october, 2016

otata 10

tokonoma

With hesitant compassion she leads me to a large white rose whose deepest heart is being devoured by a scarab.

“Why don’t you shake it off, why don’t you get rid of it?” I ask her

“The rose is done for by now,” she answers. “And if the scarab does not get enough of this, it will go looking for another.”

I sense that her compassion is divided between the insect and the flower, just as the heart of St. Francis included the famished bird and the pecked worm, the burning fire and the burnt garment, the ailing flesh and the herbs crushed to heal it.

I halt before this spectacle of devastating passion.

The insect is nailed into the flower’s sweetness with a craving which resembles both perdition and rapture. It is dazzling, like a gold lamella shining through a polished emerald. It is a stupendous jewel and a savage force.

It is forgetful of everything, oblivious of all risk, all surprise, all threat, submerged in its delight as in a crime that fears no punishment.

I sense again, as in my early youth, what there is of the divine in thirst and hunger

The entire heart of the rose is spoiled and, surrounded by a crown of still intact petals, appears yellowish like a trace of honey.

The sore oozes nectar, the murder is sweet.

Who feeds on beauty grows in beauty.

I would like to linger and catch the instant when the scarab will extend its wings outside its carapace and fly away along a ray of sunlight.

Gabriele D’Annunzio, Nocturne

Raymond Rosenthal, Trans.

.

.

part i

John Levy, Mark Harris, Joseph Aversano, Mandy Haggith,
Bob Arnold, Bill Cooper, Jean Morris, Sabine Miller, Hansha Teki, Don Wentworth,
Sonam Chhoki, Elmedin Kadric, Susan Hankla, Mike Montreuil,
Tom Montag

.

part ii

otata’s bookshelf

Johannes S.H. Bjerg
Rainflames
Regnflammer

.

John Perlman
The Keys

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

part i

.

.

 

John Levy

.

.

.

through the metal fence a young woman stretches
her arm to touch the rhinoceros back as her son

eyes rhino expanse and a mother’s reach

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

shadows photographed crossing

the street in 1950

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

What happened to that one? A child’s
question walking through
the cemetery.

.

.

.

.

[Editor’s note: Poet John Levy and Painter Don Cole’s collaborative volume Float among what sails & spiralsis surely among the most stunning books of the year. You can find — you must see the video of Levy reading his poems drawn from Cole’s paintings here.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Mark Harris

.

.

.

sea wrack
an old god sleeps
in a cast off shell

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

curtains of light
the wave inside

.

flowers

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

a dust mote’s re-
volving in the spotlight where
the bodhisattva sat

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

starlings twist into

an apparition of
the end

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

leaf light
bluebottle flies rise
from a hollow mole

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

plums
one pale dawn

.

gone

.

(light in the open doorway breaks)

.

.

.

[Editor’s note: Mark is the publisher of elegant chapbooks under his Ornithopter Press, most recently, Peter Yovu’s stunning Imago, which can be found here.]

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Joseph Aversano

.

.

.

covered up
by fig leaves
the fall

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

a bird note
quotient of
the blue

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

stars under which
the horizon falls
away

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

the next village in the dark a bark

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

saint’s shadow as long as the saint

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

a lifting foot
fall gravity’s
weak

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

crying into this world on out

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

heaven’s river coursing rain

.

earth’s core flaked obsidian

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

a coconut
falls to
the beat

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

the warpaint
clogging
pores

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

a quiet the sirens have left

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

the fronts
shifting
light

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

moon so the this worldly

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Mandy Haggith

.

.

.

this is not Japan
but the cherry blossom begs
a three line poem

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

a hazel arrow courses

curves between birches

sparrowhawk!

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Fallen hazel leaves

.

spines up under trees
books discarded on a wet tiled floor
by interrupted readers

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Gold

.

who
needs silver
when there are
so many
shades
of
g
o
l
d
?

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

hazel

.

a nut in my hand
a tree in my mind

.

in the current
a salmon waits
for hazel wisdoms
to fall

.

a tree made the nut
the nut will make a tree

.

in the woods time bends
its arrow-shaft
loops

.

life to life
fungus to fungus

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Oaks

.

eggcups propping up the pastry sky

.

now you’re gone

.

there’s nothing
to prevent
the clouds caving in

.

nothing to stop the fields flapping

.

.

.

.

.

[Editor’s note: Go to Mandy Haggith’s website]

.

.

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Bob Arnold

.

.

.

The Woodcutter Talks

.

Long before the great ships at sea
There were the deep inland forests

.

I stand in one today knee-deep in snow
10 degrees with a wind

.

My saw shut down
Oil freeze to bar and gloves

.

Listening awhile to the ships at sea
The long groaning waves

.

High high
above me

.

.

.

[Editor’s note: Click here To order the complete Woodcutter Talks from Longhouse
and do not neglect the late Jim Koller’s edition of Twenty-Eight Poems &
Two Interviews
, available as a free pdf here.]

.

.

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Bill Cooper

.

.

.

through holes
in the lobster trap
Orion

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

rain loosening
each sunflower petal
new oboe reed

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

hot cobbles
unfurling an anti-pipeline
quilt

.

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Jean Morris

.

.

.

Cupped

.

Milk for their morning tea
is from a lemon-yellow jug.
Cupped between her hands,
its cool curves are like the fruit,
its glowing yellowness
a small warm flame
from brighter climes
and times than these.
It turns their milk
to buttermilk,
their cups
to buttercups.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

one on each table
potted lavender
with bee

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

we trail towards
a small horizon

.

looped against the light
bare branches cry

.

the footpath clings
keeps whispering your name

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

fallen pink petals

.

their delicacy shocks
like parings from
a pale fleshy
underarm

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

some kind
of pelargonium
red petals
so soft they’re
like velvet
so dark they’re
nearly black

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

morning
space swells
and time recedes
light on a silver sea

.

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Sabine Miller

.

.

.

Motion Is Love

.

Sat on an island
in the

.

Pacific

.

.

.

In a stuffy

.

Dark room breathing

.

.

.

Patches
of skin

.

Flare and Fade

.

.

.

Slept like
an animal

.

Amidst

.

.

.

On the seventh

.

Day dissolving
into white light

.

.

.

Into

.

Which

.

.

.

Forms come,
to love

.

.

.

This spinning

.

Disco
ball-of-a

.

.

.

Whirled

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Moon Came to the Forge

.

(after a photograph by Michelle Tennison)

.

.

1.

.

A hummingbird’s throat

.

Feathers in
the shade

.

.

2.

.

Plasma, whisked
off the sun as

.

A woman
in Andalusia

.

.

3.

.

Singing
The blood’s piped
glass

.

.

4.

.

Dahlia
if you

.

Dance in
dark red
petticoats

.

.

5.

.

Pregnant gypsies

.

Walking mountains

.

.

6.

.

The moon
in Earth’s exhalations

.

Rose

.

.

.

[Editor’s Note: Sabine’s Circumference of Mercy is available from Mountains & Rivers Press.]

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Hansha Teki

.

.

.

there and there
so near still
a mayfly’s was

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

finger-felt
what the pine
had to teach

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

in winter wind
all that’s left of me
escapes me

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Don Wentworth

.

.

.

one after
the other the ants
tell us so

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

outside the polling place
two halves of a worm
wriggling

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

fly
on the coffin lid
praying

.

.

.

[Editor’s Note: Our little world might disappear were it not for Don’s review.
And also see his newest Past All Traps.]

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Sonam Chhoki

.

.

.

In dreams a bulbul sings to me of carnelian caves where the cobras play but it never shows me the way

crossing
the rope bridge to a shrine
Orion at dawn

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Some of what you read

a little of what you want
to believe
I am a mosaic
of imaginings

.

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Elmedin Kadric

.

.

.

just tomatoes and bread on a headstone

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

two sides
the same
cold moon

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

you choose black
winter solstice

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

after all
the ant part
of you

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

walnut money in his clenched hand

.

.

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Susan Hankla

.

.

.

Above cumulus clouds I levitate,
wearing just a shower cap and pearls.

