Two Crows


Two crows, disciples.
Flew hard all day and set down hot
on haunches tucked beneath the laurel,
still as iron ornaments,
beaks locked open and raised in prayer
as if to Godot to finally come and pare away the sun,
waiting still and matte for a cool evening.
Will it come?
And will the cat wake up,
wonder if desiccated kibbles are better still
than all the trouble with instinct, feathers,
beaks and dust on a dead lawn?

Gavin W Sisk




He fears the sun, lawn sprinklers,
and my evening practice swings.
(But not my cat.)
Quiet as the haze on his back,
he draws the darkness to his chin
like a super-hero’s cape.
(This super-hero tips my trash!)
Will his wife find him at dawn–
drunk from tainted runoff
and bloated by discarded yams–
forgive him missing supper,
push him home to mind the kids?

April, 2013



Sleeping Moon

rush rush run
howl the wind
the moon the mooon
howl the wolves
the wolf the wooolf
howl the moon
but you dont hear
her casting song
what with your deceiving ears
casting her hook
at twinkling eyes
fishing for the sun
for her the stars put on a guise.
I am the sun I am the sun!
Foolish moon
moon mooon!
Rush rush run
the sun he runs too soon
he twirls his curls down to the
wolves and warms the wind
and the stars all wallow
in their shame
so do the wolves and wind
and other things,
the moon and sun are of the same.

Hana Kurahara Sisk
Sept. 2012

Hana is my young daughter, though her age belies the truth about her old soul.  We both enjoy writing and often send extemporaneous poetry to each other via text messaging.  For both of us it’s a way of avoiding the mundane: homework, chores, paying bills.
There is a notable difference between her poetry and mine.  I put a great deal of effort into my poetry; for the same results, she writes with ease.  Though she reads my poetry and feels free to comment and ask questions, I never worry about her emulating me.  She already has a voice that goes with that old soul.

Sept. 23, 2012

Taking A Slug

Due to my failure to carry out my home duties this Spring, there are thousands of healthy weeds in my back yard.  Frustrated by the mess, last week I compelled myself to work into the darkness to pull up many of the largest weeds, which mostly were the tall and sturdy foxgloves.  The correct strategy is to grab each weed as low to the dirt as possible so that the roots come out with the stalk.  But at night, creatures roam across the moist soil whom all of us garden warriors love to hate.
I wasn’t wearing gloves, and I didn’t have a flashlight.  I had only moonlight and my stupidity to guide me.  Thus, I guided my left hand through the fog of battle to a vague silhouette of a particularly thick foxglove stalk which I grabbed with all my strength.  It turned out that half of the stalk’s thickness was accounted for by the fat girth of a six-inch slug, which I didn’t see until it was too late.  As I pulled hard with my naked hand, the slug instantly converted itself into a palmful of mortally wounded grease.  I almost fell on my ass!
This was my third intimate encounter with a giant slug in the last two months.  My previous encounters were transmogrifying and had left me feeling emotionally damaged. But this night’s encounter affected me differently.  This time I had already accepted the risk and potential cost of such an encounter, and I understood my obligation to recovering my lost territory with minimal use of deadly chemicals.
I wiped the slime from my skin with handfuls of dirt.  After surprisingly little cursing, I bent into the same patch of weeds and continued pulling up the foxgloves as the clouds above me extinguished the last of the moonlight.  There are many greater insanities than this.
They say that war makes sane men do insane things.  I believe it.  I also believe that after you’ve sent a few dozen anxious bullets toward vague shapes stalking the shadows of broken buildings and dead orchards, your regard for other lives changes, along with your regard for your own life.
The moral shape of war requires that soldiers don’t ask the wrong questions.  The reality of properly functioning soldiers requires their willing resignation from life before the battle’s first shots are fired.  Their commanders have the difficult tasks of ruling the battle field while calculating and accepting casualties, administering rules of engagement, ministering to the surrendered lives of the surviving soldiers, and not asking the wrong questions.
After a battle there is time to wonder.  The survivors may curl on their cots and measure their luck with each breath.  But it’s a rude respiration that has a tired soldier inhaling a familiar soul into his altered mind before needing to exhale it once again in time for the next battle.
I never joined the military.  Partly, I didn’t want to die young, and I didn’t want any bullet of mine to take old age away from someone else who didn’t want to die young.  More than just partly, I’ve always worried that I would have been too good a soldier to question the insanity of war.

June 26, 2011