Saturday, July 15, 2017

Childish Things, Part 2 (Current Events in Haibun)

How we found refuge as children: a path in the woods; a stage; a box of paints; a baseball diamond; a guitar. Those precious moments with no adult voice ringing in our ears. Your refuge then is probably your refuge now.

In an act of extreme empathy, imagine a childhood deprived of refuge. Imagine the life of Junior, destined to be Junior even when he's in his thirties, forties.... Always in the shadow of Senior. Life a parade of bullies, so one better bully-up or else. A good defense is the only defense. No refuge but in being the one who throws the first punch (either literal or figurative). Money is no refuge. Hell has gold bathroom fixtures.

Strange to feel sorry for that chin-thrusting, lip-pouting, visage-sniveling mock prince. Who would change places with him? Who would trade even the memory of refuge for the reality of the craven?

even in summer
the bare branches
of childhood

Friday, July 14, 2017

Childish Things (in Haiku/Senryu)

These haiku were inspired by a day of too much news (ah, Junior, Junior, if only you could have found your own way) and a beautiful, intense, heartfelt conversation with friends over lunch, of families and how we survive them...

[first word]
still rattling around
the ribcage


each of us her own
[language hopelessly]
worst enemy


a child's [redacted]
so cold [shiver
of recognition]

Monday, July 10, 2017

Obscure Clarity

"Obscure" is a word often applied in a negative way to poetry. It is an interesting word, meaning in this context usually something akin to, "I cannot find a narrative that guides me through the poem," of, if not guides, at least offers signposts along the way that help identify a theme.

I wonder if this charge of obscurity can be leveled at the visual images of a collage, or if visual images go beyond how verbal images make meaning in a viewer's consciousness. Even a pattern of colors (think patchwork quilt) can suggest a story: sunset; rainbow; autumn.

Can one, then, look at a poem as a verbal collage, and extract meaning in that way? I don't even think I mean "understand the author's meaning" here; I mean that level of meaning that comes when a reader "completes" the poem by finding meaning therein. Haiku, tanka, and related short-form poetry certainly allows for this aspect of collage-like suggested meaning(s), impressionistic images that the reader is welcome to use to construct a narrative, however brief.

It is, for me, the most satisfying and wondrous reason for writing and for making collages: being able to suggest, being able to tell a secret story, revealing all in the space between words or the space between scraps...