.

.

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Mike Montreuil

.

.

.

able to communicate
and put words on paper
Superman

.

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Tom Montag

.

.

.

You do not
want to

.

want. The
heart does

.

what it must.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Which is
grace.

.

Which is
shape.

.

Which is
grasp and

.

grapple.
This woman.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

And so, yes, then
I head for home

.

waiting for stars
to mark my going.

.

The darkness slows
me. Emptiness,

.

no, not so much.

.

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

.

part ii

otata’s bookshelf

.

Johannes S.H. Bjerg
Rainflames
Regnflammer

Click to read the pdf

John Perlman
The Keys

Click to read the pdf

 

.

Ξ 
 

.

.

Otata will come again
one day
late fall in the mountains

— Santoka as translated by Burton Watson

Otata mo aru hi wa kite kureru yama no aki fukaku

As Watson notes, “Otata was a woman who went around selling fish in the area of Santoka’s cottage in Matsuyama.”

.

All works copyright © 2016 by the respective poets.

Address submissions to otatahaiku@gmail.com

—John Martone

september, 2016

otata 9

tokonoma

Write the story of a contemporary cured of his heartbreaks solely by long contemplation of a landscape.

CamusNotebooks: 1942-1951

Justin O’Brien, Trans.

.

.

i

A Formerly United Kingdom — A Formally United Kingdom

title uk poets image

.

John Phillips, David Miller, Erica Van Horn, Simon Cutts, Thomas A. Clark, Alec Finlay, Lila Matsumoto,
Malcolm Ritchie, Julie Johnstone, Gerry Loose, JL Williams, Ian Storr

.

Click on the link below to open the anthology.

A Formerly United Kingdom — A Formally United Kingdom

.

.

ii

John Levy, Sonam Chhoki, Chris Poundwhite, Lisa Espenmiller, Billy Antonio,
George Swede, Guliz Mutlu, Helen Buckingham

.

.

iii

Scott Watson, Making the New Santoka

(from the Santoka Book)

.



.

.

.

.

ii

 

.

.

John Levy

.

.

.

my mother chose an inexpensive
cookie jar for her future
ashes

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

taking photos of the clouds
a slower
cloud

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

wild plans

.

In Lorine Niedecker’s
Wintergreen Ridge

she writes that when Basil
Bunting visited her she
“neglected to ask”

                what wild plans
have you there?

.

and in her poem she
chastises herself for
being dark and

.

inconsiderate

.

I had to reread the
passage
to see her reproach of herself

.

was completely in
character
because she wished

.

she’d asked
about wild
plants

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

under and surrounding one tree thousands
of bowed praying devotees at a mosque face
the earth under which the roots stretch

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

searching for something to write with, the raindrop

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Sonam Chhoki

.

.

.

willow fronds move old boots in the gutter

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

the wind worries lone horse puddle

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

prayer flags in the hedge plastic bags

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

blue moon
age-veined hands
write outside the lines

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

river mist rising cremation mound

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Chris Poundwhite

.

.

.

sparrows in the atrium all Vivaldi

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

shoes
back on

.

end of
lunch

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

a new
place

.

every

.

day

.

– you’ve grown

.

weed &
wild

.

flow
er

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

a hard
world

.

stone
under
sole

.

bare
foot

.

then
comes

.

a bee

.

&
every
thing’s

.

right

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

pull out
the sandwich

.

in a
few
minutes

.

gone

.

sun
still on
head &

.

wind in
hair

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

close eyes &<

.

still
see things

.

glowing
shapes

.

patterns
fad
ing

.

that
bee

.

pulls
the

.

whole
flower

.

down

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

‘hello
mate’
says the
man
w/
his
dog &
walks on

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

how
light

.

how
light

.

on yr
feet

.

sparrow

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

just
me

.

&
all
this

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Lisa Espenmiller

.

.

.

.

.

seamless grey sky
watching her
unravel

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Billy Antonio

.

.

.

family history
the scars and stains
on the dining table

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

weathered vane

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

returning geese
home scribbled
on a postcard

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

George Swede

.

.

.

the game with
seven billion players
one ball

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Guliz Mutlu

.

.

.

halicarnassus at night
honeysuckles
blown with the sand

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Helen Buckingham

.

.

.

dawn chorus
the owl
bows out

.

.

 

iii

.iii

Scott Watson

.

MAKING THE NEW SANTŌKA

.

Most of us are aware that labels such as Romanticism, Modernism, etc. are scholarly constructions and that individual poets do not go around with “I’m a Modernist” in their head while making a poem. At the same time some of them don’t want to write in the way writers in a previous century wrote. They sense a duty to push their art forward. Some of them. Those are the ones labeled “Modernist.”

.

Meiji was an age in which much was different from before the opening of Japan to Western thoughts, technology, and gadgets. Novelty was fashionable. Novelist Natsume Soseki could have his own ice cream making machine.

.

Modernism in Japan, though, was not just a desire for novelty. New national pride was involved as well. Many Japanese, since their nation was newly on stage in an international environment, wanted an identity as a modern and powerful nation. They did not want to think of themselves as citizens of a backward, undeveloped country still rooted in feudalism. Keep up with the Joneses. Keep up with the times. The Meiji emperor was photographed in a Western uniform.

.

Certainly with minimalist brevity we can place Pound’s dictum “Make it new” upon much that was attempted in writing. Though even EP’s “Make it new” itself was ages old. Scholars tell us it comes from a long ago Chinese injunction, which might move us to wonder just what new is under the sun. It’s relative.

.

Santōka, though, was indeed looking for something new. That is what brought him to Ogiwara Seisensui. But “Make it new”: how is that said about a person who decides to live out his days as a Zen Buddhist poet-monk, wandering the land or practicing simple living in a cottage? It is difficult to catch hold of what Buddhism, or Zen Buddhism, is at a particular moment in the flow of Japan, and then what was it for Santōka?

.

After Japan’s modernization begins, Buddhism in general is seen as old fashioned and as inconsistent with logic and science. It’s seen as superstition (by the intellectual, international, elite). As things proceed there is a jostling for position in society, and Buddhism, including Zen, engages in self-renovation. Making it new.

.

Eventually war comes. What’s new? The Buddhism in Japan, including the Zen sects, available in Santōka’s day was supportive of imperial wars and explained away aggression’s injustices with old time karma so that it is the victims, due to their own bad karma, who are responsible for being mistreated. Old and new coexist.

.

The haiku form Santōka’s early Meiji predecessors inherited was centuries old, dating back, as a form independent from renku linked verse, to Bashō in the 17th century. Buddhism, as mentioned, was seen as old fashioned. So with the haiku form. And much else, I suspect. Masaoka Shiki pulled the haiku, dusty and old, out of its “tradition” condition. He brushed it off, made it good as new looking at real life scenes. Shiki is said to have opened the way for something different with this form, something new.

.

Ogiwara Seisensui (there are others too but OS stands out as representative) took things further than Shiki by dropping–and urging other poets to drop–all the (what seemed to him as) tedious and unnecessary rules governing, or constricting, haiku making. Let Haiku Be Fresh and Alive. The result is called free-style haiku. That is the style Santōka adopted after his encounter with Ogiwara.

.

Santōka says A Poem Is Born. Not “born of …..”–BORN. It may be impossible to know if that statement comes as a result of his reading a particular Western or ancient Chinese author or if it’s because he read something by a Japanese poet and said it in a new way. It’s more likely a visceral response to poem making. But the fact that a visceral response is recognized as a valid take on poem-making is maybe due to exposure to Western influence and telling of the changing times The fact that he expresses the matter as originating in his being’s own bowels sets it apart from what we might hear before the Meiji opening when a reference to the raw act of giving birth might have been frowned on as not being in good taste.

.

The point is that various poets of the new age were responding to developments each in his or her unique way, and they each had different takes on what they were doing, whether it was Yosano’s “jikkan” (“feel of the moment” is my inept rendering), Hagiwara’s “shiseishin” (poetic spirit), or Ogiwara’s “Listen to nature”.. . . Their responses were unique, but good artists have always been about being unique. At times (more often that not?) they did not agree with or appreciate what another poet was doing, so it impossible for a modernist movement to be called a unified field.

