CW Hawes, a bureaucrat by day and a poet by night, views poetry to be primarily a record of one's emotions. His poetry covers a range of forms from sonnets to free verse, but he is especially fond of the Japanese form tanka because it allows for concise lyrical expression. For mentors he draws from Basho, Issa, and Ishikawa Takuboku. His work has recently appeared in Poetic Voices (where he was featured poet for November 2003 and May 2004), Makata, Autumn Leaves, Ancient Heart, Falling Star, Simply Haiku, in addition to Tryst. He edited a Japanese form issue of Muse Apprentice Guild which appeared in Summer 2004. He resides in rural northeastern Iowa with his wife, daughter, dog, and cat.

The Old Man

 the old man   existing
on a meagre   retirement income
all day long   clenches and unclenches   his fists


I look down the barrel
of the .45:
black as the night
it is;
only there are no stars,
just the limitless blackness --
kind of what I’d imagine it must be
like to stare into a black hole
and definitely like being in a cave
with no lights on;
just a long inky-black little tunnel
and the longer I look the more I think
I see a light down there.


There were twelve of us,
but Jim took the sniper’s
first bullet; it was as if
a giant, invisible hand
knocked him on his back.
His legs kicked
a couple of times before
his disgust for fighting and killing
left him forever.

The sniper,
hiding up in that goddamn
church’s bell tower, kept us
pinned down for over an hour, then
Pete got careless and took
a bullet in the shoulder. As he
slowly bled to death, I heard him
repeating over and over,
"The quick and the dead,
the quick and the dead."

air support arrived;
took out the tower and
the sniper with it.
Before I could even light
a cigarette, the words
“Move out!”
were heard.
Ten of us got up and headed for
the next tower.