Friday, February 23, 2007


As the last example (for the moment) of my practice
of exchange-poetry, here's a completed renga with
Lawrence and Kerry as comrade players.

As you'll see, we ride very loosely on the rules,
most often veering into senryu, more inspired
by Kerouac's "American Haiku" than the astringencies
of the classic form.


Looking in his father's closet
after the funeral
ten pair of old shoes

dust that hides under the bed
once sun-dazzled through the air

Under the suitcase
Old workboots in the closet --
they were married then

840,000,000 steps
on the way to the Bardo

walk my path a while,
a teacher's path -- through darkness
children with bright eyes

The path from his house to the stream --
walked while thinking of women

huge, non-human, yes,
yet always for him the Muse
leaves girlish footprints

the very first thing she noticed
his ancient Taryn Rose loafers

the shoes in the hall,
thrown into a cardboard box,
car driving away.

carried her into the house
warmed water to wash her feet

home for a duck or death for a crow
just beneath the surface --
this fathomless ocean

barefoot with toes painted coral,
won't hear talk of autumn leaves

The Big Easy flooded and broken
high in that magnolia tree
hang a pair of old shoes

a wave of great waters came;
winds, rouse waves of compassion

wailing of children,
weeds and stones strewn in the houses
after retreating water

that red wine of suffering
so many sipping

hunters, gatherers,
a woman one hundred five
holding a child's hand

mailing blankets to Houston,
her own children warm and fed

when all's been taken,
oh for an old pair of shoes,
an old tossed out pot

bronzed for his sixty-fifth birthday
his first pair of shoes

Salt on the front steps,
Three gulls perched on the roof –
Still, three pictures hanging

old eyes need a doctor's touch:
off he goes in his old shoes



At February 23, 2007 at 8:53 PM , Blogger Lisa Asanuma said...

Hi Barry! I just might keep an eye on this.

At October 31, 2007 at 1:12 PM , Blogger Catnapping said...

dang, i wish i could say great minds think alike, but unlike you, i'm not really a poet, and this old attempt of mine pretty much stinks***

...but yesterday (when i first came by) i was taken with the fact that we both look at dust in much the same way...

***which is why i pretty much stick to doggerel and senryu these days.


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