.

Neither was what they were doing necessarily new in all aspects. Yosano Akiko continued writing her tanka poems in classical, Heian era, Japanese. Ogiwara, after scraping off centuries of whatever it is that accumulates when one is a poetry god, returns to vitality he finds in Bashō. “Follow nature and return to nature”

.

These were not close-minded people and they knew there was still much from the ancients that was usable just as they found inspiration through imports they could adapt to express something vital through their Japanese language and culture.

.

It was the POSSIBILITY for their different responses to have a venue, a presence (in a literary world), that came with the changing times. …

.

~~~

.

Japan’s traditional forms are said to have bothered some of its modernist poets. Hagiwara Sakutarō (1886~1942), whose years pretty much coincide with Santōka’s (1882~1940), wrote that “It is no wonder that in an age of anxiety like ours such a poetry of elegant beauty and leisurely pleasure has begun to bore readers.” [Eng. by Ueda Makoto] Hagiwara is referring to especially haiku.

.

Santōka obviously saw it differently. In his free style haiku there is an absence of elegant beauty and leisurely pleasure. Nor is his poetry filled with modern life anxiety and despair. Despite whatever manifested as his actual life, there is no “sickness of modern life” to the poems–only natural, healthy dying. In his poetry there is what can’t be labelled. To label something we must bring it to a standstill to be boxed and stamped, and that is not possible with Santōka’s flux.

.

Dropping a few nuisances that plague traditional haiku, this form, in his hands at least, is able to embrace Westernization in all its permeations and permutations.

.

Santōka, in priest robes is in town standing chanting sutra holding his iron alms bowl begging. Jazz music pumps out from inside a building. Santōka writes of it:

.

お経届かないジャズの騒音

.

Which, in one dimension, in prose, could mean something like “This jazz is too loud for a sutra to be heard.” (I can’t hear myself not think.)

.

Are Jazz and sutra set in opposition? Is something from the modern age set against tradition, drowning it out? That is the standard interpretation of modernity versus tradition. As modernity advances, many traditions disappear, are not preserved. Not eating meat, for example.

.

Is Santōka lamenting the influence of Western cultural imports? Or are each manifestations of non-divisive mystery? If Santōka’s words are merely the explanatory prose mentioned above, where is the poetry? What’s the poem?

.

We might wonder, too, if Santōka had some kind of affinity for jazz because, like his own freestyle work that abandons rules for traditional haiku, jazz is, according to a music aficionado, at times improvisational and can be performed comparatively freely, based on a performer’s sense of the number.

.

Poetry is music beyond measure.

.

For Santōka the fecund is anything anywhere. Anything can be poetry–even nothing. It depends. Santōka’s sutra chanting witnesses jazz, lets jazz be. Jazz lets the sutra/chanter realize their own power to go on, even though it might seem they are powerless. Through his haiku both flow as one (not Pure Land but) poem-land place. East and West can never meet because of the fragmentary nature of our minds. But Santōka takes us beyond East and West.

.

Buddhist tradition is brought into contact with the materialistic modern age (jazz) and is renewed through his poetry. The materialistic modern age is brought into contact with Buddhism, made spiritual–though not made traditional–through his poetry. Buddhism is set free from predetermined boundaries for what the spiritual is. Jazz is set free from predetermined boundaries for what materialistic music is.

.

And he does this with a poem based on the 5-7-5 syllabic pattern Hagiwara tells us are unusable by modern Japanese. Eye of the beholder, it seems. Depends on how the eye is conditioned. Or unconditioned. Or ear.

.

When he journeyed north to the Tohoku region, visiting some of the spots Bashō visited and visiting members of Layered Clouds, he went as far as Hiraizumi in Iwate Prefecture, which was the northernmost spot Bashō visited. A place of historical significance as well as literary importance mainly because of Bashō.

.

ここまでを来し水飲んで去る

Come all the way here drink water leave

.

Not to dwell, but it absorbs both ancient and modern.

.

From the All Flowing Cottage 万流庵

.

.

Ξ 
 

.

.

Otata will come again
one day
late fall in the mountains

— Santoka as translated by Burton Watson

Otata mo aru hi wa kite kureru yama no aki fukaku

As Watson notes, “Otata was a woman who went around selling fish in the area of Santoka’s cottage in Matsuyama.”

.

All works copyright © 2016 by the respective poets.

Address submissions to otatahaiku@gmail.com

—John Martone

august, 2016

otata 8

Lorin Ford, Jeannie Martin, vincent tripi, John Levy, Scott Watson, Cherie Hunter Day, Andrea Cecon, Hansha Teki, Scott Metz, Tom Montag, Helen Buckingham, Mike Montreuil

Ξ

selections from Haijin Italia, 41

Alberto Baroni, Angela Lombardozzi, Angiola Inglese, Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo, Corrado Aiello, Cristina Zabai, Elisa Bernardinis, Ezio Infantino, Fabrizio Pecchioni, Francesco Palladino, Giovanna Gioia, Giuliana Ravaglia, Kyoko Bengala, Marco Viviani, Maria Malferrari, Nazarena Rampini, Ubaldo Busolin, Vicenzo Campobasso

Ξ

Scott Watson —Two pieces on Santoka

Ξ

otata’s bookshelf

Kim Dorman, After Sankara

Dorman cover

.

.

tokonoma

Color

       Thirty years old, he had for some time been in love with a vacant lot. A ground of moss, on it broken bricks, fragments of roof tile. but in his eyes a landscape by Cezanne.
He remembered his passions of eight years ago. That seven or eight years ago he hadn’t understood color, he realized now.

AkutagawaA Fools Life

Will Petersen, Trans.

.

.

Ξ 

 

.

 

Lorin Ford

.

.

.

sparrows in the atrium all Vivaldi

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

floodwaters rising
the bush nurse’s lamp
in her window

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

petrified forest
the long vowels
of my bones

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

backstreet shadows
a long-legged spider
climbing my spine

.

.

.

Ξ 
 

 

Jeannie Martin

.

.

.

how lonely
a life
without eggs

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

crowded subway
the space
between us

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

talk of death
we move
into the shade

.

.

.

Ξ 
 

 

vincent tripi

.

.

.

Ah! a perfect spring-summer-autumn-winter-day

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

no perfect place no perfect place no perfect place to

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

park wooden bench woodpecker knows me

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

eagle higher & higher & higher who am I?

.

.

.

Ξ 

.

 

 

John Levy

.

.

.

pretend I’m not here time says
time the ventriloquist

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

trees
dream
time

.

time
dreams
trees

.

time’s
dream
trees

.

trees’
dream
time

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

she holds his hand while he has one
finger on that (his) hand in his mouth in
public they stand under a clock

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

childhood’s faucet
led way back to the dark
and brought one bright drop

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

above his black polished shoes the professionally
lettered sign the aging man sitting on the curb
holds up reads THE END IS AT HAND while he
looks down we stream past

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

young couple leans against the railing that
separates them from the cage in the zoo, their
backs to the pacing animals they chat

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

PUSH the little girl downtown who just learned how
to read reads on a door that she stands
completely still before

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

thinking he’s alone it seems in the zoo
he finally begins talking through the bars
to the bear

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

the panhandler’s pitch
on cardboard to baseball fans outside
Chase Field DEMENTIA PLEASE HELP while within
a star delivers another at 92 miles per hour

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

one tree in the middle of the city
one city rising up through the roots
no      leaves

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

young guy holds his young girl’s hand on the
crowded city street as he studies his face in
a store’s plate glass while she studies nothing

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

unrequited
firmament

.

.

.

Ξ 
 

 

Scott Watson

.

.

.

When you can’t
be in the mountains
here’s the wine

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

A week under
heavy snow mint
fresh as daisy.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

This love now on
a dark night with
no moon and no
definition but this
dark night’s love.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Hearing a neighbor’s vacuum cleaner autumn sky

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

A universe’s
loneliness is
me too even
asking what’s
for dinner.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Cupping you
these hands
mountain stream

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Myth is where
we’re all from
a frog croaks no
fabrication.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Opening
shutters
to dawn.
A thin
snow
smiling
your song
is here.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Up in the sky radiation
from Fukushima meets
radiation from Chernobyl.
“Hi! How’s business?”

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Reading
poems
I lose
my way
finding

.

.

.

Ξ 
 

 

Cherie Hunter Day

.

.

.

twisted cedar protecting our fictions

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

blue rubs off words on the page

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

the white joinery of whorled wood asters

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

rapture—
the cicada shells
left behind

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

tidal bay the softer side of us

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

wild hive the night not dark enough

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

summer within the gears of the lily

.

.

.

Ξ 
 

 

Andrea Cecon

.

.

.

Ukrainian vodka the aftertaste of regrets

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

longest days
my brother’s
punctuation

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

zen garden
my thoughts
secured

.

.

.

Ξ 

.

 

 

Hansha Teki

.

.

