Victor Clevenger: “Contemporary Tanka”




fried chicken bones
resting in empty gravy bowl
on kitchen table
my grandmother baked biscuits
for nearly sixty-six years


                shark tooth lady
                diving into shallows
                of teenage boy’s blue jeans
                & we always remember where we were
                during tragedies


natalie doesn’t know why
the milkman prefers
sharks over swans
holding kentucky sand
she blows kisses to what could have been


             glorify death
             cartoons have more today
             than a mortician’s memoir
             still in draft format scribbled
             all pages lead to the end



About the Author: Victor Clevenger spends his days in a Madhouse and his nights writing.  Selected pieces of his work have appeared in print magazines and journals around the world; it has also been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and the Pushcart Prize.  He is the author of several collections of poetry including Sandpaper Lovin’ (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2017), A Finger in the Hornets’ Nest (Red Flag Poetry, 2018), Corned Beef Hash By Candlelight (Luchador Press, 2019), A Wildflower In Blood (Roaring Junior Press, 2020), and Mourning Eyes (Between Shadows Press, 2021).  Together with American poet John Dorsey, they run River Dog. He can be reached at:


More by Victor Clevenger:

$5.00 Wok

Milkman’s Mustache

Thursday Evening in September


Image Credit: Russell Lee “Dinner table of tenant farm family living near Sallisaw, Oklahoma. Food consists of beans, cornbread, lettuce, fried potatoes, fatback and gravy, cole slaw and sweet milk” (1939) The Library of Congress

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