jornales

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

red (for One Shoot Sunday)

photo prompt by Walter Parada

the truth about red:

my heart is like a man’s
although it flickers not throbs
as the Sun I am absent at the zenith
but in living things i lend my flare

my color is red not gold
as Red i seep in or withdraw
i blossom vermillion in camellias, azaleas,
or metamorphose into the rose

when blossoms shed petals,
leaving a litter of brown scraps
i desert the flowers
or blaze in berries, persimmons—
when juiced i spurt red

after coupling with Earth
i, as the Sun, leave it with
fire for smoldering births

find me, Red,
on chipped off terra cotta bricks
a mitt of rust on stray feet
a red organdy dress
to lift the shroud off grieving
i drip red on tubs of basi
shared after evening prayers
flaring on a monsignor’s cheeks
chanting a Te Deum

i pull Red out of my chest
to cloak archbishops
in carmine the color of fresh blood
the blaze of martyrs
who bleed for others
drain their heart out

but locked in self
i dry out a heart turn it black
blood when it dries up
that’s me, a two-faced Diablo
the apparition sneaking in at night
death masquerading as love

a bouquet of red carnations on Fridays
seething trees through bumpy rides
a stone in the moonlight rooting on a mango tree
a branch for a splint on broken bones
a face bruised by kisses
scarlet spears in childhood dreams
your name on my breath
a deep breeze

i, Red, am also the Sun swirling down
on a violent hand
but soften on pink tulle over the fields
coaxing you to reach up to me
scooping you to turn in my arms
switch off your fears
to smoother you with my most tender tinge
i, the Diablo slung in your heart:
you‘re freed

*basi, fermented sugar cane, native wine in the northernmost edge of the Philippine archipelago.

Posted for One Shoot Sunday at One Stop Poetry where I can’t resist the challenge as the other poets and artists who congregate to share their love of art and poetry in this site. Check us out!

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May 22, 2011 Posted by | free verse, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

the rose bud/under a sky/full moon (random haiku and what else I am learning about haiku)

1.
rose bud
still tight in the rain–
the coming of summer

2.
under a sky
bent by a rainbow
we ease for home

3.
full moon
on an open cesspool–
the sun for me

full moon partially obscured by the Earth's atmosphere (21 Dec 1999 taken by austronauts aborad the Space Shuttle Discovery) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I love how images work so well with haiku. And like paintings, they can be very compelling and draw out in their distance the deepest of emotions. Nothing should be overt in haiku. It must be hinted at, almost hidden or unnoticed.

For me, it could be something like a quiet reflection on the spit-notes of a waxwing or the epiphany of yes, a full moon on an open un-lidded cesspool. In the first, the notes for me feel like droplets of crystals that melt into a soft coating on my being, gifting me for a moment with the just-being-there-ness of a salmon berry blossom for a hummingbird; in the second, the moon sinks into my darkness– cesspool that I am in many ways of ‘pecadillos’, those daily pin pricks of rebellion from virtue and goodness–and turns on the light of the sun that is in me or what I believe to be my spirit, which at its core remains as powerful as the Sun from whom the moon draws its brightness.

Perhaps, I’m taking this too far but haiku works when it works for the poet–this is what I’m learning fast, though of course there are still the basic elements to go by. At the workshop of Michael Dylan Welch that I attended last Saturday right here in Vancouver in my neighborhood at the historic Joy Kogawa House, he emphasized a few key elements:

*not 5-7-5 syllables unless one is writing in Japanese
*must have a season (kigo) word (there are hundreds of them in a compilation by Japanese masters that differentiate for example mist and fog in spring and autumn have degrees of thinness, or even the moon is different in winter and autumn)
*must appeal to any or all of the 5 senses
*must be objective, meaning, not what is the emotion but what caused it
*precision (sharp focus), immediacy (of the moment not past or future both of which make it static), juxtaposition to make it ‘leap’ into a larger or higher perspective, which may be attained by contrast
*there’s a lot more than that, of course, and I’m still learning

Truly, reading haiku –and there’s thousands of them–and about the art may not be enough. Haiku has been for centuries some kind of a ‘group art’. It must be shared and worked at with others. For me, some kind of openness even humility are a must, a willingness to learn and be straightened out if what one has written seems vague or imprecise and the reader squints his eyes, knits his brows and says, ‘huh?’ instead of ‘ahhhh…’, clasps his hands and looks up to the heavens. Indeed, joining The Haiku Foundation that gave me access to Shiki Kukai, the Vancouver Haiku Group, and signing up for the NaHaiWriMo facebook site as well as submitting my haiku to and getting ‘acceptance’ and more often ‘declined’ mail from online haiku/tanka journals as well as other literary journals have been extremely rewarding.

Haiku’s most precise definition is ‘a short poem in one breath’. Ahhh…okay then, do these random haiku here make you say, ‘ahhhh’ or ‘huh’?

May 17, 2011 Posted by | background, haiku, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

meringue

meringue—
the children’s laughter
rise in the air

My sister’s first experiment on making a perfect meringue prompted this haiku.

I never knew she has always loved it until she told me so before Christmas. And what pushed her to study recipes for it is the price of meringue, which apalled her when she learned how little goes into its making. What she had discovered and which apparently makes meringue pricey is the technique in beating the egg whites, the kind of sugar to use and how much, and the size of the oven. I glimpsed her putting in a baking sheet with tiny blobs on them before I turned back to water the fragile rose–the pitimini she insisted on getting last summer about which I expressed loud dire forecasts and which I’m now nurturing because I feel rueful for its pale shoots like the frail babies in pediatric clinics moms hold like wilting leaves.

I can’t recall how long it took when I began to smell a faint vanilla scent that soon overpowered the apartment. Her meringue has started rising like bleached hills–not quite as perfect as the bake shop displays she has coveted. She offered me a bite when they had cooled. I almost demured having almost sworn off sugar from my diet but I gave in.

I felt like a child as the bite melted into nothing but air in my mouth. I had two more. From the courtyard, the handful of children who have since been cooped up in the winter, burst out laughing for the first time. The air laced with vanilla scent rose like meringue–for me, at least and wrote itself into a haiku!

February 5, 2011 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments