019) by Ann Knickerbocker,
ekphrastic tanka prose in the e-collection Get Up and Dance featured in
KYSO Flash (Issue 12, Summer 20189)
Author Charles D. Tarlton, with six of his ekphrastic tanka prose and an
interview with Jack Cooper, in KYSO Flash (Issue 6, Fall 2016)
⚡ Notes for a Theory of Tanka Prose: Ekphrasis and Abstract Art, a scholarly
paper by Tarlton residing in PDF at Ray’s Web; originally published in Atlas Poetica (Number 23, pages 87-95)
⚡ Three American Civil War Photographs: Ekphrasis by Tarlton in Review
Americana (Spring 2016)
⚡ Simple Tanka Prose for the Seasons, a quartet by Tarlton in Rattle
(Issue 47: Tribute to Japanese Forms, Spring 2015)