Tangerines are Elements…

a high falsetto sings “doo doo doo”
and assorted lines about “tangerines” and “elements”
so i participate in my way
sitting, cup in hand [one needs to ‘feine]
listening to caws and rattles humming
sifting the air [it tears the eyes]
thread through new-fine hair
“block the front door/old toy”
the spring air moist, filling with black feathers
amidst the sweet blooms a sour smell
[is it fruit? languid, lost left from holiday?]
ebbing with each wayward wind
unusually cold and unusually… “doo doo doo”
warm – early spring confuses… “my black store”
the senses

This poem was submitted to dVerse Poets under the “Layers” prompt.  This is my first submission, so I may have missed the mark.



45 thoughts on “Tangerines are Elements…

  1. This was one of those prompts that was hard to miss the mark on because almost any poem is layered to some extent. I love the later-interjected “doo doo doo” in this one. Nice touch. Peace, Linda

  2. Again, so danged good to see you here! they have been most welcoming to this very newcomer and … after all these years, I still think of it as “tangerines and elephants…” Maybe that sour smell is from those orangey thingies one puts in one’s bath or float down a river. Personally, my favorite New Year tradition is Downtown Gaki no Tsukai. Love this show. The bright of the “doo doo doo” and then the air filling with black feathers – nice contrast, nice layering. A unique take on the layers and I like it.

    • That show is hard to understand. I think, as is most comedic shows/routines, it’s in kansai-ben. Those southerners sure do talk weird! 😉

      And with your encouragement, I finally had the courage to give it a go. I just happened to have a poem that fit the prompt which allowed me to skirt some of the anxiety. Thank you so much!

      • I’ve been reading comments – told ya so, told ya so! You have to picture picture 6 year old Kanzen with long pigtails and big glasses jumping up and down, as she is sometimes want to do. Part of the thing about this community is, we all comment on the work of each other – it makes for a friendliness and way to get to know each other, to encourage each other. After the submission link expires, you can still go back and comment, which is cool. I will write something and then….all these most excellent poets find something worthwhile in it. It is empowering. tornado time in Norman. A friend and her kids and dog sat one out in their storm shelter. Not a lot of damage. She said her 7 year old wrote a poem about it. Now….I always knew OK folks were brave but….it reminded me of your rumble poem the other day. Rumbles and you wrote a poem!

        • LOL! That’s Oklahomans for you. I remember watching the tornado that ripped up my wife’s grandparents house from my grandma’s back porch. Tornado sirens just send everybody outside.

          Our earthquake the other day happened about 6am (I think, it was early). I felt some movement, the phone alert went off (all Japanese phones seem to have earthquake warnings), and I rolled over and turned it off. Grumbling, I told my wife, “Here it comes….” Rattled around a bit, then just went back to sleep.

          Sounds like that 7 year old is par for the course, and that child is developing a good coping skill. 😀

        • Like sitting at a cafe in LA,feeling the ground do that weird wave and watch people around me continue on while glasses and dishes shimmy across the tables. I was freaking, they were blase.

      • And,it’s a little twisted. My husband is always amazed how I sit, watch, and just howl with laughter. Several years ago when it was filmed in a hospital and Sonny Chiba was a regular was one of the best.

        • The shows here are…. interesting, indeed. My favorite was a show where they used a hidden camera to catch guys looking at other women. Unbeknownst to the man, the show would start out with a large sum of money, then, every time he checked out this woman, they’d deduct yen. My wife and I both were rolling with laughter.

          I should make tapes and send them back to the states!

  3. It is always exciting to meet a new mind, to welcome a new soul. dVerse is a perfect microcosm of international poets who leap across time zones & traverse black holes, conventionalism–& every other “ism”. Your little poem is stunning; like Clauda (in Germany) I like the lines /the spring air moist, filling with black feathers/. We regularly stretch our poetic potentials, reaching beyond our initial grasp, expanding, growing, maturing, blossoming. So here’s a hug & if you want to run with dVerse dog poets, you are welcomed to the pack.

    • Thank you for that. Trying to wiggle into any new community is daunting, and a creative one doubly so. The stretching is also very appealing; in a sense it has to be for every expat, doesn’t it? I’m nervous about directed prompts, but there’s that need to stretch thing again.

      It’s also very humbling that so many seem to appreciate on some level these little words of mine and would take the time to comment. I thought this a little weird, awkward poem, way outside my normal mode. I find everyone’s comments so much more interesting, and the poem more interesting through them. Thank you for that,

      m(_ _)m


    • Well, if I were still writing from my native Oklahoma, our two springs would be much more alike. “Staring out into the muggy, wet cotton-filled dryer of the sticky Oklahoma spring” or some nonsense. Maybe it’s these memories that make my new spring so special and light.

      Thank you for reading and considering these words.

      m(_ _)m


    • Hopefully it’s a potato lasagna; I love that stuff! I’m also glad we could share these words together and experience this little moment in time together. Your comment, as well as the many others, really helps broaden my perspective which is an important goal of mine. I hope this is just the first of many to come.


  4. Nice meeting you here at dVerse! Sounds like you know a few people already. Smiles. As Marina said, we are a friendly group. I enjoyed your layering, rich with images, that made my mind travel with your words! I especially liked your use of sound and scent.

