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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Simon Perchik -------- five poems

East Hampton, NY  11937

Even the colors are anxious, carried
as if its new home above ground
would skimp the way all rows use dirt

cut in two with nothing in between
–you suddenly bring it a darkness
use one hand to comfort the other

though you’ve done all this before
have no faith in mornings :clumps
that want only to forget, just lie still

holding one end close, for a long time
sorted out and unfamiliar fields
taken place to place in flowers

in ribbons, string, thread, something
feeble, tied to the dissolving Earth
by this shadow and your arms.

As if the paint poured across
could stave off rot, circle down
though this gate heads back

once it leaves your arms –by itself
whitening the trees already stone
certain you will come here forever

bring twigs, let them sweeten
soften on the ground you bite into
struggling to float, unable to breathe

or unfasten her skirt –your mouth
oozing the way mornings arrive
to dry, kept moist by these dead

and berries dressed as roots and grass
surrounded, filled with the taste
from her eyelids not yet flowers.

This rotted log yes and no
longs for the stillness
that is not wood though you

are already inside, seated
at a table, a lamp, clinging
the way all light arrives alone

except for the enormous jaws
once shoreline closing in
without water or suddenness

–you lay down a small thing
and the Earth is surrounded, fed
slowly forehead to forehead again.

You reach for lullabies, left over
and the slow crawl half whispers
half where your lips ache, float

the way this empty cup still wobbles
will break apart, overloaded
disguised as two steps closer and alone

then fill your arms with its darkness
seeping through, breathing out
not yet an embrace, not yet the mouth

where your fingers end, surrounded
by more and more dirt, a small room
here, there, there, not yet asleep.

It’s never dry –another gust
though this elevator is carried
the way you count backward

for hours and the door flies open
lets in a sea half hillside
half rising through the floor

–you walk in to sleep, begin
with the sound sand makes
when scattered for footprints

still following the silence
between 10, then 0, pressed
against your face –tides

are used to this, start out
to forgive, then lay down
as emptiness and a home.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Andrena Zawinski ------- Three Haibun

Singing Bird Haibun
“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, 
and the grass grows by itself.” Basho

It is not a steely-eyed egret nor heft of pelican but just a singing bird that catches my fancy 
from a balcony perched across from pines lining the marina. Here I make watch of another 
shifting sky, distant buoy sounding swells in the bay, common robin chiming in on the wind.

resting in my palm 
it might pulse at the heart line
practice its pitch

But this bird makes its roost in the forked trunk, where branches droop heavy with cones. 
Like this robin, I try to perfect a voice in the intimate language of birds, call back at it, 
parroting the rise and fall of its wistful warbling, practicing the melodic whistling.

the robin carols
in a cathedral of pine
all feather and trill

Everything readies for something - above, wide wings of dark crows fan the horizon. Below, 
a ray steers clear of a row. A dog splashes into the water, his boy crying for a lost oar. 
Twilight settles on tapping riggings and masts, breeze in the tinny chimes, spring in the song.

the clouds feathering
disappear into sunset
the bird still singing

"Singing Bird" received Tiferet Journal's  1st Place Award in their Carriage House Contest.

 Last Gifts 
 (Haibun for Keiko)
  The truth is not always beautiful, 
  nor beautiful words the truth
  Lao Tzu

She is soon to board the plane for Osaka, and you try to avoid farewells. 
She is returning, after thirty years, to her childhood home to nurse 
the ailing mother--oya koko, filial piety, she reminds with a stern stare. 
Later you will learn the return is really for her own care, these her own 
last days. 

You lop off the American Beauty blooms, plop them into the seamless 
goldfish bowl she brings on her last visit. There is also the single teacup 
whose lip, she says, is delicate as a woman’s kiss. Dressed the way you have
 never seen her before--blue kimono under haori stitched in silver apple blossoms, 
phoenix fan in the pocket--she slips out of the coat, carefully folds and smooths it, 
places it ceremoniously into your outstretched arms.

The roses remain for a time, then spent, wilting petals drop down onto the 
furoshiki square she once wrapped around large bowls of salmon and seaweed
in sweet rice--its slender cranes winging the edges toward some unseen distance. 
The rose scent lingers even as the sight of her begins to dim.

heavens darkening 
a red winged blackbird
blazes skyward like a sword

Nocturnal Haibun

I will think it a pity that you have no way to remember tonight’s play of light, 
when you name was written in green by your beautiful lantern on a girl’s breast.--Kawabata

dancing on night air
luminaries of the dark
in concerts of light

Caravaggio powdered his paint with their iridescence.
In Frost’s garden, they were real stars to fill the skies.
Children contain their flickering dance in Mason jars, 
smear the emerald brilliance around fingers and wrists.
They are Cherokee torches turning dark into starry nights, 
Japanese hotaru of passionate love, Chinese hing hoy 
souls of the dead.

sparks of fireflies 
ignite the night’s shimmering
nocturnal courtship 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mary Lou Nielsen ----- poem sequence

Poems from a Previous Me – 1968
(Thoughts on the War in Vietnam)     Mary Lou Nielsen

Dylan Thomas Breathes Again

Summertime swishes on a bank of dew,
Leaves shiver and quake,
waterfowls live long in a sea of time,
while fishes swim in love.

