every Christmas

every Christmas.

everyChristmas everyChristmasisthesame lights strung to evade the unavoidable dark, pine sap coating your fingers and the angels and the spun glass balls, paper keeps piling up on the floor and you begin to worry that something is lost beneath it but no matter how hard you look you can’t find anything but boxes with nothing in them and dry pine needles and the day moves toward dark no matter how many lights you light or how many fires you feed with paper and pine needles, thin dissatisfied fires with thin music circling them, and no matter how little you get you can never give away enough to make you feel better about it, and then you remember that something was born.

the morning after
you get what you want 
empty stocking

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calendar time

first snow / the footprints of the neighbors / we've never seen

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first snow
the footprints of the neighbors
we’ve never seen

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So there’s a calendar that has haiku on it. Maybe there’s more than one. The one I know about is published by Snapshot Press and you can find out about it here. It looks really cool but I haven’t actually seen it yet. I plan to order one or two soon though because it contains this haiku of mine. I’ve posted it here before but what the heck. The first snow will probably be showing up sometime soon around here, so it’s timely. Also, I wanted to let you know about the whole calendar thing well in advance of Christmas so you can order some for all the people you normally give fruitcake to. In the interests of world peace and all that.

Incidentally, I based this very loosely on this haiku by Basho:

秋深き 隣は何を  する人ぞ

aki fukaki  tonari wa nani wo  suru hito zo

Deep autumn—
my neighbor,
how does he live, I wonder?

— Basho, tr. R.H. Blyth

(And how I have managed to go so long without finding the Classical Japanese Database from which the transcription and translation above are taken, I have absolutely no idea. Kudos to Carl Johnson for putting this amazing resource together.)

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(nothing I didn’t know)

Maple trees

(Photo: William Warby)

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nothing
I didn’t know
before
maple
after
maple

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Notes from the Gean 3:2, September 2011

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This haiku was also here before, in a slightly different version.

Maple trees are not as ubiquitous here in the Midwest, but in New England, in the fall, it can sometimes feel like the entire world is made of maples. This is not a bad thing. They are blazing and glorious. All summer you hardly notice them, they just blend in with the other trees, but then suddenly, in late September, there they are… maple after maple.

.

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Lunar Rover

Roses outside a window

The craters on the moon, the valleys, the mountains … everything the moon has is higher and wider and deeper than the things we have and this is because the moon has no air, nothing to get in the way of things falling or rising. If only you could breathe there you could grow, you could be a fine seven-foot specimen with an attenuated spine and a pianist’s fingers and delicately pointed ears. You could ride a racehorse forty hands high across the Planitia Descensus just in time to meet two tiny men in wide white suits, flailing along in terror of a fall. You could catch them up joyfully in your arms and set them behind you on your mount, you could take them back to the city you’ve built, full of spires and minarets and elegant hundred-foot lampposts. You could tenderly remove their awkward suits and tell them to breathe, to just try breathing, it’s not so hard once you get the hang of it …

and as a monument to their failure you could erect the tallest grave marker in the city.

summer dusk
the length of a vine
and its shadow

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Contemporary Haibun Online, October 2011

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