Friday, September 28, 2012

Eighty-one; homemade books

In honor of my father's birthday:


my father building 
new closet shelves,
once more rearranging
the deepening layers

Simply Haiku, Spring 2008; Take Five, Vol. 1

homemade books—
You can be a writer
my dad once said
though hoping, I suspect,
I'd do something sensible

Simply Haiku, Spring 2008

Over the past couple of years, he's spoken again of building shelves. I don't get it. And this time, I can't see him getting around to it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The oldest oak

the oldest oak
by our wet-weather creek
succumbs to drought—
with this spray from the hose
a rainbow still forms

Atlas Poetica, No. 12, Summer 2012

Sadly, that huge tree had to be removed.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bills laid out; I contemplate

A couple of tanka-esque poems, or kyoka, from Prune Juice. Have always loved the name of that online journal.

bills laid out
for payment by phone . . .
I clear my throat
before conversing
with the automated voice

I contemplate 
buying "hotel" towels . . .
as advertised,
the comforts of home
away from home, while at home

Prune Juice, Issue 9, July 2012

Will post more from Prune Juice in the near future.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I hand water

I hand water
a beautyberry— 
differing views
my neighbor and I
on what a weed is

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Southeastern United States, including pinewoods of east Texas
—"From Lime Trees to Eucalypts: A Botany of Tanka," an Atlas Poetica special feature, August 2011
Now that so much vegetation has been cleared from our lot, including a number of tall, struggling pines, the resultant brightness has enabled the beautyberry plants to thrive. Though they're close to invasive around here and in dry spells can look pretty scraggly, I've chosen to keep many of them. First, in early summer, the delicate flowers are unveiled, then before summer's end, there are those berries that resemble no other berries I've ever seen. 

Note: I very much enjoy reading the Atlas Poetica special features, where 25 poems on a given theme are selected. I'm especially looking forward to the next feature, on ekphrastic tanka, which should be published sometime this fall.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Months later; nonstop footage

Time to pull these poems out again while it's still the peak of the season here on the Gulf coast. Not counting the recent rage of Isaac, the 2012 season has been on the quiet side. Seven years ago, deadly Katrina missed us in the Houston area. But three years later, Ike pretty much came right for us; interesting times.

months later
he still clutches
the bowling ball—
all he could salvage
after Katrina

Hurricane Katrina, late Aug. 2005
—Wisteria, July 2006Haiku News, Oct. 2009; Take Five, Vol 2

nonstop footage
of surge-battered homes
.....near our back door
.....a small displaced turtle
.....retreats into its shell

Hurricane Ike, Sept. 13, 2008
—Moonset, Spring-Summer 2009; Haiku News, Oct. 2009; Take Five, Vol 2

Am happy I came across my photos of the actual little turtle I describe here—and hope it found its way.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Having lost

having lost
some of the brightness
from my eyes
I choose a new shirt
in cloudless-sky blue

American Tanka, #21, June 2012

More photos by ImageANAlogy: 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Using sieves; days after

using sieves
as prospectors would
they search
for nuggets of life
beneath their home's ashes

days after
the wildfires
we venture out
among the charred-stick pines. . .
too fortunate for our bones

Atlas Poetica, Number 12, Summer 2012

The first major wildfire in our drought-stricken area began on Father's Day, June 2011, when I happened to be in Houston. The flames reportedly erupted only about 1-1/2 miles from our new place to the north, and with the right shift in wind direction, we would have been particularly vulnerable. Though the fire caused significant devastation, ultimately a big rain came. Fire did make its way into the front part of our small rustic community, but no major damage occurred there.

The next local wildfire, far more widespread (up to 22,000 acres or so were affected), began less than three months later, on Labor Day. We'd left the house for Houston (with a bad tire, which was another story) an hour before the first fire broke out. Due to evacuation orders, we ended up staying in Houston, one of us with flu, for eight days. The flames kept hopping around, and at several points our new home was in what appeared to be the direct path of the main outbreak, dubbed the "Riley Road" fire; we'd only just finished moving there. To give a sense of perspective, our community is located right off Riley Road. Fire did damage parts of the neighborhood, but amazingly, no residents suffered any property damage, thanks in great part to the firefighters. A number of others not far away weren't as lucky, though, including the small "Country Haircuts" enterprise (though they're rebuilding). And sprinkled up and down Riley Road, and many other places too, souvenirs still remain: acres and acres of downed fences and charred forest that gradually is being cleared.

Several massive forest fires also occurred in other locations throughout Texas, most notably in Bastrop, where more than 1600 homes were destroyed.