What Honking is For (A PSA), #Tanka Tuesday, Specific Forms

Photo by Nabeel Syed on Unsplash

my car didn’t move

right in the first half second

after the light turned green,

so you honk.

my car then slows down,

as I get ready to turn

into a parking lot,

so you honk.

my blinker was on,

you knew that I was turning,

I was doing no wrong,

but you honk.

in heavy traffic,

I am hesitant to merge,

I’m more cautious than you,

so you honk.

a person crosses,

ambling across the crosswalk,

while I am stopped for him,

then you honk.

you didn’t see him,

and you feel there’s no reason

to ever slow or stop

so you honk.

if when changing lanes,

I am about to hit you,

and I just don’t see you,

then you honk.

honking means “danger,”

it does not mean to “speed up,”

so do not be surprised,

when you honk,

if I slow or stop

at the sound then of the blast

to avoid the danger

at your honk.

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

This was written for Colleen M. Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday challenge. This week, she challenged us to invent a new form.

From her page:

  • First, choose your favorite syllabic poetry form. Write your poem.
  • Next, give your poem some different characteristics to make it something different. You can change the syllable count, rhyme scheme (add or get rid of it), anything you want to create a new form. Write this poem.
  • Give your new syllabic poetry form a name.

This poem was halfway coming together in my head as I was driving and before I saw the specifics of this week’s challenge. So, I went about this backwards perhaps. I took my half-formed poem and made it fit some sort of syllabic format, and then tried to see how it fit the challenge. I’ll say this is a haiku, but the line count changed to four, and the syllable count changed to 5-7-6-3. The fourth line is a refrain or variations on a refrain. The stanzas in my new form can be repeated several times, so, in that sense, in length, it is similar to a renga or solo renga. Then again, like a tanka, this form can be on any topic, not necessarily nature. I’m calling it a hankenga. Ha ha! It really just worked out that way, without me even trying to be punny. By the way, the driving situation where someone honked because I stopped for someone in a crosswalk really did happen, just not in the past few days.