jornales

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

rejection notes (sharing a personal essay with Sanjukta)

I’d like to share this personal essay I once wrote after receiving yet another rejection note; more had come and I expect nine out of ten submissions will keep coming. You would understand why it’s melodramatic. But that feeling has not swept me over since. When I do receive one these days, I simply put away the poem, haiku or tanka, rewrite and submit to another editor. A few of these have been accepted and published. Here’s the essay:

Why must rejection wring the mind so?

These words marching onto this blank screen leaked off a bottle of emotions I had dammed. It’s been a week ago since a rejection note sneaked into my inbox—a single line in bold letters; it’s not the first, but the latest of ten I have received so far. Reading the note then, I felt sand in my eyes, pain that brings on tears. First, they stung and then creeping down my cheeks, they felt cold as a blade. I could be bleeding, I thought, but not from an invisible cut on my cheeks–it must be in my shattered heart.

Why must words of rejection wring the mind so? I had long struggled to understand. No matter how cavalier I talk of my writing, rejection feels like death for me at times. It must be during those times when I wrote too hard and too long so much so that an illusion of perfection shrouded me and darkened that fragile cave—my heart—from which I always imagine I write.

From what do words get birthed anyway? This has always been a mystery to me akin to my search for God. But this I believe in, the universe came to be out of nothing because God so decreed it with words.

I am a being out of nothing. Hence, my words leap onto a screen from the void. Why then must rejection affect me so? I and what words I string together as soon as they slip into some kind of form should turn into objects like asteroids, for one, flinging through the universe. I, who worked on it and that which they have birthed into, should no longer bear any of me.

And yet, complex as is my tiny mind, it also bloats with greed and feels as if words it has put into shape become the universe. How dare then, does anyone reject them?

But in the end, I am grateful for each rejection; it shoves me back into place. The eye does not see the self in whole, only in parts; rejection really hurts only in part. As in every object in the universe, other parts of me that have been spared soon take over and begin to birth again.

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November 25, 2011 Posted by | personal essay, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

what doesn’t end? (reflections out of a haiku prompt)

damselflies
and mourning doves
the tireless sweetness
of chickadees
the languorous dusk
what doesn’t end?

even the sun ends
not of itself but on us
but where else
do meanings lie
but on the shades
that shrink or end
or burst open with our eyes

roses laugh
leaving imprints on whorls
their petals take shape
swallows glance
and in swiftness
understand what longings
we hide

our dawns to waxwings
mere duplicates
of first dawns
we cannot know
midday points to zeniths
we alter in each turn
our mindlessness take

somethings to a fly
we end too soon it savors
until in willingness
though yet undone
its life ends
even as it captures
with million eyes
the universe the way
we cannot

because we resist
somethings do end
as simply as each day

reflections out of a haiku prompt on ‘insects’ in the soon-to-come out August issue of Sketchbook

September 3, 2011 Posted by | free verse, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

…recalcitrant stars and what to me is this haiku moment?

soft rain at dusk
on white magnolias–
recalcitrant stars

What to me is this haiku moment? For me, soft rain at dusk transports thoughts into a magical dimension where reality merges with the unseen. The eye then blurs and in a blink opens to a patch of the universe often easily called poetic moment, one that frees the mind of fences or the masonry of reason. In this haiku, I slipped from the real–soft rain on white magnolias and invisible stars on a dense gray sky–to a confrontation with the galaxies. The stars as in all Nature exist as themselves outside of me but I with a universe within me siphon them with my emotions; in this haiku, I imagine them protesting to descend and touch, perhaps, even kiss the oh, so alluring open-faced magnolias. And not them but the rain is made to fall on infinitesimal lips they imprint as crystal beads in the petals. The haiku for me is a collision of beauty and our imperfect desires, which I projected to the stars. Hence, it must end with just that moment, that tension I feel between the stars grumbling over Nature’s laws, my own recalcitrance over my finiteness really.

Posted for One Shot Wednesday at the inimitable One Stop Poetry, a gathering place for poets and artists, winner of the 2011 Shorty Award for the Arts. Check us out.

May 3, 2011 Posted by | haiku, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

What do you see? (for One Shoot Sunday)

Photo prmpt by James Rainsford

1.
What do you see?
Not the span of my wings I ask not
Or the pin-lock of my beak

My eyes made of gems
Creation shielded you may not covet
If you could a universe

A glimpse of my wings
Such envy it has spawned in hearts like yours
The rufous I bank on in flight

If I perch on a shoulder
You could die in sheer awe of mine–ample
And reddish like the flare of the sun

Unsteady your life as your feet
Had rocked you solid blind to what I see
On my tarsus firm on a twig

2.
Stone from stone
That heart of yours locked in cold
I feel no pity

A head you preened
No sign of polish and spark
In coagulated cells

I squeal I do
Keee-r-r nothing to your hollow ears then
Mortar-filled now as your brain

A soul you wrapped
In manners as translucent as words un-rooted unlike
Mine seed-like but forward in my breast

I winter in forests you burrow
Lifeless in dark cavities imitating iridescent skies
Making it like home but you are wingless

3.
What do you see?
Battlefields you scoured between your agonies
And waning moons?

Or spires that sway under a mid-heaven
You strived to pierce to let spurt secrets
The constellations conceive?

Filigreed walls behind you
Await for storms to cease heaving
Whispering luring the darkness

Columns prop up the dome
You unfurled over the stare of an accusing sky
Do you see their spine corroding?

What do you see?

4.
As stone you see
Not twigs that soon arc to meet
A pink horizon

Or a black patch
Where drooping snowdrops
Bloom tufts on your path

You had trudged
On paths crushing crocuses and dandelions
Shredding silken azalea sighs

Eyes on grit you missed
Evergreens flailing in the wind to snag
the first low star

As you stepped into a
carrion’s day like a crow squawking at sky
hopping on a dumpster grinding by

I’m posting this poem for One Shoot Sunday at One Stop Poetry from a picture prompt by James Rainsford. Come join us in this gathering place where a most amazing selection of talented artists and poets share their work while nurturing each other.

March 20, 2011 Posted by | free verse, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

rose hips

rose hips–
my laughter among the bushes
once

There’s that “ache”, again!

“Yes, it seems to be a constant in my lines. I think in my poetry as in my being–because it’s from where our thoughts rise–pain, real or imagined, balances my leaps of joy. It keeps me aware of how flitting life is, beauty is, how un-changeless yet at the same time how much in constant flux this universe is; hence, how treasured each moment must be.”

That and what follows are from comments I’ve pulled out from my posts regarding the “sadness” and the “ache” in my haiku and other poems.

From Jenne Andrews at http://jenneandrews.wordpress.com re my lyric poem, The Birthing, “there is an ache here and in your other poems i’ve seen that is so potent…”

From Patrick Gillespie at http://poemshape.wordpress.com on my haiku winter beach, “One feels that there’s some sorrow in the relationship. One also wonders why, on a cold winter’s day, they are walking so close to the waves…”

From my reply to Patrick on winter beach, “Yes, Patrick (and Jenne), this sad feeling persists in my poetry. The Japanese aesthetics you couldn’t quite recall, when you wrote your comment on my ‘three tanka’ (qarrtsiluni), is not only “wabi”, as I replied but, “wabi-sabi”. I think it is its metaphysical sense that flows into my poems.

As described by Leonard Koren in his book, “Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers” (Stone Bridge Press, Berkeley, California, 1994 that I recently found in a used bookstore, McLeod’s on Dunsmuir St here in Vancouver, a space so tight one could get caught in an avalanche of books, all gems, much like Strands in New York), the metaphysical basis, which he begins with the question, “what is the universe like?” is “Things are either devolving toward, or evolving from, nothingness…While the universe destructs it also constructs. New things emerge out of nothingness…In metaphysical terms wabi-sabi suggests that the universe is in constant motion toward or away from potential.”

It’s a state of mind I seem to have been aware of as long as I can recall. I have always felt rueful about beauty, and always cried, when absolutely uplifted by works of art especially music; I still do both. I have characters in my short stories and my novella, who sense that at the height of happiness there awaits an equal in the depth of sorrow: my female protagonist in my novella-in-progress (editing and rewriting), “Lovers of the Interior“, exemplifies this thought. But that’s another story–a swing away from haiku!”

I do wish that I could veer away from it more often and walk close to Basho who said that haiku should be light as in shallow water (do I recall this right?) Even Shiki who was writing close to his death could still write with a sense of humor as in this haiku (1901 from Kimiyo Tanaka, Shiki team at haikuworld)

full of spring
rotten oranges
how sweet!

Perhaps I should meet up with Mutusumi often, the Japanese friend who pushed away my “dark” haiku and helped me search for “the wing in my heart”, an experience I hope to post soon!

January 18, 2011 Posted by | haiku, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

trimming the tree/winter full moon

1.
trimming the tree–
a cat’s frame
not a star

2.
winter full moon—
the missing napkin ring
beside the Star

–haiku for jornales friends with my wishes for the most of yours during this Christmas season and the new Year!

The lunar eclipse saluted us first, extravagantly, too, and the winter full moon sails on into our wishes among the constellations, sometimes witnessing for us who cannot see stars skidding through Light Years that will never be visible in our time. The secret in our lives is the moment, the moment lived whether fully or not, aware or not.

The moment I just learned on reading an issue of Poetry (December 2006) is thus the essence of all art. Art must not only capture it but live it for us the way we actually do but can’t fathom–in the hugeness of the universe and Time–until an artist does it for us.

You and I, newbie or master, implanted with the seed to let art blossom must take command–do we have a choice? You and I know we don’t have as it has taken over our souls, the deepset recesses of our being even, as I know from lines you generously leave here. Thank you–if I could but reinvent the word!

last winter in fornt of a dressed-up Vancouver Art Gallery when snow defaulted on Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics

December 23, 2010 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment