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From Telling The Difference Recently in Journals Haiku, Senryu, Tanka Translations


If I Were A House

and could choose my own
address I'd settle these joists
in Topanga Canyon. For all
I know the place teems with
termites, fire-hazards, earth-
quakes, and industry
assholes. Who cares. I could be
dumpy as a salt
box, weird as an igloo, allergenic
as a horsehair yurt and you'd
still drive miles to pay
me tribute: the Topanga
yurt—so exotic one can't help
but sneeze.

                                                               Poets and Artists O & S, Fall 2009

Spirit Guides

George slept with a stuffed
parrot and a monkey, Simon with a soft

orange cat bestowed by his maternal
grandma and, thanks to an inspired toss

at the county fair, with a lemony-
yellow bee big as himself. The bee, minus

its deelyboppers, lies face-to-the-wall
where it was thrown on piled-up casualties beyond

the battleground playroom pool table,
my wife’s once-cherished Lowly Worm squashed

beneath its butt. Neither
the bee’s vestigial

opalescent wings nor its jet black rear end
speak to me, not

as when it whispered to the drowsy
Simon, now a helicopter

pilot, about joyous
flight: vistas, the mysterious fulfillments

of hovering, humming, the whock, whock,
whocking rotors and the air’s

rush. Si moved on, to nurture his feckless
housemate’s cat that loves

his room, and communicates by pissing
on his shoe. George these days makes artful

noise. Monkey or parrot, who
wised him up? Don’t be—

Craarrk!!—a sap. You’ve got no chops, no
future playing ball, but considering your memory, your

indefatigable mouth, I smell
a meal ticket, m’boy, m’boy.

                                                               Ellipsis, Spring 2010

That’s The Answer! My Aunt

happily exclaimed, more and more often as
senility advanced, until her brain shut

entirely down. That’s
the answer, my wife and I

announce to each other and then
we laugh. The answer brings

us close—whether it’s a week
of rain or a newspaper


                                                               Amarillo Bay, Winter 2011

Santoka Having Visited

the station and seen them off-
loading soldiers’ cremains from

China finished
life on his own

terms Oct. 1940 after decades spent

to die: fell
asleep as usual drunk and never again

witnessed the tea
blossoms of dawn or what Japan

summoned onto its own
turf. Sake

his favorite koan got him
in trouble and then got

him out before the bent
nail of his personality

was pounded
flat. He left

behind that image
of Mom’s self-

drowned body retrieved
from the family well when San-

toka was eleven. Left his
poems. And sake’s still

here for who-
ever wants it.

                                                               The Carolina Quarterly, Summer 2012

Tsunami 2011

Hokusai demonstrated that any Great Wave 
worthy its name needs something more 

than mere dynamism, when he made his Kanagawa
exemplar so splendidly clean—the crisp

blues and whites of nautical dress 
uniform—and sculptural, with snow-

capped Fujiyama’s background 
triangularity pulling together

his 1826 composition. The Sendai seawall
event by contrast resembled Uncle’s filth-

laden gut spilling 
over his once-neat leather belt, bathetic like

the denouement of Midway, another Imperial
project scripted to illustrate Murphy’s
law. Downright ugly: salting the tidy 
fields, then harrowing them with 

new-minted rubbish—every constituent 
of civilization broken down into toxic

sludge stippled with drowned cars and busted 
ships—an image to ban from one’s trashed

living room to spare 
the honored guests.

                                                               Interim, Volume 30, Issue 1 & 2 





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