.

sanctuary light
my shadow settles back
into itself

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

noumenal night . . .
a new moon obsesses
all over me

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

changeling child
true blood of my blood
full of night

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

all at sea
a wind-tossed path
laid bare

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

gathering storm
we birds keep singing
until we wake

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

each breath
left justified
in the air

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

frost-fresh
the air still to be
breathed into

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

filtered light –
yes! I can hardly bear
this world’s beauty

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

clouds there
moon-gouged into
the night

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

she died
eels slipping through
a grasp
of words

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

you are here
where light
ends

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

listening
into word-
lessness

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

dusk-light still
everything in flow
and ever-go

.

.

.

Ξ 
 

 

Scott Metz

.

.

.

could have been
a pinecone
for all i know

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

seeking rose
tinted feathers
the gull climbs

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

burning the money god a smaller one

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

yes you can open the door with a flower stem

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

—as if someone burned perfumed letters yesterday,

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

and then, at the end,
she discovers
her mother was a robot

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

now it’s the rain’s raw meat

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

shaped by the rain shaped by the sea child’s hunger

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

gulls settling around us ashes from a different fire

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

the driftwood mouths a single prayer a single cloud

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

the universe expands a little bit more cherry blossoms

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

i toss my old teeth into the sea too late words

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

flowers
among
the pulled

.

weeds
for birds
to use

.

for
nests

.

she
notes

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

i put the wind in a folder and upload it onto a cloud drive

.

.

.

Ξ 
 

 

Tom Montag

.

.

.

THIS WISDOM

.

One must
engage the stone
to understand.

.

Even water
knows what
loss is.

.

The heart
of the sun is
a hole

.

in the sky.
The hawk dives.
Something dies.

.

We all sing
the same song.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

THE MOMENT

.

is
the moment,

.

no
poet

.

in the way.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

LANDSCAPE

.

As if our walking
the landscape

.

makes a difference,
an empty wind.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

WAITING

.

is the place to
put down roots.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

THE SOUND

.

If I say my poems
the sound is nothing

.

like the wind in them.

.

.

.

Ξ 
 

 

Helen Buckingham

.

.

.

repositioning his biopsy smile

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

through the cloud a mouthless moon

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

poison garden
exits are here
here and here

.

.

.

Ξ 
 

 

Mike Montreuil

.

.

.

just like
the old days
shovelling gravel
lit cigarette
dangling

.

.

.

Ξ 
 

 

.

.

 

 

Poets from Haijin Italia, 41

.

.

.

Alberto Baroni

.

.

.

Sulla corteccia
di un mandarino in fiore —
segni d’amore

.

.

in the bark
of the flowering orange tree
scars of love

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Angela Lombardozzi

.

.

.

Solitudine —
la luce del tramonto
nella tisana

.

.

Solitude —
light of dusk
in the infusion

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Angiola Inglese

.

Notte di stelle —
sul viola dell’ibisco
la prima lucciola

.

.

Starry night —
the first firefly
in the hibiscus

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo

.

.

.

Verde odoroso
Il piovasco sprigiona
essenze estive

.

.

Fragrant green
the rain releases
summer’s essence

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Corrado Aiello

.

.

.

Incontri estivi:
frequenti pizzicori
invisibili

.

.

summer encounters:
frequent invisible
tinglings

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Cristina Zabai

.

.

.

Calar del sole —
le cicale lasciano
il palco ai grilli

.

.

Sun’s heat —
cicadas leave the stage
to the crickets

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Elisa Bernardinis

.

.

.

Bora di luglio
i rami degli aceri
non si oppongono

.

.

July’s north wind —
the maple branches
don’t resist

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Ezio Infantino

.

.

.

Schiuma di birra
Chiaro di luna steso
su un campo di orzo

.

.

foam on the beer
the moon’s clarity spreads
over a barley field

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Fabrizio Pecchioni

.

.

Sguardo al cielo —
la tazza vuota del te
nelle mie mani.

Dove vanno a cadere
tutte quante le stelle?

.

.

I look at the sky
an empty teacup
in my hands.
Where are all those stars
going to fall?

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Francesco Palladino

.

.

.

Occhiali a specchio —
da cetonia a cetonia
nella calura

.

.

mirrored sunglasses
metallic beetle to metallic beetle
in the heat

.

* cetonia, the rose chafer

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Giovanna Gioia

.

.

.

Fiocco di neve
il canto del cuculo
sul ramo spoglio

.

.

A snowflake
the cuckoo’s song
on a bare branch

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Giuliana Ravaglia

.

.

.

Quiete sul fiume:
il profumo dei monti
sull’acqua chiara

.

.

The river’s quiet —
the mountains’ perfume
on clear waterh

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Kyoko Bengala

.

.

.

Le primi viole:
torna a profumare
vecchia teiera.
nel vapore che sale
uno spicchio di luna

.

.

The first violets —
again the old teapot
releases its perfume
a slice of moon
in the rising steam

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Marco Viviani

.

.

.

Rondini e brezza
Lascio la strada fatta
sotto le suole

.

.

Swallows and a gust
I leave the pavement
under my feet

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Maria Malferrari

.

.

.

Bosco di luna
Il canto del cuculo
lento si spegne

.

.

Lunar woods
the cuckoo’s song
fades slowly

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Nazarena Rampini

.

.

.

Nuvole scure —
il vento porta in alto
i gelsomini

.

.

Dark clouds
wind lifts up
the jasmine flowers

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Ubaldo Busolin

.

.

.

Primo mattino.
Un’estate fiorita
scende dall’auto

.

.

The first morning —
flowery summer steps
out of the car

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Vincenzo Campobasso

.

.

.

Nascoste a tutti
friniscon le cicale
sui verdi agrumi

.

.

Hidden from all
cicadas chirp in green
citrus trees

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Vincenzo Campobasso

.

.

.

Nascoste a tutti
friniscon le cicale
sui verdi agrumi

.

.

Hidden from all
cicadas chirp in green
citrus trees

.

.

.

.

Ξ 

.

.

.

Scott Watson — Two pieces on Santoka

SantokaZen

Santōka- Towards a Fuller View

 

.

Ξ 

.

~otata’s bookshelf~

Dorman cover

Kim Dorman — After Sankara

To order a print copy click here

..

Ξ 
 

..

.

Otata will come again
one day
late fall in the mountains

— Santoka as translated by Burton Watson

Otata mo aru hi wa kite kureru yama no aki fukaku

As Watson notes, “Otata was a woman who went around selling fish in the area of Santoka’s cottage in Matsuyama.”

Address submissions to otatahaiku@gmail.com

—John Martone

july, 2016

otata 7

 

 

Giselle Maya, Susan Diridoni, Stephen Toft, Elmedin Kadric, Christina Sng,
Malcolm Ritchie, Don Wentworth, Adam Rosenkranz,
Malintha Perera, John Perlman, Kim Dorman

 

tokonoma

 

What can I say about the emptiness and freedom into whose door I entered for that half-minute, which was enough for a lifetime, because it was a new life altogether? There is nothing with which to compare it. I could call it nothingness, but it is an infinitely fruitful freedom, to lack all things and to lack my self in the fresh air of that happiness that seems to be above all modes of being. Don’t let me build any more walls around it, or I will shut myself out.

 

—Thomas Merton, Dialogues with Silence

 

 

 

 

Ξ 

 

 

 

Giselle Maya

 

 

 

old window closed
with tiles and stones
a pigeon’s perch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

early morning my wish to breathe all of it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

invisible now a step not taken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 solstice days      the spring’s slow trickle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

stray cat’s loyal gaze      waiting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cyclamen blossoms from winter to summer solstice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a white poppy lights up the talus midsummer dusk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nowhere a straight line mountain village

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cat lingers on window sill bird-watching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

an eye of the earth Walden seen from a cloud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

old gloves to pick nettles for a summer soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tiger swallowtail finding the yellow iris transplanted

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Susan Diridoni

 

 

 

 

my fingers grow
     lacy-leafed and blossoming
          Hades behind me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the night’s song lullaby-free simmering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

single-file fateful losses flattening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

filial lyrics underlie the walls empyrean deep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

summer magnolia buds entwined with eulogies

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Stephen Toft

 

 

 

workmen
staring into a ditch…
winter stars

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Elmedin Kadric

 

 

 

the stars the breeze our handouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

