Light breath on my back

Light breath on my back

Warm breasts resting on the small

Shall we fall asleep?


7 thoughts on “Light breath on my back

  1. Nicely done … I don’t write haiku (usually because my brain is too crowded with words. It takes me seventeen syllables to say “Hello”. But, I admire those who write haiku — good haiku. (I love Basho, Issa, Tu Fu — and, the Zen-like quality, the way that such beauty can be created with so few words always amazes me).

    • That is the reason why I started working on the haiku and tanka forms: forced brevity. However, I’ve been doing it so long I don’t think I can even do longer poems! Your “neuro-pathways” Journey poem is of a length beyond my talents. Half-way through I’d probably start talking about puppies or something.

      • Part of the beauty of language is how different people use it to express themselves. You challenged yourself to brevity, and, after awhile, it became habit. For me, I write longer pieces. Poetry is rather new to me so I’m still enjoying all the various things one can do with it. I’m not a professional poet by any stretch of the imagination. I only started reading it seriously a few years ago.

        It would be interesting to know how much your environment influences your preference for haiku/tanka. You are in the land where the forms began after all. Perhaps if you go live in the Scottish Highlands, or the English Lake District, you’ll write long, rambling poems like Wordsworth.

        Do you read a lot of poetry of various kinds, or just write?

        • As with most things, I am quite manic/depressive about what, when, and who I read. As for what I read, I’m a musician first and foremost, so most of my influences seem to come from that angle. The Beatles, The Kinks, and Wilco all are highly influential to me as well as Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and Muddy Waters. So, I can be a bit all over the place.

          My biggest influences as far as poets seems to be Emily Dickinson, which bread my love of common meter (and it’s variations) and Nature poetry. Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” is also a favorite and reminds me to vary my forms a bit.

          Now, location and inspiration are also often linked for me. I remember playing shows throughout the Oklahoma/Texas region and feeling uniquely inspired by the city in which I was playing, and this in turn had an effect on the way I performed that night.

          So, does Japan affect my writing, particularly regarding haiku/tanka? Absolutely! However, I started writing those well before I lived here. To figure out why exactly I gravitate to these forms, I have to go back to why I started studying religion, language, and philosophy. I do think that I would adopt and explore the local literary/poetic customs of any place I lived to try and better understand my new home. After all, this is all just various forms of communication, same as music and language and food (culture for brevity).

          And after all that bull and “elevated,” high-minded mularky, I do like focusing on one moment of being, nature, and exploring what this means to me greater than just a sunset or a cloud moving.

          And finally, as for what I read. I’m currently working on “Infinite Jest” and “Capital in the 21st Century.” I need to read more… 😀

        • Ah — the ol’ manic/depressive. I’m guessing that you’re not just speaking metaphorically? I’m bipolar (though, I must admit, I’ve a fondness for the old “manic depressive” label as it is more descriptive, and is fun to say around people because it makes one sound crazier. Bipolar just doesn’t have the same flair …

          The “this blog was made for you and me” gave away the Woody Guthrie influence … and, Leadbelly, Muddy Waters, Lightning Hopkins, Robert Johnson … all those great blues musicians — I think their influence is vast. The Blues is complex, yet often very simple (lyrically), so I can see how that could inspire the brevity in your poetry.

          When I was 19 (thirty years ago), I worked for a bookstore chain — and, one day, I picked up a collection of Dickinson. I had not read her before, and found it interesting. Then a coworker came by, and mentioned that most of Dickinson’s poems can be sung to the tune of “Yellow Rose of Texas” (at least, I think that is the song she told me). She then proceeded to “sing” several of the poems to the tune, and it took me about twenty-five years to forget exactly what song she said, and to lose the memory of her singing the songs. Once I could read Emily without hearing a song in my head, I found her poems fascinating. I like that they can be read a variety of ways — there doesn’t always seem to be a concrete interpretation. And, I am a big Whitman fan. I think it’s the “we’re all the same” theme that hooked me.

          You mentioned in another comment that you were glad that someone found your musings interesting. I do. And, you’ll have to forgive my long-windedness. My partner and I live with my 91-y/o mom, and I don’t work, so I can be here full-time. While I don’t necessarily miss having to go to work –especially on the snowy days — I do miss the social aspect of it. Mostly, I’m a bit of a loner. Work gave me enough of a social outlet, and I was good with that. Having lost that, I find that I go days without speaking to anyone other than my mom or my partner. (I talk to the dogs too, but they’re not good at holding up their end of the conversation). So, I find your poems worth reading — and, then you responded with more than a one sentence answer … you seem like a friendly, intelligent person, and I hope my long comments aren’t too horribly long. 🙂

        • Not too long, and as a mostly stay at home house husband, I get the isolation/alienation thing. Also, the friendly part I will cop to, but not so much the latter. 🙂

          You’re also the first person to point out the Guthrie lyric in the byline. Very nice! As a native Oklahoman, that influence is quite hard to avoid.

          And miss Emily… My last semester of college was wonderful due mostly to a poetry class that focused solely on her poems. Oddly enough, the most looked at post on my site is my scansion of “Ample make this bed.” I can tell when students get assigned this work by my views… “Amazing Grace” also works with the iambs in common meter poems, such as ED’s, quite well, too.

          You’re always welcome to post and comment all you like. After all, this side was made for you and me.

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