Thursday, January 29, 2009


I cross an arched bridge over a pond to reach Kurimoto Garden’s bell gazebo. It’s there I’ll escape the hot sun and the noisy crowd. Sitting next to the cast iron bell, I read Buson:
on a one ton temple bell
moon moth

Eyes closed, my hand becomes the moth, fingers antennae, exploring the bell’s cool decorated surface . . . settling . . . resting . . .

Footsteps, a child's voice, Mom, can I? A rattle of chains as the massive wooden clapper is pulled back and released. A low pitched “goooooong” fills my chest, sings in me. The Moon Moth stirs, flutters out into the garden . . .

stone lantern
in the clouds
Note: the Buson haiku is my rendition of a translation by X.J. Kennedy
by Ray Rasmussen
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Linda Papanicolaou: LOCKDOWN

The excitement of sitting under the desks has begun to wane. "Quit shoving," someone complains.

Muffled giggles.

"Can I get a drink of water?"


The floor is cold and there's a crick in my neck. How long till the all-clear signal? It's a drill, I remind myself: Inhale, exhale—try not to think of that training video with the S.W.A.T team sweeping a school.

the barricade

by Linda Papanicolaou
Palo Alto, California

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tish Davis: HIGH TEA

Every season my father changes the color of mom’s place mat, but our monthly dinners are always the same. We sit in the kitchen not far from her obituary still pinned to the board on the door; his eyes wander to the only colored square without a plate.

Today the mat on the table is gone. The tea is ready, but instead of pouring from the copper kettle, he is brewing it in my mother’s Aynsley pot—Cottage Garden. I carry it into the dining room where the sugar bowl and creamer are carefully arranged on white. For the first time I notice the delicate swirls in the pattern and when the doorbell rings, the third cup not far from his.

under a porch light
the first buds
of spring

by Tish Davis
Dublin, Ohio
first published in Simply Haiku V6, N4 (Winter 2008)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Katherine Samuelowicz: STEP BY STEP

this is my new beautiful neighbourhood hilly with roads that follow the contour of the land that climb descend and scramble down to the water roads lined with old trees with their leaves now yellow and yellowish-brown and red brittle under my feet or swirling in the air in their descent to the ground forming mounds against curbs and marking parking spaces houses cascading down to the Harbour more and more visible through trees now denuded of leaves old well-established houses at ease with the landscape neglected ones like well-aged women once beautiful graceful and desired once restored to their original beauty show their age now turned into memories of time past from the paved spine of the hills steps leading to the wharfs lookouts parks children’s playgrounds into the bays of the Harbour blue grey misty cloudy clear

step by step
I take possession
of my new neighbourhood
and find in your absence
your constant presence
by Katherine Samuelowicz
Brisbane, Qld., Australia

Monday, January 19, 2009


The recipe, Ida says, goes like this: You first talk to the goats and pat their udders coaxing out flavors only goats know about. And you must feed only excellent quality hay, alfalfa is best but first-cut clover or timothy will do. Ida takes out some of the colostrum, essential for the new-borns, and mixes bits of, yes, hay or straw in a teaspoon or two of her own saved grated parmesan. She ties this up in a cheesecloth sack letting it hang to dry as a starter. After about three months it is lardish and spreadable. This way the cheese is incredible.

hand milking
white foam
flecking her pail

Ida then pours nine to ten quarts of warm goat’s milk straight into a black spatterware kettle and stirs in two teaspoons of her special concoction, mixing thoroughly. The curd sets in about half an hour. Ida cuts the curd and pours it into cheesecloth draped carefully over a large blue bowl. Naturally she saves the whey for ricotta later. Next morning she scoops out the drained curds pressing them lightly into an old wooden mold. After draining again over night Ida presses more curd into her wooden mold, pushing down firmly. Then the mold is set to drain over the large blue bowl for eight or nine days.

When the cheese loosens from the mold Ida rubs salt all over the round and hangs it in a string-net bag for six months to cure. Parmesan, she says, will last and stay delicious for four to five years. But Ida’s parmesan cheese couldn’t possibly last that long.

the tongue’s memory

by Ed Higgins
Newberg, Oregon

Friday, January 16, 2009


Deep evening. I pretend it’s the wind flowing through the shed’s saw-tooth roof rather than her raspy voice. She’s nagging. This time for him to drive the half-dozen blocks to buy a pack of Chesterfields from the Shell station. She smoked the last one while frying up the pork chops and onions that they ate with enough beer to keep them in a slurred-word state. The brandy bottle’s seal is broken. The night will eventually end when they both pass out or exhaust themselves from the yelling and him sobbing “why did you have to do it with him—with all the men out there—why with him?”

same high ledge
same nightmare depth
same fall

by Jeffrey Winke
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Eratosthenes, a Greek astronomer, determined that the earth was a sphere and calculated its rough circumference in the third century BC. By the 15th century, most educated people in Europe had abandoned the notion that the Earth is flat.

Enlightenment on the matter only came to me this week when I purchased a silver bicycle with narrow tires that had the look of being very fast. But nothing, as it turns out, in my prairie city is flat. Even small inclines constrain my speed to just above a slow walk.

I can't be blamed for not knowing. Mostly I've viewed my city through the windows of airplanes and cars, whereas many ancients lived near an ocean where they could see the tall ships approaching, the mast top appearing first.

On today's ride, two kids zip past on an uphill, gleefully sounding their warning bells and yelling "You're almost there!"

downhill race—
neck to neck
with a jackrabbit
by Ray Rasmussen
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
first published in Blithe Spirit 18:1, March 2008

Saturday, January 10, 2009


The old mahogany chest of drawers responds to the lemon oil-soaked scrap of flannel. Stroke by stroke the wood surrenders its grime, restoring the gleam to the grain of the veneer panel on the front of each drawer. The darkened portion of the rag is turned inward to refresh the next area.

heirloom dresser
every scrap from the ragbag
a different story

Inside the drawer the texture changes, its surface is unvarnished; its roughness tugs the cloth. The cabinetmaker's hand cut joints fastened the sides to the drawer. Not the typical dovetails, but peg like, placed far apart, showing uneven cuts. The width and depth vary only slightly, but unmistakably unique to each joining. Pencil marks are still evident on the wood where he had numbered the back of each drawer. A corresponding number in the dresser body, just above the glide for each drawer, tells the order of the drawers from top to bottom. The drawers are out of sequence. How many years has it been this way?

pressed into soft wood
at the back of each drawer
his handwriting

At the swipe of the cleaning rag, a rope of cobwebs rolls off the back of the drawer. Something shakes free from a joint at the back of one drawer and rattles to the bottom: a blue-black wire bent in the shape of a long U, a shape that I haven't seen in decades. It is a hairpin from a time when women carefully wrapped and twisted and pinioned their hair into place on top of their heads. I finger my own short-cropped hair.

Outwardly this chest of drawers has always had a masculine appeal. Even the knobs are blunt and unadorned. During my years growing up, the dresser was relegated to an unused corner of the unheated guest bedroom to hold bed linen, an old feather pillow, and a moth-eaten blanket. But in a former life, instead of crude muslin, it held ribbons and lace. Had the cabinetmaker made this dresser for his bride? There is no way to tell; that legacy is erased. I carefully replace the drawers in the pencil-numbered order of the cabinetmaker.

candle glow—
he untangles the cascade
of her scented hair

by Cherie Hunter Day
San Diego, California
first published in
Stone Frog: American Haibun & Haiga Vol. 2 (2001)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Colin Stewart Jones: A PRIORI

verbatim………………………..word for word
vox Dei vivat…………………..the voice of God lives
vis vitae………………………….an energy (a living force)
via, veritas, vita………………the way, the truth, the life
verbum sat sapienti…………a word is enough for a wise man

Years ago my Latin teacher told me that river and rival have the same root. Now as I look across the Euphrates I see my cousin and must hate him because he is descended from Ishmael and I don't care for his religion. "At least we can worship any god we choose." Mutatis mutandis.

They are Legion—for they are many.

Ah! But we have the Classical Tradition. Plato was an ideas man, true, but is that worth dying for? So we have landed classes and political oligarchies that will fight to maintain our liberty. "They're all terrorists and treat their women like shit." Ex uno disce omnes.

We are Idealists—not ideologues.

"You've never fought in a war." Even so, many have won the freedom for me not to impose my will upon another. Nevertheless, the Lion still follows the Eagle into battle. Dum spiro, spero.

I am Poet . . .

crescent moon—
tonight the man
is beheaded


Mutatis mutandis: with the necessary changes
Ex uno disce omnes: from one judge of the rest
Dum spiro, spero: while I breathe, I hope

by Colin Stewart Jones
Aberdeen, Scotland

Monday, January 5, 2009


There wasn’t much that could be said that hasn’t been said, he said. She said, What should have been said wasn’t said. I said what I thought had to be said, he said. But you could have said what needed to be said, she said. He said, I thought I had said what you had said I should have said. No you said what I hadn’t expected to be said, she said. But I said I was sorry, he said. But you could have said you were sorry well before you said what you said, she said. But I said, I’m sorry, he said. But it was said too late, she said.

sneezing fit
she tries to tell her lover
she can’t come

by Jeffrey Winke
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Saturday, January 3, 2009


doctors and patients,
we’re all dying—
this afternoon
I’ve lain in bed thinking
of a world without us

the nurse shaves me
in places
not shorn before—
the expression on her face
neither awe nor derision

outside surgery
my wife’s face receding
having washed his hands
the surgeon won’t shake mine

I hear the anesthesiologist tell the surgeon that I should try to get from the gurney to the bed on my own. I must have done so, for there is a sense of relief in the room. My wife kisses me on the forehead, someone squeezes my right foot, and the surgeon puts a sand bag on my groin and tells me to keep it there for twenty-four hours. Outside my window the well-lit skyscrapers of Shanghai jab their lightning rods into a hazy sky.

the night is erased,
scratched out—
at thirty-minute intervals
someone asks me to pee

by Bob Lucky
Hangzhou, China