Friday, October 15, 2021

Pulu in fern crook


15 October 2021

Baseball and yoga

To watch and then to witness

Adrenaline: breath.

I do hate constraints

The “do” for syllable’s sake

Pulu in fern crook.

Somewhere between mist

And convulsive rain, jazz

Drummer on our roof.

Guess my password, I’ll

Guess yours; privacy inspires

Unpeeling, like skin.

One manager fired

“Philosophical difference

s," no kiss ass he.

Angel trumpet win-

dow, bee at its poisoned lip,

Buzzed out of lens’ reach.

Haiku fill up quick

With words like “filibuster”

Buster taught him Zen.

Sometimes practice is

So quick the mortgage on your

Enlightenment’s up!

The rain forest is

Not drum or saxophone, is

Self-erasing tears.

At 3 a.m. I

Want to cry, but Prozac says

There’s a happy drought.

Lilith pooped three times

I placed a leaf over one

Left the rest to rain.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Heavy metrics


14 October 2021

Epic in haiku.

Ganesha’s trunk a bent twig.

It’s commutative.

No image in words.

I read blind, just seeing print.

Buddha’s lichen ear.

Lilith loves to think

Of pheasants dead by her bite.

Ginger’s their refuge.

Take refuge in words.

Like duck blinds intended to

Protect the hunter.

Hunter protected

From prey, like an abuser

Behind pink curtains.

Wayne Shorter cd

Shorter than I’d hoped; it ends

Before weed whacker.

Hancock says music

Is math; Basho counted, too.

I do hate constraints.

Around the loop from

Saijo’s place, I too watch clouds,

Bent hapu`u ferns.

Why words? he asks me.

Because I didn’t see then--

Thought meaning was sound.

Herd immunity:

Genocide’s fancy shield for

Those who got their shots.

How to break a block

But by counting syllables

In anarchist wind.

Monday, October 11, 2021

When Herbie met Miles

11 October 2021

The web resembles an octopus, torn linen nested between beam and roof line. The hole at the top would be mouth, a flap at the bottom’s a flag fluttering in air (the breeze moves higher up in the `ohi`a). Screen of bird song, bass notes banging where I can’t see man or hammer. The difference between being one’s vocation and being: Herbie Hancock. “It sounds like a liver thing,” our tenant’s girlfriend says on the phone. I hear a brush move through hair. When Herbie ruined the show by playing the wrong chord, Miles carried on as if it were right. The Buddha Lilith and I visit is covered by vegetation; on his head a moss crew cut; in the ears, lichen; on the face a beard of green. Buddha also fades into forest, facing in from the road behind a fern screen. Historical smeared over geological time like vegemite. Miles’s voice was always over-heard. “Don’t play the butter notes,” he advised, in which “butter” meant “fat” or “obvious.” So Herbie played all the notes but those he usually rested on. Improvisation avoids whatever completes a phrase. She left, talking about jobs and an RV in California. Now a saw cuts bird song into slices, like bread. Morning gathers itself in time without asking any favors. Offers improvisation, and morning takes it up like a synthesizer or a dog tangled on her leash, bark raspy as Miles’s voice. Hers is not a call for help, exactly, but a comment on the failures of geometry. Her diagram of complaints was a dense squiggle of lines that appeared twice in her book. In the other book, book speaks, as does the boy inside the book. A twice told tale goes on a fugue. When asked what she remembered of her goal in overtime, my daughter said she remembered nothing. Her teammate’s dad watched it 40 times.