    • Thank you for the warm words and welcome. I noticed many of you have blogspot accounts, so I am thinking I need to open an account there as well. And thank you for traveling with these words. Hopefully, I can share my little piece of Japan and the experience here with all of you fine poets.

      m(_ _)m


  5. Interesting verse. I def feel the rise and fall of emotions, the this way and that way of it. nice back and forth with the symbolism, and its not overly obvious – more an imagism piece in my opinion. Dropping in from dVerse.

    • Thank you for dropping in. I have to say I’m still working through your poem a bit. Math and I don’t get along, so that scary looking equation had me running for the hills! But after I faced the fear and started to read, the literary side was most enjoyable. I feel you and the other dVerse folks will make me a much better writer. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to reading more of your work in the near future.


  6. Ah I love that you have found your way to our little word.. I still remember your song you posted once. To me this poem talks about those conflicting senses we have. The contrasts between the happy songs and the sour taste and black feathers.. I think as layers and contrasts goes this is just awesome. We always balance on that edge between contrasts I think.. (and I think you will enjoy the prompt on Thursday too)…

    • I have to say that it was comforting to see many posters that I already follow and admire over there. I hope to take advantage and learn from all of you the best that I can.

      I’m touched that you remember that little song. It’s nice to see the things we create make an impression, no matter the size.

      And Thursday? Is that my Friday? It gets hard keeping track sometimes. 🙂

      m(_ _)m

      • We post on Monday (no prompt), Tuesday and Thursday .. we always open at 3PM EST which I guess would be very early on the day after for you. Every second thursday we have an open event where we can post whatever we like 🙂 Welcome my friend.

    • Reading these comments makes me see my poems in an entirely new light. It’s so exciting to see and read other’s, like yourself, take on this. I get to read it in a different light.

      Thank you very much for reading these words. Your readership is very much appreciated.

      m(_ _)m


  7. Welcome to dVerse and thank you for visiting my own site. I’m rather enjoying discovering yours!
    I like how you weave sound and meaning, music and poetry together. Clearly, you are a very ‘auditive’ writer as well as a visual one.

    • Thanks for the welcome. I’m a bit intimidated, both artistically and socially, by you folks there, but here in Fukushima we “ganbare!” So I do in turn.

      I do consider myself a musician first and foremost, so the auditory sense is definitely important to me. It’s something I try to included in my writing as well as form, variation, and stress (hopefully including meaning in all three).

      I’m elated that your enjoying these musings and hope that I will continue to entertain. If not, a glass a wine helps!


      • We’re a friendly crowd – in fact, if anything, almost too polite. Please don’t feel it’s a closed circle. I joined in a couple of years ago and was made to feel very welcome very quickly. So you live in Fukushima – wow, that must be quite challenging in so many ways. I studied Japanese at uni but have never lived in Japan for long periods of time. And maybe Fukushima wouldn’t be top of the list for me…

        • I understand why folks are hesitant to consider Fukushima, I was too when I first made the trek, but there’s so much more here than the disaster. I live in the western part, Aizu, far away from the plant which makes my family sleep easier at least. Most of what’s challenging is the mental toll that the disaster has left on the folks here. However, we’re trying to rebuild this gorgeous place. Hopefully, I will be able to share some of that beauty with you. Might I recommend this post: hanami

          I’ll stop taking up so much of your time, but thank you again for the welcome. I know a few folks who post already, so that soothes my anxiety.

  8. Granted I’ve only been reading your work for a short time, but this seems a bit of a stretch for you — writing a less formal/metered/structured way, though there’s still a sense of the more old-fashioned lines you tend to use: “thread through new fine hair” and “ebbing with each wayward wind”. It’s good to write in various forms (I say that as someone who struggles with structured, traditional forms — rhyming just about ruins me — that’s why I never post those: they’re bad. But, still … I try to push myself outside my writing comfort zone.)

    I enjoyed reading it — I read poems aloud, and this one feels good on the tongue. (I want to be a professional Poetry Reader Alouder when I grow up.) 🙂

    • “Feels good on the tongue” Go on… Yeah, talking over the idea of this poem with a friend last night, it was decided it was a bit “post modern,” definitely not my regular comfort zone. I blame John Fogerty for this one.

        • doo doo doo, lookin’ out my back door… of course! strangely, even though i know the song by heart (CCR was still a big deal when I was a kid), I didn’t recognize the ‘tangerines and elements’ without the surrounding music … this will teach me to click on hyperlinks.

        • Hehe, the lyrics are deliberately twisted, but that’s where it came from. The picture is also from the moment I finished writing, looking out my back door. 🙂

  9. I think you’ve got some good strong layers here. 🙂 I love the double meaning that comes with the word “tears,” and I think you’ve used your brackets well. I found myself “doo-doo-doo”ing along.

    • Thank you! While the ambiguity in English tends to give my students fits, it does lend itself quite well to these sorts of readings.

      Thank you so much for stopping by,


  10. a melancholic moment… the spring air filling with black feathers is my fav image i think… i like those moments when we allow the emotions just to float and take in what is around us.. and welcome at dVerse… smiles
    hope you take the time to visit some of the others that have written to the prompt as well

    • I have, and in doing I’ve found so many more talented, inspiring poets.

      I’m lucky in where I live that it is quite inspiring. Just sitting, looking out the back door provides so much for the senses. Thank you for reading.


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