thistle seeds
an undisclosed
sum of money

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

because she said so persimmons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

being
a penniless
pocket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

one foot ahead of the other ant

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Christina Sng

 

 

 

forest cottage
a fawn wanders into
the living room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

interconnected the snow and I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Malcolm Ritchie

 

 

 

the best graffiti
make holes in walls

 

the best poems
make holes in time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

two old crows
working the sky
between them

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

these trout
are propelling the river
with their fins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

on a tideless beach i found
a tsunami-size tear
containing the salt
of all the
planet’s grief

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sound of electricity
like a dead leaf
dragging itself across the ground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Siberia (with apologies to William Blake)

 

Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright
in the forest
of the Taiga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

La Mer (with apologies to Stevie Smith)

 

the sea is waving
not drowning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the thrush in my ear
has already built her nest
in my heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

when the Amazonian man was asked
where is mind
he pointed to the rain forest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the daises at my feet
will close tonight
as the stars at my head
will open

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a small bird
like a feathered arrow
straight to the heart
of a tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

when the saw bites
at one end of the forest
the trees at the other
are already tense

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pair of eagles in the glen
like two hands for
this sudden thunderclap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

old windowpanes stained
with the memories
of vanished landscapes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

starlight keenly hones
the blade
of this
sickle moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

air within itself
still
like empty mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

heron dipping her kimono
sleeves into the kimono
sleeves of the loch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

why should i care about
my reputation
when even my purse
insults me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hardly any light left
but still the cuckoo calls
and Venus and i
stare at one another

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

it may be that when we die
we’ll find ourselves in a field
with all the animals we’ve ever
eaten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

when a wise man
remains silent
he can be mistaken for
a fool

 

when a fool
remains silent
he can be mistaken for
a wise man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

could a pine needle playback
the heartbreak song
recorded in the stump
of a tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

animals and birds
see right through us
to our deadly human hearts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the evening sky is
rooking over

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

my favourite old overcoat
seems to wear it coatness
like a coat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heron

 

at the shoreline
all legs and bill
the body
just a rumour of smoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Politicians

 

men slowly poisoned
through having to eat
their own words

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

after the storm
only sky
left standing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

British Museum

 

two Korean moon jars
each full enough
for a moon

somehow the day
has fallen into the loch
i can see it
lying there

how is it the moon
can resist
this river’s heavy flow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the hare is in the loch again
in her silver-white
coracle

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Don Wentworth

 

 

 

need pulling
up one last time
his socks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

purple iris
bending as it blooms
employee handbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dusting
not polishing his shoes
retirement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rehearsing satori mockingbird moments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

signpost
abandoned town –
3rd star, 2nd right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

drab winter season with curry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

clack clack clack
after the puppet show
the old stage trunk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hitting my shoulder
with a deepening presence
white pear petal

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Adam Rosenkranz

 

 

 

Angkor Wat

 

Covered by tourists,
Attacked by shadows,
Sold out by mind reform,
A bird fleeing, flying out
Of the huge head,
Looking for less copious
Quarters as summer
Closes down its battles.
How many times
Have we called it a night?
I have to live
With all the books I’ve never read
And the places I’ve never been.
The summer wakes up,
Sings of too much growth!
We all make careers
Of being elsewhere.

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Malintha Perera

 

 

 

to whom
to tell
wild blossoms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

violets and lilies
how many more lives
together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

not caring
       where I come from
              white blossoms

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

John Perlman

 

 

 

June deluge
flattens the tuft of
a titmouse at the feeder
a sunflower seed clinched in
its beak for the urgent flight to
feed its stormbound nestlings
squealing in a tree nearby
in the flooded yard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

white cat trails & and stalks our
stroll thru dark up the sand
lane under pine into
an open field

 

Geminids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

each week with a quarter turn
at the eastern window the

 

jade tree pivots slow
dancer balanced

 

on the braided
beams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sky darkens
with approaching
rain matrix of
bird’s songs
swells

 

each at a just remove the
clockwise soloing reaches
the singer closest
to the porch

 

who plays
a bold new riff on
the general descant  :

 

that One’s
showing
off   !

 

laugh to
hear our
words sing

 

instantaneous

 

duet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in their long
hopeless war with
silence the crickets
feebly chant the
muted dirge of
the doomed
command

 

in the cold
old older
than

 

song

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Kim Dorman

 

 

 

Things return,
unguided. What was
planted, even in
the dark,
grows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[daybook]

 

Five o’clock sun
strikes the balcony, bright
on glass,

 

clothes draped
to dry on the railing,
banana leaves & their
shadows nod.

 

Blue sky.
A warbler’s voice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Otata will come again
one day
late fall in the mountains

— Santoka as translated by Burton Watson

Otata mo aru hi wa kite kureru yama no aki fukaku

As Watson notes, “Otata was a woman who went around selling fish in the area of Santoka’s cottage in Matsuyama.”

Address submissions to otatahaiku@gmail.com

—John Martone

june, 2016

otata 6

 

 

vincent tripi, Hansha Teki, John Levy,
Alegria Imperial, Ivan Randall, Ken Sawitri, Helen Buckingham,
Kim Dorman, Johannes S.H. Bjerg

 

tokonoma

 

As I was desirous to recover the long lost bottom of Walden Pond, I surveyed it carefully, before the ice broke up, early in ’46, with compass and chain and sounding line. There have been many stories told about the bottom, or rather no bottom, of this pond, which certainly had no foundation for themselves. It is remarkable how long men will believe in the bottomlessness of a pond without taking the trouble to sound it. I have visited two such Bottomless Ponds in one walk in this neighborhood. Many have believed that Walden reached quite through to the other side of the globe. Some who have lain flat on the ice for a long time, looking down through the illusive medium, perchance with watery eyes into the bargain, and driven to hasty conclusions by the fear of catching cold in their breasts, have seen vast holes “into which a load of hay might be driven,” if there were anybody to drive it, the undoubted source of the Styx and entrance to the Infernal Regions from these parts. Others have gone down from the village with a “fifty-six” and a wagon load of inch rope, but yet have failed to find any bottom; for while the “fifty-six” was resting by the way, they were paying out the rope in the vain attempt to fathom their truly immeasurable capacity for marvellousness. But I can assure my readers that Walden has a reasonably tight bottom at a not unreasonable, though at an unusual, depth. I fathomed it easily with a cod-line and a stone weighing about a pound and a half, and could tell accurately when the stone left the bottom, by having to pull so much harder before the water got underneath to help me. The greatest depth was exactly one hundred and two feet; to which may be added the five feet which it has risen since, making one hundred and seven. This is a remarkable depth for so small an area; yet not an inch of it can be spared by the imagination. What if all ponds were shallow? Would it not react on the minds of men? I am thankful that this pond was made deep and pure for a symbol. While men believe in the infinite some ponds will be thought to be bottomless.

 

— Thoreau

 

Ξ 

 

 

 

vincent tripi

 

 

 

old stone wall each in our place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

forgiveness —
the compost
close as i can get

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

between windmills
between butterflies
between breaths

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

eagle     no last names      sky

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Hansha Teki

 

 

 

darkness clings moving into it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nothing
overwhelmed with
more of it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nothing
en-worded
in the flesh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

