Questions to ask yourself in the spring:
How high is blue?
Why is why?
If never, then what?
Was it ever spread so thin?
With wings, is it necessary?
Are the complete works complete?
If you turned around, would it be there?
Are we all remembering the same planet?
begins a new
why not only yes
Night after night this week I’ve lain in bed listening to the downpour, night after night the downspouts shake and the aluminum chimney sings and the roof holds up delightfully under the battering. By day my intestines are uneasy, I’m lonely in a shivering kind of way, and I worry about everything, more or less, that anyone in the world has ever worried about, but by night I have the rain to think about and the rain is always enough and always has been. I dreamed one night that I went out for a walk in it and got wet and cold, but when I woke up I was warm and dry, which is a normal way to feel in the morning but it felt extraordinary. The thing about rain is that no matter how many times it happens it seems like a miraculous phenomenon, or maybe that’s just me. I’m easily surprised and thrilled. I’m easily distressed and alarmed. In the middle is not a place I often am. Here I am in my forty-seventh year and I can’t locate the middle, though possibly I’m getting closer and just can’t tell because it’s a labyrinth and I can’t see over the walls and it’s raining so hard that I can’t hear the minotaur roaring.
spring rain it will probably be poetry when it’s over
It’s the edge of spring, the sky is suddenly, somehow, much bigger, and the construction crane that perennially looms over the place I work begins to swing. I’ve never seen anything non-sentient move so lightheartedly. Halfway through its arc a flock of birds appears from somewhere else in the cloudless sky and begins to dance with the machine. These are the kinds of things that happen after you decide you’re glad that you’re alive.
…..and out of
Prose: here, now. Haiku: DailyHaiku, Cycle 11, May 29, 2011.
The man on the giant wheel, using his body to propel it down the street, pauses for two small girls to lie down in his path, narrowing their already small bodies to fit between the wheel’s two rims. Behind him the stilt walkers are growing restless. Finally, casually, silently, the great wheel runs the children over. They scramble to their feet and scatter while the monstrous legs forge forward. Unconsciously we all assess our own size, unsure, suddenly, whether or not we’re appropriate.
with no evidence
of my innocence
(prose: here, now. haiku: Frogpond 37.1)
I went to Mineral Point to the Cradle of American Haiku conference (version 4.0) last weekend and that was fun. Okay, fun is really the wrong word. There is no place like that place in the whole entire world and there are no people like the people that come to that place to talk about writing haiku and sometimes even to write it. They’re my people. I don’t have much family around here but when I go there I have the same feeling I do when I walk into a large room full of people I’m related to. I know them and they know me and there’s hugging and that weird kind of tug, that gravitational pull, that I always assumed was DNA-related but is apparently not. I’m not really sure what I would do if I didn’t live near Mineral Point. It seems unutterably sad to think about, so I won’t.
There is probably no other place on the planet, for instance, where you could get three dozen people together in a room to attend a workshop on writing haibun, which is an art form that probably not significantly more than three dozen people in the English-speaking world have even heard of. Okay, I’m totally exaggerating, but not that much. There are probably more English-speaking people who haven’t heard of Kim Kardashian than have heard of haibun. (I’m sorry to bring up Kim Kardashian in this space. I won’t do it again.)
As I was saying. I went to Mineral Point and conducted a workshop on writing haibun, which made me feel a little bit like a little girl wearing her father’s cowboy boots, but it seemed to go okay. We talked a lot about the link between prose and haiku in haibun, which I have discovered in the past is something that haiku poets can talk about more or less forever with apparent interest. Connection. We’re totally into it. Then we did a little exercise and wrote a little haibun. I gave the attendees a total of twenty minutes to write and was stunned to discover that most of them seem to have written a complete haibun in that time. What are they, wizards? It takes me months, sometimes. Some of them read what they’d written aloud, one minute after writing it, and it was beautiful, startling, like watching a bird hatch and dry and become itself.
I could say a lot more about Mineral Point and I probably will, but I feel I should return now to what really should be my regularly-scheduled programming, which is thinking and writing about how wild and difficult and stunning everything is, in and out of my brain.
back in the river we deepen it
spring dream the shape of an egg-shaped rock
spring light we argue about underwater
in my next life something smaller spring rain
What am I doing lately? What, you mean besides calling in sick to work (because I was sick, don’t get any ideas) and sitting on my couch watching endless episodes of sitcoms on Netflix? Yeah, I wish I could say that I spend all my time engaged in high-toned cultural activities and churning out creative works, but no. Sometimes I like to rot my brain like everyone else. It’s the American way.
However, I did get a package in the mail lately from an Internet retailer that doesn’t need any more free advertising, containing these books, so they’ll probably be getting a look-in soon (you know, as soon as I’m done with the pressing task of finishing the first season of “How I Met Your Mother”):
And also I’ve been enjoying viewing and contributing to Aubrie Cox’s annual Doodleku festival over at Yay Words!, this year in glorious color.
And also also I had a longer poem from one of my recent posts published over at Red Wolf Journal, whose current issue is concerned with “The Art of Habitation.”
And also, also, also, the latest issue of Haibun Today features a very thoughtful and insightful commentary by Rich Youmans on my haibun “The Shape of Water.” I think it’s quite likely that Rich understands this haibun better than I do, which doesn’t surprise me at all — sometimes I wonder if I have the faintest idea what I’m doing when I write. (This issue of HT also features a lot of great haibun by people who are not me, because I need to get cracking.)
I’ll be back tomorrow with your polar vortex poems. I’m pleased to report that writing poetry about it seems to have driven the polar vortex away and I’m hoping that this time it will stay in the actual polar region. 41 degrees today! I went out today without a coat (please, who needs a coat when it’s above freezing?) and tried to chip some of the ice off my driveway, but winter laughed at me. There’s like three inches of ice, it’s not going anywhere until actual spring arrives, wearing a jaunty hat and promising to stay forever. The lying tramp.
early spring sun I grate him finer and finer
at the beginning
it all repeats
in your hands dust
and pollen both
alive and dead
to hear the first
we take off our seatbelts and merge
spring rain backwards until the beginning
some of you in
some of me
autumn rain preparing the palimpsest
forgot water could be so heavy winter rain
credits: spring rain, Modern Haiku 42.3; summer rain, Frogpond 35.1; autumn rain, Modern Haiku 43.1; winter rain, bottle rockets 26
(Artwork: Rick Daddario, 19 Planets)
a pile of rusted nails
on the workbench
(Artwork by Rick Daddario, 19 Planets)
three or four gumballs
in my pockets
eventually it will come