--details from Herbie Hancock's 2014 Norton Lectures on Poetry at Harvard

Friday, October 8, 2021

Lilith and the official looking man

I opened Lilith's crate at the Hilo airport and put her on her leash. As I walked toward the curb, carrying my bags, her crate, and the leash, I was confronted by a man who looked somehow official. He started to yell at me: THIS IS NOT A PARK; YOU CAN'T JUST LET YOUR DOG RUN AROUND; NOT A SERVICE DOG!! Finding myself in the manager position of a fight with an umpire (chin to chin, mask to mask), I asked him why he was yelling at me. I CAN'T TALK WELL THROUGH THIS MASK. CAN YOU? Then back to THIS IS NOT A PARK, even as I pointed out that she was on a leash. I reluctantly started to put her back in her crate (making her something heavy to carry, in addition to everything else). DID I TELL YOU YOU HAD TO PUT HER BACK IN HER CRATE? he said through his white mustache. YES, i THINK YOU DID, said I. I DID NOT SAY YOU HAD TO PUT HER BACK IN HER CRATE, he replied. Just then, a tall woman leaned into our scrum and asked if I needed help carrying the crate. She gave him something of a look, as I said I could carry the crate (more easily now that HE HAD NOT SAID I HAD TO PUT HER IN THE CRATE). The man said, OK, GO STAND BY THE CURB FOR YOUR RIDE, which I had indicated was coming for me. 
I walked Lilith and the bags and the crate to the curb and called Bryant; he was on his way. I knew Lilith needed a pee break and there were green areas nearby, but I did not take her, as THIS WAS NOT A PARK. I turned hesitantly to look back at the official man, and he walked toward us again. "What's his name?" he asked. "She's Lilith," I said. "I like her coloration," he said, looking kindly at her. He said he had six dogs at home, two old ones, 14 years, who are Lab/Rottweiler mixes, and a couple newer ones who are chihuahua/terriers mixes. No grandchildren yet, he said with a sigh. Waiting on his son. How old is he? I asked. 37. His wife wonders where the grandchildren are, but he doesn't want to go there. I agreed that pressuring him is not a good idea. 
And there was the old gray Nissan Versa at the curb. Lilith pulled on her leash toward the back door. "She knows her ride is here," said the official man. I wished him a good day, got in the car, and off we all went, stopping by the post office to pee.


Friday, October 1, 2021

Death comes on Friday


1 October 2021

Lilith and I failed to scare a chicken beside the sidewalk. It was young, but bigger than a chick; it didn’t move on its large greenish feet. Its back feathers were down, eyes closed. Was that blood on its throat, or simply a streak of red? Lilith was curious, but not eager. When finally I poked the chicken gently, its head turned, but nothing else stirred. A rooster crowed nearby. After we walked down the hill a few steps, I turned to look, and the chicken was still there. Dying on a Friday morning on a patch of brown dirt in the humid air.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Walking notes

Lilith and I were heading home on Hui Kelu when a guy in a pick-up truck drove by, baseball cap turned backwards. I thought I caught a flicker of interest, which seemed odd. Then, from the stop sign behind me, I hear "GO CARDINALS!!" and see a shaka sign pushed through the left open window. I was wearing my Bob Gibson (#45) teeshirt and Cards cap.



Two workmen in the cemetery, each with a hand in the mouth of a stone dragon. They'd been talking sound systems in pidgin on our way up the hill. "There's a ball in there; we gotta get em out," says the older of the two. "Da old man got his out already" (a third man stands at some distance apart, laughing). One workman, after working the mouth a while, pulls out a stone ball, the same gray as the statue. "I'm taking it home," he says, before putting it back in the dragon's mouth. The other guy is still trying, his hand still inserted into his dragon's mouth. 



At the top of the hill, in front of the chapel, I'm taking photographs of circles; Lilith and I wander around the three women who walk the cemetery and the man who works there. He looks full Hawaiian. As Lilith and I walk by, the man asks if I'm from here. I say I live in Temple Valley and point in that direction. "No, were you born and raised here?" I say no, but I've lived here 31 years, and my husband longer, that his dad grew up here. One woman says "local." I say at least I can get a kamaaina discount. As Lilith and I move on, I say, "humid today, yeah?" Then add, "I didn't used to say 'yeah.'" 



Monday, September 27, 2021

What begins as boredom, ends in strangeness

27 September 2021

The suburbs are as precisely strange as they try not to be. Late in her conscious life, my mother sat in her dining room to watch the traffic go by. There was precious little. Everyone’s grass mowed, everyone’s driveway a clean asphalt, everyone so clean. On the second try, one neighbor died in his closed garage. On the first, a father turned a gun on himself in the rec room. More mysterious was the dead Filipina maid, found in the back woods with a stocking tied around her neck. The kind pedophile across the street hid himself well. My friend suggests I look for joy, instead. A little boy walks toward me holding out a tiny yellow bulldozer. I say “bulldozer,” and he tries, stuttering on the last two syllables. Lilith guards her mouth where her broken tooth was pulled. Our son makes us ramen when we get home. We watch baseball and soccer, marvel at the path of the ball. When I told the man with a pamphlet in his hand thank you, I have my own spiritual path, he asked if I was Buddhist. He hesitated, then walked away. They walk the shoulders, the men and woman with dim backpacks. We read their cardboard signs when they stop. Some get off the bus and return to a tent city under the freeway. Neat tows of tents, the occasional shopping cart, American flag. When we left the stadium, we passed a man beside a parked car, preaching through a megaphone. We had sinned and his volume proved it. The bus came, and we headed out. No light in these territories, just another conspiracy theory shared with strangers. The man a row ahead of us said he had a religious exemption, but at least he wore a mask. Some of us only get saline, others the chip.