Colleen’s 2019 #Tanka Tuesday #Poet of the Week & Honorable Mention, No. 148, #SynonymsOnly

Welcome to the Tanka Tuesday Poetry Recap featuring the Poet of the Week and the honorable mention poetry that spoke to me. If you would like to participate in this challenge, you can learn the rules in the menu item called Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Guidelines.

Congratulations, and many thanks to all the participants! I gave you all some tough

Please visit the challenge post comments HERE, where you’ll find the links to everyone’s poetry. Stop by and say hello! ❤

I will publish the Poet of the Week and Honorable Mention Poets in the 2019 Poet of the Week Anthology, which everyone can grab as a FREE PDF in January 2020.

Each week, I like to highlight a poet who I call the Poet of the Week who has shared an exceptional message or shown impassioned creativity through words or form. Poetry is all about perception. You may not feel the same way about my choice. That’s okay. Perception is different for all of us.

The Poet of the Week

This week, I’ve chosen Frank J. Tassone as the Poet of the Week for his Ekphrasic Haibun/Tanka poem featured below. Not sure what “Ekphrastic” means? Click HERE.

The first time I read this poem, I felt goosebumps! Words have power and this poem fairly sings! So, is Haibun prose considered an ode? I find many similarities. Just remember, our rules allow any other syllabic form with a Haibun, not just a Haiku.

An ode is a lyric poem usually marked by exaltation of feeling and style, varying length of line, and complexity of stanza forms ( Sounds like Haibun prose to me!

DL Stewart of Haibun: Poetic Journey shares:

Haibun is a combination of prose strong in imagery and at least one haiku. The prose in a haibun is trimmed to its essence just as a haiku is composed of few words chosen for their particular meaning. A haibun relates a journey, whether the travels are a physical exploration of the world or an internal journey of discovery. Often haibun contain a revelation or epiphany obtained through experience. The prose can reflect fragmented thoughts or complete sentences, but the sentences are tight with all the words serving a purpose. It is important to note that a haibun is not a short story.

O Francis: a #tankaprose #Ekphrastic #ode

Giovanni Bellini [Public domain]

What was it like, Francis? To experience the wounds of Christ?

How did you do it? You were another noble-aspiring Merchant’s son, fighting for Assisi in another of the Italian city-states endless wars. Was it the illness you endured during your captivity? Did that brush with death open your eyes to the Truth?

How did you have the courage to do it? Cast aside your priviledge, your protection, your future? And did you really strip the clothes off your back in the city square?

Whatever you did, you followed a small, still voice that guided you to make poverty your Lady, to attract in joy others to beg for their daily bread and rebuild the Church. Whether it was the old ruins of one outside Assisi, or the entire Roman Catholic institution.

For in a time of incessant corruption, your simple purity turned Ecclesia upside-down. Even a pope could not deny you. Your charism recognized, your order of Friars legitimized, you continued your revolution of simplicity.

Then, in the winter of your life, you had your ultimate encounter: One last apparition of your savior. And the marks of his crucified life you bore afterward, for the rest of your own.

Now, every fourth of October, the Catholic Church celebrates your sainthood. As foliage begins, people bring animals to mass on your feast day for your intercessory blessing. Fiery red and sungold yellow maple leaves adorn your statues in gardens everywhere. And even as days shorten, the painting of your legendary homily to the birds comforts souls everywhere.

But it is the stigmata that still captivates. That Miracle of miracles, given to you, whom many consider the saint closest to Christ.

What was it like, Francis?

Hunter’s moon
another hollow shadow
across the expanse
the difficulty of loving
with nail-scarred hands

©2019 Frank J. Tassone

Honorable Mention(s)

Vashti Quiroz Vega, submitted an amazing Etheree this week. I thoroughly enjoyed her lead-in discussion called, “Calling All Weirdos.” To be clear, that section of her writing is not considered Haibun prose.

Can you see the difference between Vashti’s and Frank’s prose? Vashti has a frank discussion of what the word weirdo means to her. These are her personal thoughts. It’s obvious that her discussion inspired her Etheree poem. So what is the difference between Frank’s prose and Vashti’s?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

What does it mean when someone calls you a weirdo?

If you describe someone as a weirdo, you disapprove of them because they behave in an unusual way that you find difficult to understand or accept.

Well, some people may feel that way, but this is not my definition of a weirdo. In this day and age, it’s weird for someone to be their genuine self. It’s strange to speak your mind, regardless of others’ opinions. In these times, when so many people pop pills in order not to feel, it’s strange for someone to wear his or her emotions on their sleeve. I like weirdos. They’re my kind of people, honest, open, free thinkers. They don’t fear to be unique. They think outside the box and go with their creative flow.

It’s refreshing to be with people who are not numb to the world around them but instead embrace every emotion that makes them human.

Sometimes I’m surrounded by so much apathy and hate that it becomes unbearable. Why are there so many desensitized people? Stop popping pills every time you’re in danger of feeling something. Be a weirdo and feel. It’s normal to be sad when you lose a loved one. It’s okay to feel angry, scared, unsure, insecure sometimes. Deal with it because that’s what makes you human.

I understand that there are people who genuinely need to be on medication, but there are too many folks out there taking medications they shouldn’t be, and this has a dehumanizing effect.

I’m tired of being in the presence of cyborgs. I want to be around real people. Being a genuine person comes with a price, though. Not everyone will like you, but then not everyone should matter to you. Calling all weirdos!

Calling All Weirdos, #Etheree

no where 
to suffer 
in this dark place. 
Oh, my vacant life 
there’s no happy surprise. 
I pop a pill the moment 
I realize that I’m alive. 
Then I’m hollow, no feelings inside. 
There’s only this disguise of constant lies.

©2019 Vashti Quiroz Vega

My last choice for this week was from Willow Willers. There’s great emotion expressed in this Tanka and not only one meaning comes to mind from her words. Also, read this poem in reverse to find another meaning.

Empty & Space, #Tanka

Filled with nothingness
The void is a vast expanse
We travel alone
Each locked in hollow feelings
Spent, expired in the dead zone

©2019 Willow Willers

You ready to write more poetry? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Ekphrasic (Photo) challenge picked by last month’s winner, D. Wallace Peach. If you dare!

Published by Colleen M. Chesebro

An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on Word Craft by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry. Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and Carrot Ranch. In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books. Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.

27 thoughts on “Colleen’s 2019 #Tanka Tuesday #Poet of the Week & Honorable Mention, No. 148, #SynonymsOnly

  1. Congratulations to everyone who took part in Colleen’s Tuesday Tanka Challenge this week, especially Poet of the week Frank J. Tassone. Congratulations too to Vashti Quiroz Vega who gets an honourable mention. I agree with so much of what she is saying, we all hide behind masks of what we think we should be seen to be. Finally thank you Colleen for giving me an HM. too and spotting there was more than one way to read it. I am on a blogging break for a little while, feeling low. I couldn’t let this round up pass with saying thanks and congratulations to everyone. I hope to be up and running by Halloween. 💜💜💜


  2. I see a big difference between Frank’s and Vashti’s prose. Frank’s meditation of the miracle and wonder of the stigmata is more formal in tone and includes direct address to its subject, as well as visual imagery. In both cases, though, the tone and use of language mirrors the subject.


    1. Frank’s prose is much more poetic in his use of words. Poetry doesn’t have to be flowery but it should be full of descriptions of the moment. Also, he wrote an ode which is different than an opinion piece. Good observations, Liz. ❤


      1. Thanks, Colleen. I was trying to respond to the question you posed, but I was really tired. Does Frank have more of his work online (or published)? I’d like to read more.


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