Whoops. I saw this photograph here as an intended inspiration and had run with it before I read the fine print and discovered that it was supposed to be a tanka. Whatever that means.

I don’t really know how murder got into it but, you know, these things happen …


I’m hearing helter-skelter

Hearing clickety clack

Hearing metal wheels screaming

On a railway track

The whistle is a blowing

We’re racing with the wind

I don’t know where we’re going

But I know that I have sinned

Shackles on my ankles

Chains upon my wrists

They can’t control my thinking

But they can control my fists

I’m going down for murder

Going to pay for my mistake

There’s a guy and he was laughing

There’s a body in the lake

I don’t regret what I have done

I’d do it all again

I slit his throat, I watched him drown

He wasn’t laughing then

He was messing with my woman

Then confessing what he’d done

He thought I’d like to hear it

He thought it might be fun

I had a little fun with him

I cut him with my knife

I watched his body sinking

Then I went and did his wife

And now it’s helter skelter

There weren’t no bags to pack

We do the crime, we do the time

I ain’t coming back


7 thoughts on “Helter-Skelter

  1. oh my dear man.
    when you run with something you’re like a dog with a new chew stick.

    This is what poetry is supposed to be.
    Tell me the truth, did you just start writing lines, and somewhere near the end think
    “omg what do I do now oh, there’s the ending…”

    I love the way this progresses from a train to a murder to an ending…

    Bravo, bravo, bravo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My problem is that I seriously lack concentration and persistence, so I write anything that comes into my head without any sort of plan. And then, unless there’s a glaring error that absolutely screams at me, I post it. That’s why everything looks a bit like a ‘work in progress’ except that there’s hardly any work and no real progress.
      In this one I was trying to capture the motion and feel of an old train and suddenly I had blood on my hands. Beats me.

      It wasn’t a tanka though, I’m fairly sure about that.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. careful, he’s having an aw shucks it ain’t nothin’ moment and no amount of praise will break into it. (deep sigh)

      This is exactly the way I write, you start with a first line, and keep going, dead sure you’re gonna drop the ball this time, and suddenly there’s the ending, just like that train, and there’s the poem. I don’t know how it works either, but its quite an adventure. and not all that uncommon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do wish, Judy, that I could really focus on these things a bit longer. My poor attention span is getting worse.
        But this weekend is the NYC Midnight Challenge – and that somehow focuses me for a bit, despite consistent failure.

        Liked by 1 person

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