jornales

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

this change of name (to celebrate Vancouver’s 125th year and my soon-to-have Canadian citizenship for One Shot Wednesday)

it is
a matter of spelling
only
this change of name

or am i fooling
the skies i look up to
the clouds
none i can name

the mountains
that shimmer
stealing in in stead
the names

of mountain ranges
facing East
among its jungles
my spirit roosts

alien snow
now smoothers
my laughter
i drift aground

is earth
unlike the sun
untouched
by sorrow?

i hear
from mourning doves
the language
of dawns

i mismatch
evening clouds
in my dreams
the chill stays

yet the sparrow
shares its songs
that seep into my sleep
lull my world

i regain my name
on Hollyburn
where a lotus by itself
on the lake

such poignancy
mirorring my loneliness
soaks the sun
as if enough

i trail the buds
lined along the Fraser’s North Arm
winding down and up
the river bed

the tide cuts a line
between my dreams and the sky
ripples catch my breathing
in rhythmic sighs

i’m scaling the breast
of Burnaby Mounains
my soul resists
its longings

i’m close to home
close to sinking
in the foam
skirting Horseshoe Bay

an eagle skims
my rhyming
my longings weave
in and out of the air

on a skein
of cherry blossoms
once only paintings on scrolls
i learn to haiku

thinking of moths
in my childhood those slivers of light
that die on the light
and fade in the morning

on my waking
i am who has always been
the city aground on my steps
whose name i can now say

even in sleep–
Vancouver

copyright (c) by Alegria Imperial 2011

Written for Vancouver’s 125th anniversary (supposedly for a poetry collection but whose deadline I missed, and also in celebration of my soon-to-be Canaadian citizenship–I’m taking my oath in a few days, after four years of my arrival as immigrant). Posted for One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry, the inimitable gathering place for poets and artists. Come share your art and check out a great number of terrific lines from other poets.

July 13, 2011 Posted by | free verse, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 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

Deserter (One Shot Wednesday)

Spine-sagged figures trudge where mottled hill
smacks a smoky sky. A breeze lifts arms but weighs down on phantom weights, crosses the shape of forebodings.
I plead for coddling. But gray huddle bursts–on command
of the winged kingpin–derisive of my intrusion,
message on their repulsive eyes. I recoil
faceless among faces, creep away.

Had I feathers not sticks to heave survival arms
uphill in desert cubicles where suns sketch moons
over trees, I would fly away. Had I beaks not lips to warble jeweled clips not statements of commitments
without weight or facets I could not hold out to
to some light or undecided darkness,
I would sing. Hence, spirit-less

I creep up a clump of cypresses–those grave
sentinels that now stir in the wind, a warning. Am I
perhaps who has given up fighting, scrambling to my end
where martinet on my deserter’s trail awaits? Hinted stars witness my trembling, and then my calming—
when over my head twitters from sparrows roosting
drip as notes, congealing as affirmation of peace

my endless steps into the day, how it winds
to fill and drain then draw up tweets I drop like theirs,
balancing my spirit on a concrete sky.

NOTE: Editing refuses to read my line breaks on line #2 stanza 1, break on down on/phantom weights; line #3 stanza 2, break on warble/jeweled; line #4 stanza 3, break on stars/witness

Edited from original published in “Poets Against War”, March 2008
posted for One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry blog. Join other poets and link up your poem wth Mr. Linky in the site.

January 19, 2011 Posted by | free verse, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments