Tag Archives: poem

Poem: Arc my Tongue to Spark

Tinder & Sparks ~ Kindling & Matches
Arc my tongue
Across the 9 volt transistor
To check the spark
Of the over-clocked resistor

Coat hanger antenna wire
To steal shortwave secrets
Bounding off cloudy atmosphere

Compressing continents and time
Learn both codes of phonetic alphabets
Able Baker / Alpha Bravo
Double tap of triggers and tripwires

No confirmations forthcoming
According to the single use
crossword sheet

Connections misplaced, handlers abandoned
No one being run from a park bench
With yesterday’s newspaper folded twice
Dead dropped next to the silver rock

Add the excuses of uncaught trains
Unloose tails, uncoded contraband, dispatches never to be delivered
Despite deliberate intentions

Left for an unsuspecting future operator
finding the signal

Poetry: Reading “Alchemists Confer with Hypnotists” for Muriel’s at Word Vancouver (but from Japan)

I’m reading at this unique & enchanting poetry event. Online & in person in Vancouver as part of 2022 Muriel’s Journey Poetry prize at Word Vancouver..

  • Canada/USA: Sept 17, Saturday, 4-5PM Pacific (7-9PM Eastern)
  • Japan: Sept 18, Sunday, 8-9AM

Tickets are free but you gotta register >> Free tix here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/word-vancouver-2022-festival-tickets-395743488427

Swan’s matches not provided as the reading is remote through ‘warm media’

I’m reading “Alchemists Confer with Hypnotists” / A poem which came out of my long healing ramble.

Update: you can also purchase a book “Fire from the Heart: Winners of the 2022 Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize” (from Azm below or better from your fave bookstores to order from Ingram) featuring the poems of the various award winners, including me.

PS when you buy your copy, let me know and I’ll send you a postcard to say thanks & you can use as a book plate/bookmark.

Please join me and other compelling poets for free hugs & magic. My heart would be so bright knowing you were at the other end of the screen.

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

Museum / Exhibit: Hokusai, print master / Nagano, Japan, 2019 (w/ minor notes)

Blurb: On our meandering adventure of a honeymoon in May-June 2019, we travelled by many means of convenience including a wide variety of trains, rental cars, occasional coach buses and what not. See the whole Shinkonryoko Scrapbook for a mixed-media ephemera overview and a list of places visited for the curious.

Primary aims were to visit friends, stay at all manner of accommodations and see loads of museums, especially, spontaneous, small-ish and quirky if possible.

1 and only 1, snippet of Hokusai museum

As such, in the town of Obuse, Nagano-ken, we made a stop at a museum for the famous print block artist, Hokusai. His name may not be as recognizable as his work (yup, that big wave from the “37 views of Mt Fuji” series) the museum (current exhibit anyhow) didn’t really pack in the well-know pieces but rather focused on his work making soerta pre-cursors to manga comics with endless “clip art” doodles, characters and life shape studies.

The museum wasn’t “photo friendly” (that’s fine) but including a few atmospheric snaps to recall that “yes, we went here”. As usual loaded up at the gift shop (so many postcards and books!). Pardons for underwhelming post (we did get tasty dessert afterwards nearby)

no photos in galleries but evidence we were “there”

Hokusai-kan museum (map): https://goo.gl/maps/cSDGgaN4j2Q4WHpFA

Tip: apparently there is a discount if you are rocking traditional Japanese kimono or jinbei, great!

Continue reading Museum / Exhibit: Hokusai, print master / Nagano, Japan, 2019 (w/ minor notes)

Musing: fires, volcanos, axe handles & cycle of children

This shelf, containing “danger on peaks” was itself dangerous and not aesthetically pleasing so now it is a garden planter box

March 13, 2022: I went to sleep last night – first night without a fire in the stove for some time – on tatami mats reading “Danger on Peaks”, dedicated to Carole, woke up as my Ryoko took little Ichiro to school, recalling Gary writing about being a 63-year-old stepdad taking a 10-year-old to school in the carpool, and thinking of myself at 10 years old on 95th Ave. in Surrey, getting ready for church the Sunday morning when Mt St Helens erupted, remembering the feeling of the unusual rumble (was not an 18 wheeler), and thinking of Gary coming down the mountain as a 13-year-old to learn that Japan was bombed and “nothing will grow there for 70 years“ and how Hiroshima is just down the road from me, indeed wonderful noodles, activists & parks.

Poured fresh French Press coffee, and picked up my robot and read Wang Ping’s remarkable recounting moments with the axe handle, with the boy-now-man (about my vintage) who the axe handle was created with, with the poet (who had been just up the road in Kyoto, probably pass through here at some point), together throwing hatchets into a stump, then into a barn (no food allowed to prevent pests, like my kura), pulling out Ezra Pound and Han Shan, pages falling open to the exact place, and marveling at the un-coincidence of it all. Such treasure.

It’s all about the cycles as Gary said to Lew. Or was that vice versa?

Also, Ichiro – a year and a half old – loves no toy more than the brush and scoop to clean the woodstove & darling Ryoko now has the skill to light the store with a single match with help from my special arts and crafts made from egg cartons, soy paraffin and sawdust learned from my mother, her ashes on the altar.