Tenderness breathes soft with
lips moist and feathery,
the burning tongue, the shivering love,
the desert foam of ages
and the lamp-quick laughter of a demon
beckon to all.

Only windy time now stalks the gardens
of the limitless night sky,
blue and stilled by the emptiness of cold.
The butt end of a burning star lights the sky,
and the gilt-edged fox guards her young
on the silhouette of doom.


Would I, could I, remember truth's eyes
in a vociferous calm resting clear,
Then would I meekly throw to God a piece of
rouletting Jesus asking, Saviour, Saviour,
Wherefore art thou but only dead in a
cheap onslought of vigor,
Chanting rhymes in ogling solitude,
Beating with lung worms cancerous spells
onto unknown gates.

Forgive us for forgetting time's trueness as we do
Forgetting the reality of pain's slanting turgid river,
Flooding onto unknown banks – dying, dying
As soon as moments show clearly the
calcification of our slime.


I will know because only then will I go
To London Town – and break the battering bridge and send it away,
E'er I remember how it once uplifted many kingly days
and burned to the ground thrice o'er.
And I will build a sea of dreams
To swim in madly, whereas the world turns just as mad
And I will build to you the monument of day
And the miracle of night
And show you songs not sung
And you shall tell me of your heaven that you made so mad
What a hasty job that breaks just as hastily
In the fidgeting calm of silence you will see me as I truly am,
And you of the virtuous thorn shall bring me down.

March Blowing in May

Blow winds, you scare me with your whispering car rush,
Your lights which you uncover when the trees bend low –
Low, ye winds, lower yourself to me.
My breath is of thy heart –
Blow, winds, in tornadoes and festoons,
Harlequin swirls of whispering gods nod to passers-by.
We must remember now
In the dawn of early summer,
After the new spring has passed,
Birds no longer twitter and chirp
But are lulled to sleep
In deep, dense jungles of gloating earth.

Three poems ------ Sigrun Susan Lane

The Botanist

From the bus, she bird-walked
the narrow parking strips,
green Edens of wildness,
bent to pick the plants---
stalk, root and flowers
to be pressed between wax,

to be named from Ada Georgia’s Manual of Weeds.
Each specimen labeled, its seed splayed.
She gathered the unwanted,
the uninvited adventurers,
the wanderers, windswept weeds
from overgrown parking strips.

She called them by their common names
and by their Latinate, meadow butter cup, Ranuculus acris,
common chickweed, Stellaria media,
yarrow, Achillea Millefolium,
and mother’s heart, capsella Bursa-pastoris
which grows everywhere.

The pages she gathered
in black notebooks which grew fat
with weeds as she wandered farther
afield and returned triumphant,
her face flushed, her hat askew,
a clutch of bane in her hands.

She found them beautiful,
as she found beauty
in the uninvited and unexpected,
like the errant husband
everyone said should go
but stayed, like the five
children that filled
her noisy messy rooms.

                                                        Sigrun Susan

A logging crew got there first,
found the crumbled wreck.
They left in the pilot’s seat the body
of my father with his broken head,
behind him, my mother
with her last words whispered.

They lifted out the living man
and the living woman,
put them on solid ground,
relayed back for help
for survivors, ambulances
out of Port Angeles.

They heard this machine,
death roaring out of the sky,
destroying all before it---
trees toppled, limbs shirred
and scattered, then the crash---
wings torn off the plane,  
the plane half buried and smoking---
twisted metal wreckage.

This crew had seen bad luck,
a man pinned by a fallen snag,
a choke-chain unset,
a fall from a tree climb, but this—

That night driving home one logger
saw a vision of a plane hurtling down
at him, another dreamed he was the pilot,
another dreamed of falling over and over.
The hurt had cut its way into them,
as it did into tree bark, left it’s scars.

For what they witnessed at the site,
for what they saved,
for what they could not save,
for what they salvaged
and brought out,
Bless them.


I would rise and go there
to see the place
that swallowed them,
where their spirits entered.

Somewhere on that mountain side
stand witnesses- fir, cedar,
hemlock, among salal,
sword fern, gorse and granite.

I would go on foot to find them,
cut my way up through the brush,
listen for the silence
they found that final day.

I could not look before
at the place where the plane fell,
nosed its way to earth to rest,
wings torn from its dragonfly body.

I will not see scars on the trees-
by now the forest has claimed
and covered all. 
The undergrowth filled in---
chokeberry, brambles, fern. 
Wounds healed over, bark
thickened, but scars are deep
and burn under the skin.

But they’re not here.  Restless spirits,
they wait at the crest of the mountain,
or near the river’s mouth
where the stones are polished smooth,
and berries are sweet in the sun,
where the salmon run and the catch is good.