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




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









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







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







Stephen Toft




staring into a ditch…
winter stars







Elmedin Kadric




the stars the breeze our handouts













thistle seeds
an undisclosed
sum of money













because she said so persimmons













a penniless













one foot ahead of the other ant







Christina Sng




forest cottage
a fawn wanders into
the living room













interconnected the snow and I













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
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













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















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















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







Don Wentworth




need pulling
up one last time
his socks













purple iris
bending as it blooms
employee handbook













not polishing his shoes













rehearsing satori mockingbird moments













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







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.







Malintha Perera




to whom
to tell
wild blossoms













violets and lilies
how many more lives













not caring
       where I come from
              white blossoms







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















each week with a quarter turn
at the eastern window the


jade tree pivots slow
dancer balanced


on the braided













sky darkens
with approaching
rain matrix of
bird’s songs


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
off   !


laugh to
hear our
words sing

















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


in the cold
old older









Kim Dorman




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















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.















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

One thought on “july, 2016

  1. Thank you again, John! I am honored to be in the company of these masterful short form poets.




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