Hail the fire queens, axe carvers, and pantry mice!

Axe Handles
BY ©1983 GARY SNYDER

One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
"When making an axe handle
                               the pattern is not far off."
And I say this to Kai
"Look: We'll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with—"
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It's in Lu Ji's Wên Fu, fourth century
A.D. "Essay on Literature"-—in the
Preface: "In making the handle
Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand."
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see: Pound was an axe,
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.

“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

“The Present is…” notes and projects around Kura (post box, poems, flower pots)

The present is an unfinished poem ________. Let’s Enjoy! Note: my kura is the official Cascadia Consulate for the Setouchi bio-region.

The other side says “Giggling Piglet Studio”

3 doors, each heavier than the last and each with a specific puzzle key – DO NOT leave the keys inside! The walls are thick earthen plaster and the beams are mighty and olden.

We got plenty of flower pots and fermenting vessels – plus loads of roof tiles, various pavers, bricks, blocks and whatnot. Gonna use a load of this stuff up with making a charcoal kiln, outdoor kitchen space and loads more plants…

Couple of the flower pots hanging on the little bamboo wall for now. Containing flowers not surprisingly. Bit more tidying up with a flag pole and bench to come.

Diary: Really nothing *big* however, life carries on

Feb 10 Great magazine arrived, National Geographic, June 1984 with cover story about trains in India + history of Japan with special map insert >> looking forward to digging in / thanks @hokkaidomarkett (and wonderfully packaged as well).

Also arrived is a lovely postcard from a kindly correspondent showing my old work/hang neighbourhood of Gastown, Vancouver – including the “Hotel Europe” building which i could look into the apartments from my office at Rain City Studios at 1 Alexander and Nelson the Seagull coffee shop (which featured in a Hoot video) – bit of nostalgia from a place i don’t feel much nostalgia about.

Feb 9 I’ve got a (foreign dude) guest coming over, second time in 2 1/2 years… Really he’s coming to borrow some of wife’s tree cutting equipment but I’m going to ask/make him sit down and have a coffee and a conversation. Yes, this means I’ve changed out of pajamas.

Feb 8 Scribbled a freeverse poem for a friend experiencing sad loss in my little bedside notebook “Longer Than we Think“. Here’s the notebook (not the poem)

Feb 7 Took down festive cards from string of honour yesterday and started putting affectionately in an accordion scrapbook.

The arrival of a bushel of new “not particularly festive“ correspondence prompted the freshening up including: a wedding announcement from Idaho: hummingbirds from Vancouver: ephemera from California: gracious wisdom from Austin: and a new friend from Kolkata.

Still having a hard time rallying up to do anything, yesterday putzed around outside a little bit to spark some energy but wiped me out.

So many tasks on my list, some of them quite pleasant and can be done indoors however in bedlock brainfog crash mode #mecfs

(oh here’s + yesterday lunch)

Feb 6 (Still) making a sign post for the yard here at “Tsuchida Station” in Okayama / Sparks memories for me plus will be fun geography lesson for the local kids maybe. Added some clear coat (with bits of paper and cardboard stuck to it). Of course each sign location has a whole story behind it (and distance is to a very specific point).

While the sign post isn’t finished yet but starting part two for signs to: Moab in memory of a great land surveyor: Dubai to honour of special child/parents; & to Providence for memory of an icy and arty winter.

Plus a bit more soy paraffin on my fire starters… This time with dryer lint mixed with the sawdust/wood chips. Do not confuse paraffin with espresso.

K bye, All for now, so much to do (i also worked on Ichiro’s scrapbooks) and usual dishes and laundry. Just trying to “get out of the shed”.

Nengajyo / New Year’s Card 2022 – Adapters Ahoy!

Sharp peekers maybe caught the preview in “Post’d: New Years “nengajyo” in process” and now fresh from various post office trips with stamping goodtimes comes our best wishes to you for a pleasing 2022 in the form of a card from Tsuchida Cottage featuring us in ‘The Linda Lindas” shirts and swag. Note the details.

You may be shocked that I did not *accidentally on purpose* steal the post box/pen holder but I did use the stamps at the post office to decorate the postcards because, that’s what the stamps are for – specifically featuring the coming year’s zodiac sign, the tiger. Yep, cute tigers coming on your New Year’s cards.

130 out to foreign address and around the same in process to domestic Japan (with different back and includes Japan Post special “raffle” cards) as of this writing Dec. 27 (hurry hurry printers!)

I hope one of them is for you. I’m doing my best.

Fondly from Dave, Ryoko and Ichiro

PS On the back is a poem by me (naturally) with a few sentiments about adapting to situations and using the unexpected to reinvent as well as expressing empathy.

All the Time

Reinvent
Re-create
Replenish, even Rejuvenate or Rejoice

Adapters plant seeds 
and watch the trees tell time, 
over decades

There’s no hurry
We’re here forever
Go slow 
We’ve got all the time for you
Records, flowers and paints
Fresh coffee with a view

If you’ve had a hard year
We’re here with our ears

Pack your steamer trunk and be ready for queen tides, we’ll spark the woodstove

Ramble forth, possibly fret, maybe cry but 
know – even without *believing* – light is here as needed
	Always fondly.

By Dave Olson, Tsuchida, Okayama