There Was an Attempt

It’s been a minute
Since writing five-seven-five,
So I wrote this haiku…

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Lunchtime at the Local Shrine

High flying cicada woodwinds
Soar over the distant roar
Of passing cars beyond the gate.

A soft and pleasant pattering
Of trickling water from the mouth
Of an ever-drooling dragon
Stretching its long cast-iron hide
Around it’s spiritual pool.

Important looking people pass through.
Some stop to breath in the peace,
But most use the rocky path
To cut a corner off their route
And shave a coveted second
From their midday commute.

One leisure old man hobbles by
Unhurried by the pressing of passing time.
He stops at the fountain,
Grabs the ritual washing ladle firmly,
And takes a nice drink from the water,
Slurping loud enough for the spirits to hear.

A quick percussive rasping
Of hands clapping sounds twice
As a woman runs through ritual prayer,
Bowing to the shrines, one after another,
Hardly given a moment to each.
I wonder for what she prays?

Perhaps more time…

 

In the Park

He wakes up on top of me
Wearing the same tattered clothes,
As dank and filthy as garbage
On a hot and humid afternoon.

He slips away every day before dawn.
Before they come to check on me,
And clean my worn out skin
And clear my space of thrown out dreams
And rusted needles still dripping
With last night’s cheap thrill. Read More

Dragonfly

The rotting corpse of a dragonfly
Hangs over hung-headed commuters
Like a pterodactyl fossil in Fukui,
Forever aloft on calcified wings
For children to look up and wonder:
From what mysterious realm did you come?
But beneath the fossilized dragonfly,
No such wide-eyed adolescents pass by.
This Train Station of Natural History’s only patrons
Are closed-eyed, downtrodden business men:
Too busy catching up on sleep walking
To raise their gaze above the floor.

Read More

Rain Drop Drag Race

Droplets of rain drag race
Across the crowded window pane
As the train departs from Hachiman.

As the faster racers
Devour their slower opponents,
They gain in both size and speed.
I’m unable to avert my gaze
From their cannibal carnage.

Beyond, a ghostly backdrop
Of formless black shadows
Inhabit the night outside.

We watch the rain race,
These spectating specters and I,
They shout odd and wagers
While I place my money
On the coming of a new today.

A flash of cameras
The photo finish lights
The winners’ long comet tail.
A thunderous roar from the ghouls
Who’ve been exposed by lightning.

The droplets come to a stop
As the train pulls into my station.
The race is over.
Occasional flashes of camera bulbs
Still light the night sky.
The crowd is still howling
As I collect my meager winnings
And bid the night farewell.

The Train Rolls On

Mountains melt into clouds
As the sun falls beneath the world
To brighten other, distant days ahead
And leave this one behind.

A grey and white twilight backlight
Illuminates the earthen specters
Blending lake, land, and sky.

I gaze across the pallid water
From the window of the 7:15 Rapid Transit Train,
Transfixed by the mysterious ephemeral
That is already disappearing
Before it ever fully comes to being.

The day has ended
And the night is approaching,
But I am grasping at smoke
Trying to possess transforming twilight.

The Church of St. ING

Dank air, thick and heavy
like gaseous molasses, lazily ferments
In this amber rusted barrel
Of soulful blues and bad tobacco.

Faithful drunks slowly sway,
Inebriated from breathing kill-devil air.
They sing wailing, gospel woes in harmony
With Lucille on the record player.

Faded brown bed sheets hang from the ceiling,
Covering exposed water pipes and mold,
Billowing up like brown dust clouds
Floating over a bustling bazaar
In a back alley of Baghdad.

Youthful patrons bring with them
A breath of fresh and lively air.
Giddy to begin their weekly ritual
Of Bacchic worship this Saturday evening.

These half-hearted, holiday worshippers
Take their place among the devoted regulars,
Who’ve prayed from bar stool pews,
Solemnly consuming a eucharist
Of almighty alcohol and mixed nuts,
Confessing their sins to the barman priests,
All while searching for a salvation I see
In the emptiness of their glazed eyes
And the sadness lurking beneath each bingeing high.


ING is a rock bar near Sanjo station in Kyoto, Japan. It is usually populated with a good mix of Japanese and foreigners, most of whom are faithful patrons of the small establishment. Somewhat hidden on the second floor of an unassuming building, ING is a diamond waiting to be found by those looking for down-to-earth authenticity in the overly commercialized party district of Kyoto. This piece was written on a lonely evening when I found myself at the bar quite a bit earlier than usual. The deep conversations, steady stream of B.B. King, and (of course) flow of booze almost convinced me to become a more serious convert to Bacchus.

The Kumano Kodo 熊野古道

A peaceful night is ended
By the first light of morning
Before a bright Sun soaring
Over the edge of the ocean.

Inside, the tent has become a planetarium
Shining droplets of condensation-stars
Refracting rainbows of morning dew
Formed from the radiant body heat
Of weary pilgrims happily beat
Upon the Kumano Trail. Read More

The Kumano Kodo 熊野古道

Poet's Corner

A peaceful night is ended
By the first light of morning
Before a bright Sun soaring
Over the edge of the ocean.

I open my eyes to a starry tent sky
Shining droplets of condensation
Refracting rainbows of morning dew
Formed from the radiant body heat
Of weary pilgrims happily beat
Upon the Kumano Trail.

View original post 258 more words

Sakura

Snow still sits atop the highest peaks
Like vanilla icing, dripping
From rocky road ice cream cones,
Shining, sleek with sweat
From its battle with the Sun.

Down by the lake,
playfully shimmering water
shines a halo around the pink tutu
Of Cherry Blossom ballerinas,
Dancing aloft with a woodwind breeze. Read More