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Some attempts at writing Kwansaba. They are not the best examples but I am still learning the style. The Kwansaba was invented during the 1995 EBR Writers Club workshop (in East St. Louis), consists of seven lines of seven words each; each word must contain no more than seven letters. Exceptions to the seven-letter rule are proper nouns.




1.)
--After a while they might return--

A gift of old gods before going
a look back from old forest temples.
Loud sighs stroked hair of sad satyrs
nymphs have laid down for long nap.
Unicorn hangs head wants too run again
but times change the long dream tires
the rebuild of human spirit takes awhile.


                By: David E. Howerton
2.)
--After bright noise--

The dark-time sitting watching faint embers
cool washed in waves of gentle gravity
across the wrecks of dead galaxies. Where
close the edge of this universe calls
pulling us needing to travel beyond realms.
Here sits those who wait rebirth distant
time where gods rest sleep new reality.

                By: David E. Howerton
3.)
--After dream watch shapes haunt--

Just waking watch sun poke over eastern ridge
fog wisps snake up gray pines soften
harsh winter edges where needles are gone.
Behind through wisps of mist gray bright
sun rises briefly hides behind ridge filled
with trees and shapes haunted rusted age.
Places of myth from child dreams awake.

                By: David E. Howerton
4.)
--At computer late afternoon--

Here in dark room where light gentle
seeps into corners dreams where dust hides
smile couch worn tired calls for nap.
Late day shadows long, coffee warms hands
screen leaves sore spot little over eyes
fingers vibrate after hitting keys it helps
reminds each day worth living any time.

                By: David E. Howerton
5.)
--At it again don't know how good--

Not much light, coffee in hand read
paper belly full get one more cup
make sure machine is on hit keys
for a couple of hours looking for
words that leap off screen wanting typed.
Build that poem getting words with meaning
that grab the simple drawing them high.

                By: David E. Howerton
6.)
--at the noontime dance--

Pixies dart from flowers perking for dance
pull hair of those walking in meadows
wanting them to play and dance too.
Gnomes beat drums as sun mounts high
fungus circles expand from circle dance remains.
A thermos of coffee thimble cup pixies happy
dance loops around flowers and my head.


                By: David E. Howerton
7.)
--Bad colors nights drunk--

Done watch sky fade black deep quiet
speaks slow colors seep bleed spin into
whirled shapes. Small scents blend deep shades.
Forgot where mercury vapor lights leech colors
shades of gray drunk on full moon
hanging high leaves stark relief empty colors.
Soft flowing cosmic flicker dark shades linger.

                By: David E. Howerton
8.)
--Blown transformer winter evening--

Down quiet lanes leaves fall gentle night
begin wind songs bats dart dive dinner
insects flee chase own meals across sky
silence comes people home dreams slumber before
assault mass media reduces ability to think
perhaps under candle light a book brings
back some little sanity in jumbled madness.

                By: David E. Howerton
9.)
--Canít get away from it anymore--

 Itís there making me puke so much
 pain. Turn look at you seeing pain
 wonder where we go doctor or dealer.
 Just for easing the ache for eating.
 Donít expect to hold down much today
 having trouble walking donít like being watched
 bald head pain overall soaks my dreams.

                By: David E. Howerton
10.)
--Edge of millennium she--

A dragon dreams snorts wakes a day
opens an eye sees only hoard sleeps.
Slow years drag by towns grow die
dragon doesn't notice wars end farms expand
people come forget old warning hear flee
and the slayers come looking for her
asleep in shadows of hoard dreams coming.

                By: David E. Howerton
11.)
--folded planes getting out--

On return made paper planes from poems
they weren't bad but an editor didn't
see the value this months printed zine.
But when late on bridge you find
a need tossing planes with poems off
they slowly descend spiral down toward road
where they get picked up and read.

                By: David E. Howerton
12.)
--For you I remembered--

From here waiting for sun to set
looking at worn pages of old poetry.
The one thing that comes your memory
clear reading to crowd hoped they heard
subtle meaning hurt soul of the ignored.
Gave credit you were shy hated stares
you came up and spoke the poems.

                By: David E. Howerton
13.)
--Hard to do much, but this helps--

Breathe watch light move along wall catching
eyes almost blinds move head odd spots
just ease pain and see keys better.
Find I'm less tired when typing poems
than when walking to kitchen or head
keep going for an hour maybe two
better than napping the whole day away.

                By: David E. Howerton
14.)
--having been up awhile--

Just been in the kitchen getting coffee
had to change cups they get dirty.
Look out window turkeyís strut across road,
a smile comes, almost I laughed aloud.
At drift in kitchen warmth make oatmeal
add brown sugar some honey for taste.
Morning started well looks like good day.

