Category Archives: Shoebox

all the odds and ends… scraps of scribbles and digressions, unfinished, almost forgotten and without a cycle to belong

Senryu / assorted, (rather silly, some not)

Senryu are meant to be (the more formal, serene and seasonal)Haiku’s sillier cousin and in fact pre-date haiku as a form.

Imagine Japanese folks, centuries ago, I’m getting themselves around the heart with short humorous anecdote and having a good laugh.

photo has nothing to do with the poems but put here because it will make it look more Japanese

Either way, here’s a wee cycle i uncovered in a forgotten shoebox, shared here for your possible bewilderment and amusement.

Written, 2003-4, Olympia, WA (likely)

“Spam – ku”
40 million dollars
again and again
offered from Nigeria

But she told me she’d meet me
At the Thai restaurant
downtown!

I already told you
I love you ~
Can I hang up now?

The dog and I
Shared a dinner
Of tortilla chips and beer

Thinking of Amsterdam,
I slip
on rainy cobblestones

Driving the old, old highway
through Central park
Avoiding all the birds

“Alchemists” poetry accolade from Muriel’s Journey

Poetry Accolade of sorts: Pleased to be on the prize list for a very interesting poetry initiative with roots in Vancouver’s downtown eastside.

I was selected as the “random” prize which i suppose isn’t flowered with prestige but that’s not the reason i write and share poetry anyhow. Thanks to Muriel’s Journey 2021 And Beyond (FB) for including me.

My poem “Alchemists Confer with Hypnotists” (below) comes from my fcked up #MECFS medical journey of conundrums and unintended reinvention which took me around the world seeking ways to re-create neural pathways and myself as an existing sentient creature. The poem will be included in a chapbook and reading at some juncture.

Anyhow, congratulations to those acknowledged, those who write, submit, deal with illness and also to the memory of namesake Muriel and the organizers of the campaign, especially Isabella J Mori.

{The prize booty is stashed in a Canadian bank account for Ichiro for when the opportunity comes for him to visit his ancestral homeland of sorts.}

Poetry is everything, distilled.

A note about Muriel:

“Muriel was a social justice activist, poet, and spoken word artist of Indigenous heritage from the Gitxsan nation’s Owl Clan who spent a lot of time in the Downtown Eastside. In her work, she always explored new ways of expressing herself, always talked and wrote about what’s urgent and important. Her energy was like fireworks, and her hugs legendary.”

bizen yaki kiln, forging clay into treasure
Alchemists Confer with Hypnotists

Varying days
of bliss and malaise
I'm busy these days
chasing dubbies away

When the ache nears 
the break comes and 
light becomes a haze
your soul is so faded,
no hiding, so worn

The alchemists confer 
and deny the hypnotists’
clinical opinions. 
Retorting,
“He simply needs
more magnesium
injected directly into his bones”

The past-life regression
of painters and pirates 
offered no evidence 
only barroom stories when
posted up envisioning
a distant yourself

Generate kinetic watts 
from my broken soul,
frantic heart and coiled brain
anxiety - I've plenty to power
all of Iowa - roller rinks and  all

Please won't you deplete me
save me from me and help me
tell me, to sleep? And you’ll
insist on my compliance, 
fading into ease.

note: dubbies is a Jamaican word for ghosts

Update from Muriel’s Journey selection committee:

Thanks for posting this. The randomness is important. Judging poetry (or anything literature) has an element of personal taste and is, therefore, biased. When we first receive poems, Kyle Hawke and I pre”judge” them so that our judges don’t have to Wade through too many poems. Then we present the three judges with about 30 poems. This year the judges were Heidi Greco , WJ Kehewin , and Gilles Cyrenne . All the poems are judged blind – nobody knows the names of the authors. By introducing a random price we give the chance to someone who might have otherwise fallen through the cracks. So far, by chance, all the random prizes went to poets who were already in the preselection.

poem: Leaving Saskatoon

wrote a poem (in reply to the great singer songwriter Hawksley Workman who’s playing in #Saskatoon tonight)

boarding pass leaving Saskatoon to Calgary and onwards to Vancouver and Eugene Oregon as an infant (allegedly 10 days old)
Saskatoon
I was born here
but
never lived there (left quickly on a 707)
but
obliged to print on application forms
since–
quite literally hundreds or possibly thousands
there’s never enough room
(especially in Japan)
to write:
b. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Aug, 16 1970

Providence, lost

Sunday, Providence
grey like last week
with my bargain matinee cough syrup nod
candy coated

hold onto my thick head
next wave goes to mars
next even further
watch the clothes spin
in their fluff and dried
nebulae

i’ve tried it all on bended knees
but i’ll just think here and sit about
lost months and misplaced friends
haggard days and ice cream cones

i’ll stand here
holding nothing
try to think
how i got here
then figure where i am

i’ll stand a shady place
counting nickels

and happenstance
empty out my pockets
on the ground
you can’t trade lint
for bread and cheese

“it’s cloudier now than
its been for years”

i’ve spent days moving quickly
years dreaming loosely
and hours watching patiently
and weeks muddling and fidgeting

for the moment that is now
elsewhere
and sometime long before

  • From a lost and found journal) + for John Low on the couch { who says, “Evocative. Took me back. Rich, forlorn, our Providence, your Providence”
  • photo accompanying is desk at Koizumi Yakumo / Lafcadio Hearn’s home/museum in Matsue – there’s a pretty good chance I am him reincarnated

Postal wormholes to elsewhere #haiku 

Bend paper to find
Shortest distance between points
Or apply a stamp

{for Amber}

Haiku – *unconfidential* kokoro postcard (variations)

Often, a poem comes out fully-formed, fiddling and remixing only dulls the knife, sometimes however, variations are eager to come out to shine light in another corner: Lonely, Joyful, Melancholy, Mysterious.

In this case, (my) familiar themes of un-confidential love letters on postcards mailed from foreign places and glanced by – or maybe sadly not glanced – by personnel along the way who (may) add their pathos to the journey. 

One version of this (do you care to guess which?) will go on the reverse of the post box at Farmer Mac’s goat farm – Perhaps another painting will follow… and then a postcard a photograph of the painting mailed to the post box and so on. Always be remixing. 

No pardons for redundancies, variations on a theme require riffs on the same blues.

Do you care to posit which your prefer? 

Annotations: Regarding Japanese-inspired Poetry

Consider the words
Write them once, only –
In a single inky sweep
On tactile paper
Then add a flower
Close the book
For now

&/or do none of the above

(from summer 2018 Moleskine accordion notebook “when everything changed”)

Poem: post office closed (again)

Poem: post office closed (again)

Post office closed
(again)
You’ll need another
day to know
you are loved
by a lost poet
without a watch

Poem: Earliest Recollections (Lansing, MI, 1973 with tornado)

Poem: Earliest Recollections (Lansing, MI, 1973 with tornado)

Lansing Michigan, 1973
eating macaroni & cheese
in a damp basement
while adults whispered
windows shivered
radio crackled

and i wondered why
the tornado was coming

and then my memory began

##

Note:

this is brother Bob’s (straight ahead) birthday March 1973 so i (front right) was 2.5 years old / for years i recalled this photo somehow and then going through my dear late Mom’s slides, found this and *knew it* instantly / that screened in porch, the sun, and everything. 

Aside:

this memory was described elsewhere in a riff…

“A brief stint in Lansing Michigan is where I remember my first thoughts, hunkered in the basement easting macaroni and cheese during a tornado, sitting in a big screened-in porch eating birthday cake with my glasses on.”

Former Child Soldiers #poem

The former child soldiers
Are now working in PR
Trying to convince foreigners
To come here anytime

(Sri Lanka, 2017)