slanted sunlight

Maybe you’ve noticed or maybe you haven’t that fewer haiku tend to be written about the summer than about any other season. (I have absolutely no hard data to support this conclusion. But I’ve got a whole theory about it, so work with me here.)

I mentioned this to a friend who is just becoming familiar with haiku.

— Autumn, I told him, that’s the haiku season. It’s more wabi-sabi. [Insert whole discussion about wabi-sabi.]

— Fine, he said, wabi-sabi away, but why autumn? Think outside the box here. Why can’t you be all imperfect and melancholic in the summer?

— Um, because it’s too sunny, I said. People are all warm and happy in the summer. They’re going to the beach, having barbecues. Nothing is dying. There’s nothing to be wistful about.

— Aha (he said triumphantly). But that makes the wistfulness more ironic and unexpected. It’s more interesting that way. You should write more haiku about the summer.

Hmmm. I suppose I should.

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summer night
a gunshot separates
light from dark

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the surgeon questions
my need to be awake —
summer downpour

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slanted sunlight…
I say “I do”
in divorce court

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glaring sun ::
his flawed logic
convinces me

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across the lawn
a hose stretched taut–
summer dusk

..

a room full of mosquitoes in and out of love

.

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…and change

Bonfire

Before I even get to the party everyone there knows I’m getting divorced, so I don’t have to tell anyone or pretend to be happier or saner than I actually am. This is what gossip is good for, I think, drinking my third glass of wine. I don’t think I’ve ever had a third glass of wine in my life. Someone tells me, “All change is for the better.” Yes, yes, I think, sipping wine and eyeing the chocolate, tell it to the dinosaurs.

New Year’s bonfire
stories of what we lost
this year

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_______________________________________________________________________________________

Dear friends,

2011 was hard for me. 2012 may well be harder. I’m not sure how I would be surviving without poetry, or without all of you. I’m glad I don’t have to.

Things change. And I don’t like that. I cling to the driftwood of sameness until it’s carried me so far out to sea I’ve forgotten where I came from and where I wanted to go, until the wood disintegrates and I’m left holding only splinters. And then, forced to let go and swim, I flail the way an inexperienced swimmer flails in the cold waves of the sea, not knowing that letting the wave wash over you — carry you — expends less energy and is less likely to get you drowned.

One of my resolutions for 2012 is to let those variable waves carry me and see where I get. I suspect I’ll spend some time in the deep ocean, cold and frightened, not sure how to get back. Treading water might be the best I can do for a while. But inevitably, the tide turns; salt water is easy to float in; and it seems likely that I’ll make it back eventually to some kind of solid land. Maybe not the same land I started out from. Maybe a better land, maybe worse; almost certainly survivable. And there will be poetry there and there will be friends. Possibly there will even be extended, strained metaphors. You never know.

Happy New Year, friends. And thank you for everything.

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so I start thinking
about the next thing I’ll be…
all day the scent
of pine sap I can’t scrub
from my fingers

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