for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

“tilted sky” haiga at NTFG

Notes from the Gean December 2012

Notes from the Gean December 2012


June 4, 2013 Posted by | haiga, poetry | , , , | Leave a comment

My 2012-13 published haiku…I hope you like them!

selected published haiku (international haiku journals)

her stiff lip

breaks into a smile

clown for hire



on hooped earrings

bag lady’s air


weaving in and out

of whole conversations

his Pinocchio nose

LYNX June 2013



a restless dream

stalks the moon

moongarlic ezine 1:1, May 2013


moss bed

a moonbeam sits

on my lap

A Hundred Gourds May 2013


bilingual haiku



nakabaklay kaniak ti napilay

nga Apo Init



perched on my shoulder

a lame sun


panaglunag ti niebe–

agririn dagiti billit

gapu ken Apo init



sun sparks a row

among the wrens


sabsabong ti sardam

agararudoken kas mabain

ti duduogan a bulan


dawn flowers—

creeping away as if shy

the old moon


ranitrit dagiti kawayn

iti baet ti danarudor didaya–

arko ti kanta dagiti bulilising


bamboo creaks

between a roaring in the east–

an arc of bird song

kernels 1:1 April 2013


between us

a pie cut

of infinities

Notes from the Gean, April 2013


still pond—

not a hole in the sky

I swallowed


Notes from the Gean, March 2013


turtle pond

a girl shares unshelled


One of seven in a four-week run of 28 as contributing poet at DailyHaiku’s Cycle 14

October to March, 2013


tomorrow still a house of knives

Bones 1:1 December 2012



an orange scarf flails

on the clothesline

Multiverses 1:1 June 2012


figuring out

wintry patterns

fretwork sky

Daily Haiku Selection Mainichi, Japan

Feb. 20, 2012

June 4, 2013 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments


What a vivid sensory experience this column item by Stella Pierides wrote in Note from the Gean’s ‘haikumatters’!! It rumbled through my mind, exciting me to think indeed what map do I have? And here it is: “Oh, the map I use? It’s uncharted and unnamed. It’s wild woods and a black forest. There are lakes and pools but also bogs, smokey in the deep. Unless ‘I find a flower I can name’, it’s hard even for me to find my way back. Birds sing and talk but mostly unseen except the owl. Sometimes, he reveals their name. I’ve taken notes but forget about them the moment I walk in. The map is always new, uncharted and unnamed. I know it’s not good but maybe the owl will help someday somehow.”

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

enormity, my haiga at NTFG January 2013

enormity in and out haiga ed2

enormity in and out haiga ed2 

enormity in and out

a haiga at Notes from the Gean, January 2013

Colin Stewart Jones, editor

composed on my iPod Touch with Eastern drawing

January 10, 2013 Posted by | haiga, poetry | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

my bilingual haiku, tanka and free verse for National Poetry of the Month guest post at haikudoodle

Excerpts from Margaret Dornaus’ blog today

(or click on haikudoodle on my blogroll)


(Iluko with English translations by the author)



batbato iti
sabsabong ti sardam


on the riverbank
dawn flowers…



LYNX XXIV: February 2009


tanka (Iluko with English translations by the author)
diay aripit ballasiw
ditoy a sumken
sinit a nalidliduan
nagtinnag nga anem-em

a haunt for sadness
the dried creek at the crossroad
here they recur
those untended flushes
turned chronic fevers…


LYNX XXV (June): 2, 2010


agsapa (in Iluko with translations by the author)

by Alegria Imperial



dagiti bituen idi mangngegda

ti as-asug

dagiti bulong iti sipnget



dagiti pinatanor ti lawag

iti danarudor

dagiti agam-ammangaw


Bannawag, the Ilocano vernacular magazine of the Ilocos region in northern Philippines, May 16, 2009




(a loose translation with some nuances substituted as in some verbs, which in Iluko already imply a subject, and nouns that need no adjectives)



stars fell in the dark

among leaves

pining over lost suns–



that light birthed

drowned in the roar of the


April 9, 2012 Posted by | free verse, haiku, lyric poetry, poetry, tanka | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

shadows (my haibun at Notes from the Gean, March 2012)


how much longer

As a child, I searched for shadows. Under trees at high noon when the crown of an acacia tree from across our balcony covered its root space like a clipped parasol, I’d creep to it and hug the ancient roots, basking in its shadow. By the stream where my grandmother scoured the soot off the iron rice pot and skillet, I’d haunt the silken strips of shadows under bamboo groves.  I waited on the engorged shadow of a kingfisher that never failed to fly by.

My grandmother had learned from snoops that I sauntered alone at high noon by the stream–even took dips. Upbraided, I stopped creeping under the shadowed stream for a while. Instead, I began haunting shadows in the wooded orchard of a grandaunt. One afternoon, a buzzing shadow chased me. A swarming cloud, the bees I had disturbed raced me to the chicken coop. I suffered a few stings, which my grandaunt soothed with dabs of burnt molasses syrup.

These days, I’m hunting shadows again under ruins and buildings that block the sun off. Why this disdain for the sun, a friend once asked. What answer could I give?


of who we are


Notes from the Gean 3:4 March 2012

NOTE: layout for this page only with photo of  an old building in Montreal by eleanor angeles

March 24, 2012 Posted by | haibun, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

time (one of three haiga at Notes from the Gean, March 2012)

One of three haiga at

Notes from the Gean 3:4 March 2012 (on my blogroll)



sifting through stones

for inconstancies


haiku: alegria imperial, canada

image: eleanor angeles, usa


March 22, 2012 Posted by | haiga, poetry | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For World Poetry Day: Transformation by haiku (a commentary on Basho at Notes from the Gean)

on a bare branch

a crow settled down

autumn evening


(trans. by Jane Reichold)

“How true!” was all I could say of these lines, the first of Basho’s that I have read– my introduction to haiku. The spare lines also stunned me yet they opened up spaces akin to meditation. Perhaps, I had thought, I should read it slowly as in praying and I did. The passing scenes I’ve seen in drives had suddenly turned into an immediate moment and I, in it. I recognized the feeling; it also happens when a painting or performance draws me in.  Of course, I was reading a poem and I understood it or so I had thought.