deadened
     low water laps
     old terrors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

without light alone lingers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

autumn leaves
            each day adazzle
      in doubt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by candle-light
words fall further than
                  where we end

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

John Levy

 

 

 

rubber bands close their claws, they
could use blindfolds too, these lobsters
near the Red Lobster’s cash register

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

at dusk, quivering above the working frog voice
boxes a black bird rides the swaying
female cattail’s cylindrical spike of white wisp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in the cemetery with
tall evergreens
between which ravens

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Alegria Imperial

 

 

 

cross legged

her bare knees attract

a flock of gulls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shortened hem
 a spillover of stargazers


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

through her eyelet wrap his sins for a year

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Ivan Randall

 

 

 

sickle moon sharpens time soon for harvest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

winter moon’s up
new room
tin cup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

windowbox orchid orphan’s burgeoning pain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

o winter beach her wit beacon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the pain
of a red sunset
blood under my toenail

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Ken Sawitri

 

 

 

afternoon tea sipping a twisting world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

billboards
the dawn peeled
at a canned city

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

boiled cabbage
I put today’s time on my diary
9:11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

orphanage room
the iced glass window
mimics the dew

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Helen Buckingham

 

 

 

remove   last resort
  insert   addiction

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Kim Dorman

 

 

 

After Issa

 

 

 

one rice plot
all our house
can afford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

silent, aloof
he ignores
the flowers

 

Buddha’s Death Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

those moonlit
plum flowers tempt
me to steal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in shade

 

the shrine gathers
coins & a few
scattered petals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

just a warbler
singing to this
suffering world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

swept the garden
just to welcome
a warbler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

when it rains the
innkeeper also
shelters a horse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a willow beckons
at the entrance to
a whorehouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tea houses &
cherry trees bloom
overnight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

must be a
holiday even
for rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

only a drop
or two—I guess
it’s over

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

summer’s first
melon —the boy sleeps
holding it close

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

come, flies!
share in the year’s
first harvest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mosquitoes gone
now it’s time
for the old folks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

that mosquito knows
I’m old & slow—
buzzes in my ear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the mosquito bites
a second time
& is silent

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

Johannes S.H. Bjerg

 

 

 

Lake

 

 

 

breathing
neither up
or down

 

            go to the lake
            watch the lake
            leave the lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

it was there
it disappeared
it was ploughed
it is there again

 

       and from the graveyard above
              the dead wash
               into the lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

returning
by non-action

 

the lake
above
ground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

now it has water
now it has wind
the lake’s there there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

at the foot of the holy hill
a body
of water

 

to stick a finger into

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

it will float a leaf
      a duck
      a reflection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the lake
that went away
and came back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

without water
what’s
the lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

an eye beneath heaven
full of clouds
of fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

before it had a name the lake was

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

not all the way around the foot path

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

at night
the lake is probably
there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

on a poster
faded
possible
birds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in spring
a coating
of hypothetical
trees
and you sigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

there’s a bench
on a tongue of earth

 

is that closer
to the water

 

or?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

that tongue of soil grass and trees pointing to where the geese feed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lickable
by a tongue
of land

 

the wet half
of the lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

on 3 sides cultured

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

close to the lake
furrows enlarge
its shape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dirt-snakes
headless

 

that’s
the furrows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the old ruin
bricks
on
bricks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

if my navel
was an eye

 

it would see
only bricks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

meandering

 

the foot path
for people

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

see
the sun
‘s smaller

 

than
the lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

throw a stone
into the lake
where the sun is

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

on the far side
your shadow will lie
on the lake

 

dry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

look at them
they’re light-proof
the coots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the wooden remains
of a house
up through it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

under the clouds
a lakeful
of waves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a tooth more or less
that which makes up
a lake
doesn’t care

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

unleaving your mark
the bench by the reeds
sees you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

perhaps you’re a cloud
you think of buying
new shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in a dream
there’s water
and then
there’s water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cleaning ink pens
you listen
to the drain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lake I could draw you with water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a drop of ink in the water
the opposite
works too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

there
and
there

 

vanishing
points

 

around
the lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

no matter how hard you look
no place
for a straight line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

leave it as it is
is action
too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sometimes
it’s everything

 

tinnitus
and
lake

 

and
the missing
teeth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

that blue pill an echo of the lake?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

take that
the pill not
the lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

between the ruin and the holy hill a lake again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

you put your tongue out
not the earthen one
and stand upright

 

the lake greets you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the man with the dog
you without one
under trees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

warm enough to wear Ozaki’s hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

varmt nok til at bære Ozaki’s hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

otata
appears at the end of the month.
Address correspondence to —
otatahaiku@gmail.com

may, 2016

otata 5

Quindici haijin italiani

Fifteen Italian Haiku poets

Andrea Cecon,  Angiola Inglese, Antonio Mangiameli, Francesco De Sabata, Gabriele Stella, Giacomo Vit, Leonardo Lazzari, Luca Cenisi, Marco Riccardi, Maria Teresa Piras, Marina Bellini, Maurizio Arena, Nazarena Rampini, Pasquale Asprea, Pietro Tartamella

tokonoma

IL MISTERO C’È, è in noi. Basta non dimenticarcene. Il mistero c’è, e col mistero, di pari passo, las misure; ma non la misura del mistero, cosa umanamente insensata; ma di qualche cosa che in un certo senso al mistero s’opponga, pure essendone per noi la manifestazione più alta: questo mondo terreno considerato come continua invenzione dell’uomo. Il punto d’appoggio sarà il mistero, e mistero è il soffio che circola in noi e ci anima; ma noi siamo portati a preoccuparci di quegli sviluppi che dànno situazione magari a un albero in un paesaggio; di quella trama di rapporti che non tollera spostamenti se non subendo un cambiamento di carattere. Perciò per noi l’arte avrà sempre un fondamento di predestinazione e di naturalezza; ma insieme avrà un carattere razionale, ammesse tutte le probabiltà e le complicazioni del calcolo: se avessi quattro invece di tre elementi, se capovolgessi l’ordine, se soffiasse un gran vento, ecc. … e se avessi un quinto fattore, succederebbe… in finimondo, forse; ma resteremmo sempre in un campo di precisioni inesorabili.

 

 

THERE’S THE MYSTERY — it’s in us. It’s enough not to forget this. There is the mystery, and with the mystery, together, the measure; but not the measure of mystery, a humanly insensible thing; but such a thing that in a certain sense opposes itself to the mystery, for us the highest manifestation: this earthy world considered as a continuous fiction of human being. Our foothold will be this mystery, and this mystery the breath that circulates in us and animates us; but we are inclined to worry about those developments that place a tree in a landscape; of that web of relations that can’t be changed without undergoing a change of character. Therefore art for us will always have an element of predestination and naturalness; but also a rational character, admitting all the probabilities and complexities of calculus: if I have four instead of three elements, if I invert the order, if a great wind blows, etc, … and if I have a fifth factor, such would happen… pandemonium, perhaps, but we would always reside in a field of inexorable precision.

Giuseppe Ungaretti, Ragioni d’una poesia
Translation, JM

 

 

Ξ 

 

 

Andrea Cecon

 
 

un rintocco striscia nella nebbia l’orizzonte di Kiev
fine autunno nel silenzio in giardino l’altalena

a ringing crawls through the fog on Kiev’s horizon
autumns end in the garden swing’s silence

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Angiola Inglese

 

 

 

carta increspata –
s’illumina di luna
un papavero

 

corrugated paper —
a poppy lit up
by the moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nuvole scure –
una viola e la luna
nella pozzanghera

 

dark clouds
a violet and the moon
in the puddle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

la ragnatela –
sull’intrico di rovi
vento d’inverno

a web
in a tangle of thorns
winter wind

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Antonio Mangiameli

 

 

 

un temporale –
il canto dell’assiolo
si sente appena

 

a storm —
one scarcely hears
the horned owl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

un cerchio d’ombra –
i rami intrecciati
dell’oleandro

 

a circle of shade —
the tangled branches
of oleander

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

il vento forte –
assieme alle foglie
una farfalla

 

the strong wind —
a butterfly together
with the leaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Francesco De Sabata

 

 

 

lattina vuota
solo una vespa ronza
intrappolata

 

empty beer can –
a wasp’s buzzing
trapped inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

orme – la neve
ricorda il nostro incontro
scende la sera

 

footprints —
the snow remembers our meeting
evening falls

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Gabriele Stella

 

 

 

neve sui monti –
si nasconde alla vista
il biancospino

 

clouds on the mountains —
the hawthorn
hidden from view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lunghe radici
ondeggiano nel guado –
a piedi nudi

 

long roots
rippling in the ford
bare feet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iris negli occhi –
nubi s’accavallano
sul primo sole

 

iris of the eyes
clouds crossing
the first sun

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Giacomo Vit

 

 

 

Bianca ferita
nell’inverno indugiante
la margherita.

 

wounded whiteness
indulgent in winter
marguerites

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cicala spiega
sul verde meridiano
crotalo d’aria.

 

cicada explains
the green meridian —
air’s rattlesnake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cani randagi-
per chi cerca carezze
alta è la neve.

 

stray dogs
for those seeking caresses
deep snow

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Leonardo Lazzari

 

 

 

Soffio di vento –
sull’asfalto due foglie
si rincorrono

 

a breeze —
two leaves chase each other
on the asphalt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stelle cadenti
o fuochi d’artificio? –
Notte d’agosto

 

falling stars
or human fires?—
august night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quadro di giugno –
la luna incorniciata
dalla finestra

 

a painting of June —
the moon framed
in a window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gatto randagio –
tutta la sua attenzione
su una farfalla

 

stray cat
all your attention
on a butterfly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salici in fila –
una foglia sull’acqua
non fa rumore

 

a row of willows
a leaf on the water
noiseless

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pioggia autunnale –
le gocce gareggiano
sulla finestra

 

autumn rain
the drops compete
on the window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melodia nota –
sul fuoco lo scoppiettio
di caldarroste

 

a well-known melody —
chestnuts
crackling on the fire

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Luca Cenisi

 

 

 

Stagno notturno —
un’anatra attraversa
la luna piena

 

night pond
a duck crosses
the full moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aggrovigliato tra i denti del pettine sole di maggio

 

tangled in the teeth of a comb may sun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neve tardiva –
un bambino impara i fiori
dal suo tablet

 

late snow —
a boy learns the flowers
from his tablet

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Marco Riccardi

 

 

 

Asfalto grigio –
blu non ti scordar di me
tingono il ciglio

 

Grey asphalt –
blue forget-me-nots
dye the edge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riparte il treno –
anche questo diventa
flusso del vento

 

the train departs
this too becomes
a movement of wind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ora di punta –
la folla di eremiti
con gli occhi altrove

 

rush hour —
a crowd of hermits
with their eyes elsewhere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Il vento fischia
e fa cadere gli alberi
dentro il mio sogno

 

Wind whistle –
trees are falling
into my dream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Il tuo russare
mentre veglio il tuo sonno –
il tempo scorre

 

Your snoring
while I watch your sleep –
time flows

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Maria Teresa Piras

 

 

 

primo dell’anno –
profuma di limoni
la neve fresca

 

first of the year
the perfume of lemons
new snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

refolo estivo –
si sfogliano i gerani
sul davanzale

 

summer gust —
the geraniums drop their leaves
on the sill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

il lume acceso –
fuori dalla finestra
scorre l’autunno

 

the lamp lit —
outside the window
autumn’s flow

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Marina Bellini

 

 

 

(poems in English)

 

Easter Mass –
the clop clop of a horse
along the canal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

forest bathing –
a weightless feather falls
before me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the grass is tall –
villagers forage for nettles
and wild asparagus

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Maurizio Arena

 

 

 

(durante la festa di Hanami in Giappone)
(during the Hanami festival in Japan)

a primavera
i fiori di ciliegio
volano via!

spring
the cherry blossoms
take flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

soffia il vento
i giovani sakura
cadono lievi

 

a breath of wind
the young cherry blossoms
fall lightly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

giorno di festa
tra i ciliegi in fiore
a bere sakè

 

festival day
to drink sake below
flowering cherry trees

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Nazarena Rampini

 

 

 

Pioggia di maggio –
il suono del torrente
riempie il greto

 

May rain —
the torrent’s sound
fills the pebbly shore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Già primavera –
vola via una farfalla
dai panni stesi

 

Already spring —
a butterfly flies from the clothes
hung out to dry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schiarisce il cielo –
riflesso di un airone
nella risaia

 

the sky clears —
a heron’s reflection
in the paddy

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Pasquale Asprea

 

 

 

Piccoli insetti nell’erba sovraccarica una speranza

(ispirato dal 5° anniversario del disastro di Fukushima)

 

tiny insects in the grass a hope overloaded

(inspired by the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruma serale –
il canto di uccelli
invisibili

 

evening mist —
the bird songs
invisible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piccoli mondi
chiusi nella corolla
di un crisantemo

 

little worlds
shut in a mum’s
corolla

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

Pietro Tartamella

 

 

 

(traduzioni Antonella Filippi)
(translations by Antonella Filippi)

 

fa freddo ormai
e ancora cammino
con scarpe estive

 

it’s cold, now
and still I walk
with summer shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rondine in cielo
il suono dei bicchieri
che si toccano

 

a swallow in the sky
the sound of glasses
tinkling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

otata
appears at the end of the month.
Address correspondence to —
otatahaiku@gmail.com

April, 2016

otata 4

Hansha Teki, vincent tripi, Jeanne Martin, Guliz Vural, Alan Summers, Tom Montag, Shloka Shankar, Helen Buckingham, Chad Robinson, Aditya Bahl, David J. Kelly, Kim Dorman, F.J. Seligson

F.J. Seligson on Ed Baker

 

 

tokonoma

KUBLAI: I do not know when you have had time to visit all the countries you describe to me. It seems to me you have never moved from this garden.

POLO: Everything I see and do assumes meaning in a mental space where the same calm reigns as here, the same penumbra, the same silence streaked by the rustling of leaves.At the moment when I concentrate and reflect, I find myself again, always, in this garden, at this hour of the evening…

                                                                                      — Calvino, Invisible Cities (trans. William Weaver)

 

Ξ 
 

 

Hansha Teki

 
 

a moth enters my waiting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

without cause
the sound of water . . .
just the words

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

loneliness nestles into listening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in silence
a new moon’s
echolalia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

skylark song
gone now – a bird
unburdened

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

 

vincent tripi

 

never
just one wildflower
meditation spot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

how roadrunner
how can you possibly?
no path

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the chickadee calls the
chickadee who call to chickadee
to call to

 

 

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

 

Jeanne Martin

 

one last ride…
the train whistle
whistles again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

all that we know
is all that we know
spring rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

summer solstice
all night moonlight
inside the house

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ξ 
 

 

 

 

 

Alan Summers

 

shadows that don’t daffodils belong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sun off stubble a train in its landscape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

call of geese the heart I eat inside

 

 

 

Ξ 

 

 

 

 

