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Posts Tagged ‘japan’

Retreat.

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roll it up.

i’ve eaten more sushi with this woman than could fit in the sea of japan.

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Willow.

I read a haiku today.  

“ill-tempered I returned, 

and then in the garden

the willow tree.”

There’s something about a willow tree, the way it extends a caring arm to hold you close. Protected, I read by its trunk as it swayed in the breeze.

It reached for the water, if nothing more but for a simple laugh, dipping its toes in with every sachay of the branches.

I took a garden walk today and that’s what summer is for.

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True fact : In Paris, all toilets are made of solid gold.

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Every time she sees some kid’s balloon floating up high, up above the rooftops, up up into the sky, she thinks “Shit!  My balloon!”

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Do this with me quick.  I am going to write 10 countries and you write down the first person from that country that comes to mind.  Try not to think about it too much.  Example:  Italy – Dante.  Got it?  Okay, go!  

1.  USA                                 6.  Mexico

2.  Spain                               7.  Russia 

3.  France                             8.  China

4.  Canada                            9.  Japan

5.  Germany                         10.  India

Check out the comments for my answers and conclusion.

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The American Haiku

“Then I’ll invent

     the American Haiku type:

     The simple rhyming triolet:–

Seventeen syllables?

No, as I say, American Pops:–

Simple 3-line poems”

                         -Jack Kerouac, Reading Notes 1965

 

…and with that, Kerouac laid out his treatise on the Western Haiku.

Here’s something you might not know: Haiku is both singular and plural.  “I wrote one Haiku.”  “I wrote two Haiku.”  Here’s something you most likely do know: The Haiku was developed over hundreds of years in Japan to be a complete poem in a mere 17 syllables and to compact an entire vision of life into three short lines.  

Arguing that the Japanese language has a syllabic fluidity that western languages do not, Kerouac tossed out the 17 syllable rule and simply kept the three line vision of life.  

So here’s some Kerouac’s grand masterworks:

 

“The windmills of 

    Oklahoma look

In every direction.”

 

“One flower

    on the cliffside

Nodding at the canyon.”

 

“In the medicine cabinet

     the winter fly

Has died of old age.”

 

I had a friend once  in High School and we wrote notes to one another in English class solely in Haiku.  We had to communicate everything, from how we were feeling, to what yesterday’s homework was, all in three short lines.  Do it enough, and it changes the way you look at things.  

Life becomes distilled.

Here is an often favorited Kerouac quote form before his Haiku days, from the begining of On the Road.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!””

… a tad scattered, no?  He is caught up in the action, not the master of his own world.  And here is some prose from after his Haiku satori.  This was a travel piece for Holiday Magazine in 1963:

Oklahoma— in any direction flat, pure, quiet.  Cows rushing like dots as tho they were as far away as Nebraska.  Grain elevators waiting for the farmers to come home from church.  Grain elevators, like tall trucks waiting for the road to approach them.  Radio antennae hard to see somewhere…. Windmills looking in every direction.”

So next time life seems more complicated than it needs to be, try to compress your entire world view into three lines, and read it over, and write it over, and commit to those three lines and then do it again. I mean, despite the e-mails and the phone calls and the bills to pay and the dog to feed, life really just is a few lines.  

And how simple and myseterious those lines are.

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