I can’t recall from what collection I read ‘on a bare branch’ among the few books I found at the Enoch Pratt Library eight years ago in Baltimore, where I was then staying. I had just stumbled on haiku, surfing the web for poetry and clicking on the page of Baltimore haiku poet Denis Garrison.  Browsing through the posted works, I thought how easy to do it and so, with the spunk of an ignoramus, I wrote one, responding to his submission call. He sent it back with kind words. It had possibilities, he said, and he even rewrote a line. How encouraging!

I had just ended a long career in media and journalism and on the daring of a friend, had taken up fiction writing in New York and later, poetry—dreams that long hovered in my hard working years. I thought haiku would come as easily as both, which I tackled the way I had wielded words in thick gray slabs. I had studied American, English and continental literature in the Philippines, a country closer to Japan, but had not been aware of haiku until then. And so, I wrote a few more of what I thought was haiku, imitating how Denis demonstrated it and sent these again; I received an outright rejection that miffed me. Yet his advice (or was it a command?) for me to read up on haiku goaded me up the marble steps of the Baltimore library.

The haiku shelf nestled in an alcove of special collections on a mezzanine. The small table felt almost intimate. The few haiku small books felt ancient in my hands, the pages fragile. I could not take them home. I had to take scrap paper from the librarian’s desk to write on. Only Basho’s ‘bare branch’ remains among bales of my notes and haiku drafts. I’ve read more of Basho and volumes of other haiku poets since. I’ve learned that the simplicity and immediacy of the ‘bare branch’ that entranced me had also deceived me. Haiku, after all, is a centuries-old art.  I realized I might never get to an iota of what makes it what it is. But haiku has transformed me since.

Nature and I have turned into lovers, for one, as if I’m seeing clouds, the sun and the moon for the first time, or flowers and birds. Yet, as a child, I prowled bamboo groves and shaded streams to catch dragonflies and wait for the kingfisher’s shadow. As an adult, I walked on streams of blossoms shredded by the wind, relishing fragrances and dreams. I used to throw open our windows for the full moon for me to bathe in. I thought I had shed them off when I left home for North America where I finally live the four seasons with blossoms like daffodils and cherry blossoms or trees that inflame in the fall like the maple that I used to know only as words in poems and songs in a borrowed language from an implanted culture I memorized as a child. But haiku has lent me ways to see things simultaneously through the past into the present, as well as from a pinhole as in a bee wading in pollen to the vastness of a punctured moonless summer sky. I leap from image to thought and feeling simply and exactly losing myself in what a moment presents like how I felt reading ‘bare branch’ the first time.

Some writings on Basho especially in his later haiku identify such a moment as Zen. As a Southeast Asian, I know Zen. It’s part of my heritage. But how come I’m ignorant of haiku? It must have been our destined Western colonization that encrusted our Eastern beginnings with layers of European and American culture, hence, blocking it. In an unfortunate historical accident when Japan occupied the Philippines during World War II, my parents could have learned haiku and passed it on to me. Instead, those years inflicted so much pain that I grew up with my mother’s family trying to survive a pall of sorrow from my grandfather’s execution by the Japanese Imperial Army. Japan, for me, represented the horror of cruelty. Then came haiku. I hadn’t thought of that sadness I inherited when I first started reading on it, delighting even at Basho’s Oku-no-hosomichi (Back Roads to Far Towns) leading me by inroads to Japan.  When the Fukushima tragedy struck last year, I plunged into it, writing a haibun about families being rescued and some haiku, finding myself in tears. I realized a healing has crept deep in me, of which my grandfather must have had a hand.

From my first imitations of Basho, I kept writing haiku that I later found out from rejections were but fragments. Yet two flukes won for me awards in 2007, one from a growing volume of fragments that I kept tweaking as a single entry to the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, the other, another failed haiku I expanded as free verse for the Passager Annual Poetry Award (Baltimore, MD). These fired me to keep on. I haunted more sites on the web, picking beds for my haiku. Peggy Willis Lyles, my first editor, sent back my submission to The Heron’s Nest, the first journal I dared to submit with kind sweet comments yet I pushed more; until she died none of my haiku made it (one later did with Fay Aoyagi who took over Peggy’s contributor’s list). Werner Reichold of LYNX, on the other hand, loved my first submission. Still, more rejections from other journals pounded on me to give up.

But my prose and free verse had started to crackle with a ‘textured richness’ as one editor described it–obviously influenced by my practice of writing haiku—and made it to literary journals. I’m writing less of both these days, finding in haiku the closer bridge to pure image and thought—more of my haiku, a few tanka, haibun and haiga have been published in other journals since. I’m also reading less of descriptive texts, dropping the first sentence if lacking the synthesis in a line like haiku. I can’t hope to fully know all I must or even write a perfect haiku but I step into its waters everyday and steep myself in its calmness, its virtue that first drew me in.

Notes from the Gean, 3:4 March 2012 pp. 61-62

March 21, 2012 Posted by | comment, haiku, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

first snow (haiga at NTFG)

first snow
still we find
the gaps

Notes From The Gean, Volume 3, Issue 3, December 2011

January 30, 2012 Posted by | haiga, poetry | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment