Spring 2019 Showcase

I’m an editor! I’m the editor!

I’ve been out of my comfort-zone editing the zen space. I don’t read, nor have I ever read zen or Japanese poetry, though I did flirt with the haibun for a spell. I have had my falling-out with the philosophy of zen in the past (after a period in which I attempted to follow its stricture) and yet, regardless of my criticisms, I got all zen in my bones.

I won’t confess to a great sea-change, but reading the submissions did go some way to persuading me of what I am missing: it isn’t necessary to exhaust themes in a poem, the haiku, the truncated, elliptical phrasing of a moment can be an exhale, a fragment fallen from a hyperobject, it can be a jolt to begin a tangent.

So I learned and that’s always something to go for.

We have tiny poems from across the globe, as well as posthumous works with an introduction from the esteemed poet Robert Okaji, and even a chameleon.

The photographs have been provided by myself. I felt that the chiaroscuro of monochrome somehow suited the mood, as well as the personality of the abstract to tug at the reader’s own effort to extend the truncated in their own pause: reflect: pause: reflect.

So while you are reading and looking, sop up the images, the moods and textures then see where they lead: a walk, a thought, another poem, moods and textures of your own shading.

Daniel Paul Marshall
Guest Editor

[Technical note: Some readers may notice the occasional dot or asterisk to the left of the Showcase panel. This is due to a formatting problem as yet untraced and unsolved.
MM, Editor-in-chief]

coyly carping

__________

Ron Evans

Some poets fabricate lengthy narrative works, others apply their talents to lyrical lines and elliptical pieces, alternating between formal complexity and layered combinations of sonic beauty and craft techniques to reveal the meaning and delight, the horrors, the aesthetic core, of their poems. But Ron Evans walked a different path, offering at most seventeen syllables in each piece to convey timeless, universal truths.

Born and raised in Texas, Ron’s work career included secondary school teaching, computer operating and programming, preaching, writing and editing for the aerospace industry, and lecturing/tour guiding at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Through it all, he wrote.

Ron died in September. I wish we had more of his work to offer, but to get the flavor of his writing, and of the man, read these eight words:

Snowflake
on my tongue
the taste of silence

What do you see? Feel? A crisp, early winter morning, not quite dawn, snowflakes sifting past streetlights toward boot-clad feet. An open mouth, that joyous instant of catching a single flake on the tongue, and the elusive, wistful moment before it melts and disappears, joining countless others on that journey to nothingness, presenting a micro-glimpse at the realization of one’s insignificance and the transformation of childlike wonder into weighty speculations on eternity. Simple, no?

Of course not. These ten syllables resulted from decades of work dedicated to the craft and art of writing haiku. And that’s what you’ll find in this short selection: a lifetime of philosophy, bliss, sorrow, joy, and above all, humor. Ron was a good friend. I miss him.

— Robert Okaji, February 17, 2019

*

*

lifting his leg
to the moon — a small dog
claims heaven and earth

*

*

jury break —
the foreman braids his hair
in a hangman’s noose

*

*

same old drum beat
a new preacher
pounds his Bible

*

*

dawn
on the cell tower
red lights wink dimmer

*

*

sudden urge
to putty
the plumber’s crack

*

*

firefly
enough light to read
Mason on the jar

*

*

these people
this rush of flowers —
what are their names

*

*

sunset —
a bat brushes
my shadow

__________

light at the end of the

Kathy Boles-Turner

*

*

A new blank page bears
silent magic, like the woods
after a deep snow.

*

*

Winter blue is a
sky color somewhere between
bone chill and heartbreak.

*

*

Take your time, eyes closed,
inhale the scent of childhood:
south wind, warm rain, home.

*

*

When her lips move with
more prayers, I try to catch a
glimpse of yesterday’s
gilt-framed pictures blurring
the edges of her mind’s eye.

*

*

Where the eldest trees
make a summer-long, feathery
canopy of green
above a southbound road—
that’s the place for our goodbyes.

*

*

His voice brings to mind
turquoise skies and coppery
miles of railroad tracks.

*

*

Whiskey fume rivers
flooded in cold winter rains.
No lifeboats arrived.

*

*

That’s a mighty fine
high horse you have there. Perhaps,
we should help you down.

nothing is what it seems 900

__________

Stephanie L. Harper

Watering the Garden

.

hummingbird hovers—
heirloom tomatoes fatten
amid brief rainbows

*

*

Fluid Mechanics

poetic gravitas—
perturbations dense & hot
causing turbulence

*

*

Mercury in Retrograde

dillydallying
planet cleaves us from orbit,
upturning oceans

.

.

Cuttlefish

As you negotiate the sea-floor

by climbing into ideal forms,

& becoming the unflappable

doppelgängers of corals, urchins,

algae-stained stones, & heliotrope

shimmers in the blue-green depths,

playing at the countless personas

you were born understanding

would all one day be yours—

I witness, immutably smitten.

*

*

Remains the Dark

                           “How I wanted to be that sky—”

~ Ocean Vuong

What is want, if not the forsaken
self’s inexorable reversion to self?

Just as your virtual arrival at the event
horizon must propagate only departure

this eternal leaving you actually are
is the mouth’s forgotten swallow,

is sustenance un-sought,
is your every trace & its antithesis

at once ceasing to mean.
Though emptied, you are no less

unfathomable: the black belly remains
the dark you’ll never grasp how to be.

.

.

Fight or Flight

if only the danger were the unseen

            cutting-away of daylight

crouched in the brush

                        then     maybe

a silent closing-in

            a clouting     & an amber gaze

would hold me                        dilated

            in my raptured knowing

                                                of a throat untethered

                                    from its million-year-unrest—

reflections 900

__________

Jeff Rich

.

Late winter song

My mind crumbles now.
The shakuhachi forgets
The late winter song.
Dismal science everywhere
Except this circle of fire.

.

.

Commuter train

I swipe through the faces,
Connections I barely touch.
Make my line, poet?
Hanging like a drying shirt
From the dowager strap.

*

*

Black Saturday

Rain falls in February:
The burnt out town sings
in its brick circle.

*

*

The mind

I climb the mountain
Where only the madness lives
And take one last bloom.
I descend the barren hill
And throw petals in the wind.

*

*

Winter phrases

The pill foil is done.
I have lost my haiku book
And my therapist.
Sweet sessions of memories
Cascade over the green stone.

taper 900

__________

Lynne Burnett

*

through our bedroom window:
leafless trees, a moon,
the shine of naked limbs

*

*

The empty peach hammock
of tonight’s moon swings
between two stars: spilled dreams

*

*

Driving home, half a melon
moon through the black gauze
of branches, beats me

*

*

up from a cloud of gravel
peeks the half-moon
of a tire

*

*

snapdragons clutched
by a rock wall:
mustard on an old man’s face

*

*

in the glade’s cloaked silence
the shade-soaked song of
one bird plays

.

.

Busy Time

A city unto itself,
harder to leave
than enter,

with whole neighbourhoods
you could get lost in
and long hilly streets
cobbled with purpose
and promise, all going
somewhere you had to
or wanted,

and brightly painted houses
heaped haphazardly,
light shining from every window,
holding back the night.

the ribs of palm 900

__________

Jose Angel Araguz

*

a couple lives together like painting:
marks of color, touch, re-touch,
silence. A look in the eyes,
not at what’s there,
but at what could happen there.

*

*

What the hand takes, the shoulder carries.
This means the pen in my hand, the words inked out:
Moments of hesitation. Of letting go.
Thinking weighs down the back.
Goes further into the body than perceived.

—after a Chinese proverb

*

*

The half-eaten apple is losing the war.
See the rot charge with its flags:
brown                         silent               relentless.
You here with your mouth
traffic with the enemy.

*

*

A birdling, strong enough for flight,
learns to speak in circles at first. Distances, seasons,
come later. Its body, made to trace the air,
knows little at first, then a little more.
Then a little more.

*

*

The rabbit would blend in
with the dirt and rocks were it not
for its tail: a white
no paint, no word
can catch.

*

*

Having written three days straight, no sleep,
he smiles as he walks through the graveyard.
The morning sun takes its time, does not
want to interrupt: breath flares,
crackles: the work of an unseen fire.

for Takuboku Ishikawa

*

*

when smoke makes eyes water
ash is trying to pile
back into what it was
and the eyes
won’t have it

*

*

the pen runs out of ink
and to make sure I scratch
lines into the margins
without ink
only impressions are left

eye hole

__________

Diana Teneva

*

on the porch
…a chair rocking
the waning moon

*

*

perigee moon–
a huge cup of
ginger tea

.

.

my grandpa’s house…
so many love stories
walled in here

.

.

a graveyard…
sunflowers shade
my mum’s tomb

*

*

nearest distance –
sending my kisses
through skype

*

*

cherry petals –
our fleeting moments
before saying goodbye

Medusa & her sisters 900

__________

Chen-ou Liu

*

last thread
of winter moonlight
hospice window

*

*

winter drizzle
the tuneless whistle
of a homeless teen

*

*

first day of school
the outstretched wings
of a monarch

*

*

barbed wire fence
the night guard patrols
in snow light

*

*

her black hair
spread over my pillow
a spill of moonlight

the vine reclaims 900

__________

Jesus Chameleon

.

Senryu

drunk,
instead of two turtle doves
two chickens

wedding feast
the bride still in white
hitched twice before

a genius brooding over concrete thoughts sitting on a block

street urchin jokes as my uncle walks the town selling seafood

banyan tree
between gossamer-like roots
ghosts regroup

*

Haiku

wood
another world has
many pools

.

.

the way home
reddish brown soil marks
the bank

 

.

stuff
yellow and green gets
us back or out

.

.

Magic
we come to
another world

.

.

Hall of Images
the great palace collapses on
a fearless Queen

.

.

ebony
black metal is not found
in our world

.

.

Queen
things and people stand
in the way

.

.

withered sun
buildings cast
long shadows

.

.

roar of battle
the river of Charn ran
red

.

.

The Deplorable Word
a sun becomes
so big!

.

.

magnet
the Queen comes
too!

.

.

stillness
grown-ups have
another kind

temple by water 900

__________

Check out the current editions of Haibun Today and Contemporary Haibun Online. If you happen to get in touch to compliment the editors or contributors, please mention that you heard about them here at the zen space. Please also visit Guest editor Daniel Paul Marshall’s page to read his poetry, essays, etc.

The next Showcase at the zen space will be Summer 2019 which will be released, subject to karma, on 1st July 2019As always, the editor is looking for haiku, short poetry, in-the-moment bursts of language, and original illustrations. New ‘names’ are especially welcome.

Please note that the copyright of all written work and images used in this Showcase and elsewhere in the zen space is held by the creating author/artist, even when not explicitly stated, and may not be used elsewhere without permission.

 

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4 thoughts on “Spring 2019 Showcase

  1. memadtwo says:

    A wonderful assortment and the photos really punctuate the words. (K)

    • Thank you for the kind observations. I am really very much an amateur picture-taker & am delighted the photos punctuated the poetry well enough to rouse a sensibility. Thank you thank you thank you.

      • memadtwo says:

        Black and white photos really force you to look, and you have a good eye for form, which works well with the poetry featured, which is also focused and well formed.
        All artists should be amateurs I think.

  2. Oh, I’m want to eat all of these up! Gorgeous photographs, Daniel! Thank you for sharing my poems 🙂

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