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CHERITA [1--2--3]
[pronounced CHAIR-rita]

 

 

Cherita is the Malay word for story or tale. A Cherita consists of a single stanza of a one-line verse, followed by a two-line verse, and then finishing with a three-line verse. It can either be written solo or with up to three partners.

The Cherita tells a story. It was created by ai li on the 22 June 1997 in memory of her grandparents who were raconteurs extraordinaire. It was also inspired by Larry Kimmel's sensitive recognition of a shorter form contained within the opening three-verse stanza of ai li's LUNENGA, which had been created on the 27 May 1997.

 

Copyright ai li 2002

 

EXAMPLES :

ai li's collection
The Larry Kimmel Collection
Four Cherita by Anthea Arnold  
One Cherita by Richard Cheevers  

Three Cherita by Michael Meyerhofer
Two Cherita by Felicity Brookesmith

 

                                                                                                                                                                                     __________ 

 

ai li's collection of twelve cherita

 

 

 

 

 

old woman at the door

 

collecting for
hungry ghosts

 

the shroud
she wears
for shawl

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                       _________

 

 

 

 

 

drifting paper boat

 

the rain
on banana leaves

 

indoors
by an open window
poet

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                      __________

 

 

 

 

 

black limo on a wet day

 

passing
the empty florist

 

colours
deepening
on stone

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                    ___________ 

 

 

 

 

 

christmas eve...

 

the presents wrapped
a cup of camomile tea

 

anonymous call
your eyes
avoiding mine

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                     __________ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a passing phase...

 

the drawers full
of lingerie

 

he orders
by phone
asking for black lace

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                     __________ 

 

 

 

 

 

loveless

 

under
a stingy moon

 

the cotton sheets
between my legs
are wet

 

 

 

 

 

*************************************************************************************************************************__________

 

 

 

 

 

tiara in a pawn shop

 

the missing ticket
with the sacked companion

 

autumn dusk
she sits in a ballgown
fraying at the hem

 

 

 

 

 

**************************************************************************************************************************_________*

 

 

 

 

 

the hush in a library

 

a fly
on the woman's nose

 

to sneeze
or not
to sneeze

 

 

 

 

 

**************************************************************************************************************************_________*

 

 

 

 

 

gemstone on her fat finger

 

the colour of
dark ocean

 

her face
in the obituary column
lost at sea

 

 

 

 

 

**************************************************************************************************************************_________*

 

 

 

 

 

4 pm

 

a cuckoo clock
bringing forest into afternoon

 

the crumbs i leave
sitting  on
their own shadows

 

 

 

 

***************************************************************************************************************************________

 

 

 

 

 

missing child on a sunday morning

 

the priest
finds a clean frock to visit in

shadowed path
the broken doll
no one sees

 

 

 

 

 

 ************************************************************************************************************************_________*

 

 

 

 

 

another rainbow

 

this one is quiet
for the hospice

 

the face
at the window
already not there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright ai li 2002

                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 

The Larry Kimmel Collection of Sixteen Cherita

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Day

 

candles and wine
a 3lb turkey

 

snow falling
through maple trees
a man and a woman...

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 

 

 

 

 

tangled sheets

 

tainting the walls
a neon's pulse

 

by the window
the glow
of a cigarette

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 

 

 

 

 

      it's her wedding tomorrow

 

    she comes to me in the night
    saying

 

      "this
        will have to last
        for a long time"

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 

 

 

 

 

hoarfrost

 

10,000 apple drops
lie in the untended orchard

 

in the kitchen
a floor board
chirps

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 

 

 

 

 

the radiators bang

 

cod liver oil washed down
by fresh squeezed orange juice

 

he sits by the oven
warm on one side
shivering on the left

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 

 

 

 

 

power outage

 

no candles
can't find the flashlight

 

the copper tea kettle
lit
by a ring of blue flame

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

 

 

 

 

beyond the window, a bony dump*

 

as late as 1946
each classroom heated by a wood furnace

 

in summer
from the mine's maw
cool scary air

 

 

 

*slag heap

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

a table set for two, a roast in the oven

 

the phone rings
in a white dress she goes out

 

whether by choice
or chance, she steps
into traffic

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 

 

 

 

 

storming out of her home

 

in night and blizzard
getting as far as the bachelor's house

 

staying all winter
and never going back
having the last say

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

 

 

 

 

two moons too many

 

turning a deaf ear
living a life of braille

 

fussing
only makes the macrame

more tangled

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 

 

 

 

 

"danke schoen"

 

shying away
she leaves her sly smile

 

where she stood
a twist of blue smoke lingers
in the misting air

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 

 

 

 

 

family barbecue

 

burnt offerings
the 'chock' of croquet balls

 

old, her eyesight gone
she sits apart
faintly smiling

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

"oops, sorry"

 

me on the can
she in my lap

 

what
a
party

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

six months missing

 

anonymous phone call
"your daughter's at the train station"

 

crippled and mute
she rocks
the years away

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 

 

 

 

 

cherries ripe

 

"those aren't yours to pick"
"me thinks this free country"

 

after three days
frothing at the mouth
the poisoned cow dies

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

they'd nothing for christmas that year

 

a cut spruce by the side of the road
the luck of a pheasant to run over

 

not a tale
to tell
at a New Age gathering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Larry Kimmel 1997

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 

Four Cherita by Anthea Arnold

 

 

 

 

 

One little boy sulked, sat silent,

 

another shuffled food round his plate
complained he was tired, cold, bored;

 

a third drank too much fizzy drink
made rude noises, had to go home.
They were all over sixty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

I peer at the mantel beam

 

for marks to intimidate intruders -
the devil, witches, posing as birds.

 

There they are. Vs, Ms, Rs.
My black cat watches, tail curled over his back.
He too keeps birds away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

He never ran his bath away.

 

Green as the Thames,
it remained...

 

Other things seemed strange later,
not to a child.
He was my grandfather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's not a violin..

 

you don't put a voice away.
Worse than a baby, a Siamese twin,

 

always to be considered,
always there,
never leaves you alone..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Anthea Arnold 2000

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

One Cherita by Richard Cheevers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drinking wine

 

she mentions her fiance
in bed with flu

 

Avoiding eye contact
discussing
cures . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Richard Cheevers 1999

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

Three Cherita by Michael Meyerhofer

 

 

 

 

 

i pretend not to see.

 

in the shopping mall,
a blushing child

 

trying to hide
that he has just
wet himself.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

a mother breastfeeding

 

bare infant and breast
in the summer light.

 

so beautiful
i try not to stare
but she winks at me.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

i cook the broth myself.

 

when last i caught the flu
it was a year ago . . .

 

we stayed in bed
for days,
making love.

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Michael Meyerhofer 2002

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

Two Cherita by Felicity Brookesmith

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did not see you.

 

I heard your footsteps
when you passed my door today.

 

I tell myself I'm foolish
to wait in all day for you
and I wait in all day.

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Felicity Brookesmith 2002

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

seeing you again

 

you saw me first and followed me
I turned to your hello and saw

 

your dark glasses through my own
and I knew, as our hands touched,
our eyes    were on each     other's mouths.

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Felicity Brookesmith  2002

 

 

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