Tom Montag

 

And weeds poking through snow.
We cannot know their code.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawk at its watch.
Just enough is patience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not to be of use,
the poet;

like the crow,
to be of wind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crow
has nothing
to tell me —

it only
looks

that way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing. Again nothing.
What are the odds of that?

 

 

 

Ξ 

 

 

 

 

Shloka Shankar

 

second-guessing itself a nightgown billows in the breeze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

as an aside i shape-shift into a key

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the sheen on an orange rind negative capability

 

 

 

Ξ 

 

 

 

 

Helen Buckingham

 

arterial road
blocked
with snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jaw
dropping
eclipse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

heads crack
together…
the beautiful game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sweatshop city
working the red carpet
she extends a gloved hand

 

 

 

Ξ 

 

 

 

 

Chad Robinson

 

prickly pear——
you wake up in
yesterday’s clothes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

prickly pear every weapon drawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

yellow flowers
of the prickly pear——
we choose a china pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

late tomatoes
the scarecrow slips deeper
into its waistline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

what
rubs off
wild apple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

clocks turned back in bed we curl up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blizzard wind——
trying to fold
a fitted sheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a pine cone
a music box
ballerina

 

 

 

Ξ 

 

 

 

 

Aditya Bahl

 

   gathered
at the shrine gate
counterfeit crocs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

eat
pray
love
xerox

 

 

 

Ξ 

 

 

 

 

David J. Kelly

 

Quattro Stagioni

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

searing until midday’s madness ends rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and under this unblinking moon narcolepsy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

winding into nothingness the earth’s return

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

such perfect renaissance in natural greens

 

 

 

Ξ 

 

Kim Dorman

 

 

 

After Sankara

 

 

Ignorance
is darkness.

 

Knowledge
is like the sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ignorance
is a bad dream.

 

Wake up–
it’s gone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words are
bubbles.

 

They vanish
in the Real.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winnow grain
from chaff.

 

using Reason.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowledge
is freedom

 

but no cooking
without fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real doesn’t
depend on anything–

 

light doesn’t need
another light!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine searching
for a lost necklace,

 

one you were wearing
all the time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagine it’s dusk & you
see a snake

 

that’s only a rope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whoever knows the Real
is like a caterpillar

 

become a butterfly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whoever knows the real
is like a flame

 

inside a lamp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whoever knows the Real
is unattached

 

like the wind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At one with Reality,
he or she

 

is like water in water,
air in air,

 

light in light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is nothing left
to do, nothing

 

more to know.
No greater happiness

 

than this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything is filled
with That.

 

Every action shows only
That. Shining.

 

it makes the world
shine.

 

 

 

 

 

¤

 

 

 

 

Skipping stones. Midsummer.
A shower before the dance.

 

Boys snapping towels. Nervous.

 

The Yardbirds on a transistor radio.
Scent of Jade East.

 

It’s almost time. Sunset

 

 

 

Ξ 

 

 

 

 

F.J. Seligson

 

Before

     the

               leaf,

 

                    one

                         white

 

                              blossom

 

opens

 

 

 

 

JOY AND PEACE FOR ED BAKER (1941-2016)

The poet Ed Baker passed away on March 29 at 12:30 am after living 73 robust winters. He has given to the earth new energies and offered to human beings new sounds and colors, meanings. Google his name, with poetry after – and you will discover only one Ed Baker fitting that accurate description. He was as much as an accomplished painter as a poet, maybe more, although he didn’t offer either for fame or profit. He was content to work at his word-man-ship, drawings and colorings day after day for decades, aiming for the perfection of expression and his favorite subject: love for a woman. Not an unusual topic, yet his approach and characterization were unique fine, alive, even glorious.
Cid Corman introduced me to Ed in an affectionate 1975 letter from Kyoto and John Martone introduced me to Ed in Washington D.C. near the Washington, Monument around 2000. He was driving an old pickup truck and wore a baseball cap over his bald head, magnifying his fluffy white beard. That was the real start of our friendship. After that, whenever I was in Washington, D.C., on three occasions, I would stay with Ed in his antique house on Flower Avenue in Takoma Park, Maryland. His son lived on the 3rd floor and his daughter in the basement apartment. He occupied ground level rooms, sharing the dining room and kitchen. He was a deeply caring man toward his grown children, a father and a mother, too, for he even cooked for them. I never heard him raise his voice or utter an inconsiderate word toward them, and they I saw could live comfortably and quietly with him, despite all the eccentricities of a painter and a poet, without which there would be no art, but rather the commonplace.
Ed earned a MFA in creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University in 1973, specializing in poetry. Already his work was exceptional, reminding me of Ezra Pound, as in Ed’s poem, Hydra, in his book BUTCHER OF OXEN and other poems (1970):
Hydra
 I think about the great river:
forgetting the sun  I suffer the sun
with birds that drink at the edge
with men who cast their nets.
They came as I was gazing at that sun
dressed
I tell you    dressed in white
as I was gazing at that other continent.
Great stones in the hills mark the dead; it is almost impossible to remember
other Greeks
fire
That burned along the shore
Or on the point
Marking midnight            marking nights
that flooded the earth with stars
When ships came,
                                                 And they were good ships
their men             strong men
whose beads made the seasons
whose eyes went straight
guided by stars
that knew where they were.
I think about the river flowing
                                                                like the blood of men
like the blood of men who have known
their fears
& cast their nets into the morning sun.
However, after his divorce, in order to support his children he spent much of the next two decades working at house restoration, some of that experience recorded in Restoration Poems and Restoration Letters exchanged with his mentor Cid Corman, who resided in Kyoto. While restoring houses he was also in process of restoring his own life.
Besides watercolor and oil paintings, examples of which lined the walls of his house, he did abstract wood sculptures. It was one day about 10 years ago that I received word that “Ed had a stroke.” When visiting him last summer, 2016, he told me, “I was working outside under the hot sun, but I wanted to keep going on the sculpture, then it hit me and I was unconscious in the yard.” He survived and recovered almost completely save for high blood pressure for which he took medication. In the winter of 2015 I heard that he has suffered another stroke, and a couple months after his son notified me that he was in the hospital, where not long after his heart gave out. 
And a strong and vigorous heart it had been. After his first stroke he worked at recovery by competing in several marathons, even triathlons. But his greatest marathons had been in writing hundreds of outstanding short poems and illustrating them immaculately. Here are some examples:
He had an entire shelf full of his illustrations in carefully dated notebooks. All of his book shelves which filled two rooms were neatly arranged and filled with the classics of modern poetry and spiritual studies as well. Whenever I’d visit he’d conduct an on-going poetry workshop for me: laying before me piles of his own work, like the monumental Stone Girl E-pic, to peruse as well as well as the works of North American poets I didn’t know at all or at least not very well but who I should know, like Irving Layton, and Carl Rakosi. Poetry and painting were his life and he happily shared it with me. Had he been more ambitious his work would have been more widely known and appreciated, but it’s not too late.
Here is an example of his love poems for Fay Ling, from The City (1974)
Tonight,
the still slow war
has gotten beyond me
I imagine yellow flowers
growing
on the wall
A girl in a dress
I have not seen her wear
before
her loose movement
in a wet dress
as she went up
houston street
These are examples of Ed short poems, and his particular sense of humor, influenced by his  correspondence with Cid Corman and others of Cid’s  school:
…. Sometimes
being myself
Isn’t so easy
…..
butterfly
wrapping 
me
around
her
finger
(in Postcards from Myou, 2000)
Within and without
same 
red tulip.
(from Things Just Come Through, 2004)
Purple
blossom
just
here
just
hear
just
her
The last night I was in Washington I was walking back to dine and sleep as his guest by  old two-story houses along Flower Avenue when the short grass lit up with a glow my feet, and then again here and there in other yards.  They created briefly a yellow softness, silent and unspoiled.  How many millions of years had the fireflies, “lightning bugs” we Washingtonians called them, been lighting up the plants at night? It seemed to me the most beautifully sublime sight I had ever seen – so silent and gentle, oblivious that this was a dangerous place to be for us humans walking at night. For them life went on in its eternal beauty.  I wish the same for Ed’s soul.
                ~Fred Jeremy Seligson, April 9th, 2016, Seoul

 

otata appears
at the end of each month.
Direct correspondence to John Martone atotatahaiku@gmail.com