                By: David E. Howerton
15.)
--here in shadows you find it--

It's here watches what we do darkly
drains our needed emotion leaving hollow silence
where sadness finds little left to grasp
holding us nullity. Breaks in small minds
drift smoking talking quietly with old pooka
urges them on feats of madness sanity.
Night here with pooka, words flow quick.

                By: David E. Howerton
16.)
--Holding them it's hard to let go--

Each page typed time send them out
then long wait pages return not wanted.
Well no harm send them off again
other zines better chance second time around.
Every month or two more go out
some return and another cycle starts. Just
daily grind of poet getting into print.

                By: David E. Howerton
17.)
--In sleep they get you--

Seep in ears strange stories old message
how bright things that suck at Id
flashes closed eyes visions future dream time.
Speak quiet more stories feature earthís gods.
Toward morning slip through sleep snap awake
shake sweat breathe fast heart pounds hope
it's not noticed. Bad dreams finally leave.

                By: David E. Howerton
18.)
--just windy day--

Just sitting listen to wind seeping in
badly sealed windows and loose doors keep
breeze coming in makes toes fingers numb.
Yawns fill air in a warm fog
steam rises from cup of coffee adds
too twisted forms hanging near dark ceiling.
All needed now thick book and coffee.


                By: David E. Howerton
19.)
--Might help--

Hold listen strange things walk this night
softly talking to trees and trash and
imps that live in their heads tiny
where they should not exist baiting hollow
men walking at night really wanting sleep
too scared to lay down chase burnout
and hope they'll make it through night

                By: David E. Howerton
20.)
--Pretty good day to go for it--

Fond of you, brush hair tie braid
give a hug small shampoo calm fills
wish you'd spend day there'd be picnic.
Yet the chance comes peril some know
and want to make us blush or
cry. Won't happen it's easy in woods
by quiet lake with cabin well stocked.

                By: David E. Howerton
21.)
--Somethingís look better--

Some look better in bright lights others
are best in dim shadows but, then
the worst always hide in bight light
yelling how others not them are bad.
Shake head twisted logic turns heads down
road of the easy way ignore need
to discern thought before you trail behind.

                By: David E. Howerton
22.)
--Strange lengths to get them out--

Well well well you got it now
paper colored and folded tossed out window
flutter to road where some pick up.
Each chances looking some smile rest toss
in trash shaking heads not wanting thought.
All those poems some caught by wind
end in hands later just wanting more.

                By: David E. Howerton
23.)
--Sunday evening walking--

Down quiet dark streets bright car lights
hide dirty roads bring out scat piles
just going for evening walk on Sunday.
Night best time to go out walking
not many people or cars makes for
quiet time talk while moving dark streets.
Get so much done can't really complain.

                By: David E. Howerton
24.)
--To early for other things--

Turns toward bright morning what with coffee
and scones we watch sunrise bright gold
tinged with fog. Well it's a start.
Quiet trip in woods leaves rustle soft
it's a good way to get started
the long walk early morning is good.
Just wish there was full coffee cup.

                By: David E. Howerton
25.)
--Toward waking sleep doesn't last--

Sleep seeps wake don't dream can't much
so much drained tastes dark drives out.
But eastern sky gets bright now's time
eyes open watch shadows shrink gets to
me. Keeps bad dreams at edge where
bright light draws waking keeps away sleep
too tired even closed shades don't help.

                By: David E. Howerton
26.)
--Turning to wall hope for sleep almost done--

Having to hold waiting for the syringe
Turning to those who came tears flowing
Looking at them wanting me to feel
Fine. Bite tongue first jab of day
Smile at friends and family, sweat pouring.
Doesnít matter pain wonít leave me alone
Deep tumors in bones wonít go away.

                By: David E. Howerton
27.)
--what gets done helps--

Blank mind watch sky going dark rain
spend minutes putting candles out just worried
thunder close streaks of light too but
I'm getting ready if power goes out
Being left in dark isn't bad yet
often need to finish project or dinner
puts strain so light them stay happy


                By: David E. Howerton
28.)
--when you read here--

Quit arguing damn I'm pissed get out
drink someone elseís beer for a change.

Don't mind you reading aloud your poems
but can't you stop puking on floor
look it doesn't help your poetry much.

Tired and drunk with words slurred you
came wanting heard now you've been. Go.

                By: David E. Howerton
29.)
--You know, it's worth it--

Green yellow flowers litter our brown meadow
small gray birds bounce along grab seeds.
Gentle breath slow and don't scare away.
Broken stems whistle as sun comes up
but a smile touch's mouth, being ready
watch finches catch insects, time slows down
drink coffee, tastes earthy spring settles in.

                By: David E. Howerton