How do I regain it

From the collection published in 2022, Writing Notebook 2021.

How do I regain it

Speak to me
The Altered one
I Look at
What I am afraid to see

It does not
Remark me

I acquire
Bold and
Approaching and
Arriving and

Leave-taking Sudden
as if
The sky shaken
The stars burst
then fell
They did not

I ask you:
What memory can I make of it all?


Shadorma 289, Haiku 826

From the collection published in 2021, The Immediate and No Sooner.

Shadorma 289

Lightning strike
from the white sky
Summer glare
turned sullen
flipped to angry. Asphalt streets
steam in pelting rain.

Haiku 826

Raises her right arm
signals out to the darkness
Her face impassive

The removal

From the collection published in 2022, Writing Notebook 2021.

The removal

Approaching the
Unsettled and uncertain
In Turbulence

I watch
The silver fish slip downstream
Slice through the cold green and
Flash Past me And away

I wait
My soul eased


Tanka 168, Shadorma 288

From The Immediate and No Sooner, 2021.

Tanka 168

Tie a green ribbon.
Wrap all your fingers. Look now –
you have a green thumb!
Cheater-style, yes, but try it.
Plant flower seeds. See them grow.

Shadorma 288

Sharp snaggle
snapping kind of teeth –
You have them.
I want them.
You sink them into my arm.
Ow. Not what I meant.

A few new: *in which I attend a haiku/haiga program*

Last night I participated in an online program given by the National Gallery of Art called Virtual Studio | Haiku and Haiga: Transforming Poetry into Visual Art. Led by poet/artist/teacher Sean Felix, the program involved looking at a work of art, writing a couple of haiku about it, and then using one of our works to create a guided artwork (haiga being the artwork created from the poetry).

The image we used for our reference was Cattleya Orchid and Three Hummingbirds, 1871, by Martin Johnson Heade. I’m going to tell you right now that I found this painting vaguely disturbing, almost creepy. I felt I was looking at an alien world that was not too friendly. Also, I don’t much like orchids anyway – there is just something about them that I find kind of threatening. And hummingbirds? I’ve never felt the same about them since I learned about their true personalities.


We discussed the haiku form and then spend some time viewing the artwork, in the first quick session focusing on what we saw, and in another look, what other senses were evoked by the image. After each examination we wrote a haiku.

Then, taking one of our haiku, we focused intently on our words, and then, eyes closed, drew a continuous line around our paper to depict the elements or sensations of our words. Once done, we opened our eyes and added color.

Here is the haiku I wrote that I used for the haiga exercise. We had about 5 minutes to come up with something. My mind was full of feelings and speculations about the painting and I had a hard time focusing and paring down in that short of a time, so I think my work was pretty vanilla:

crushed leaves underfoot
release their scents to the air
I taste the warm mist

But so what? It worked fine for the next part of the exercise. Here is the artwork I made to accompany it:

I had a black-gessoed page already set up in a sketchbook, so I used that as my surface, and my drawing materials were colored pencils. As I drew the continuous line, using a white pencil, I consciously tried to include the visual elements I mentioned in the haiku. Each one is in here more than once (take my word for it). Once done, I went over the line in pink and then colored everything in.

Now that I understand the process, I would certainly do it again. I think almost any scene could work as the inspiration to start things off – it doesn’t have to be an artwork – but I liked the aspect of paying very close attention to the art a lot. I was forced to go much deeper than the usual passing glance an artwork might get as I flip pages in a book or walk along in a museum.

And, it’s a very contemplative process. You have to slow down and go deep into your mind to be able to come up with words and art. It felt good to do it.


I’m still thinking about the picture today. Here are two more poems inspired by this session. I think you will clearly see my feelings as I look upon this scene. (I guess the word “stink” kind of cues you in. Oh dear.)

Tanka 302

the stink of wet heat.
the pink orchid in the gloom.
the warm mist veiling
the frilled gleam held in the grasp
of bulbous alien leaves


Haiku 999

leaves trod underfoot
release their stink to the air
with each step I take


I encourage you to take a look at the National Gallery of Art’s site. There are so many resources there and like this workshop, they are free. This museum is another one of the institutions that I discovered during the pandemic when I was looking for online resources, classes, lectures, and activities. I thank them for their generosity to me, the average citizen. And I thank our instructor, Sean Felix, and my classmates for a great experience.

A False Start Cannot Be Repaired Later

From the collection The Immediate and No Sooner, 2021.

A False Start Cannot Be Repaired Later

counted once:
one hundred fifteen.
counted twice:
the stitches
now one hundred seventeen
filling out the row

Count again:
finger the stitches
slide down the
wood needle
the numbers added whispered
under your breath

The truth is
the yarn must obey
the numbers
first cast on
laid out now. You knit only
when the numbers say.

shadorma chain

From the weekly staff meeting: mystery writer and characters

From the collection Writing Notebook 2021, published in 2022.

From the weekly staff meeting:
mystery writer and characters

(Listen. The author is speaking.
The characters sit in various postures
around the conference table.)

I’m sorry.
So the itching killed him. Now you
You grab that stomping good bowl of granola and
Still dead
sit down. How about a jelly doughnut
He’s still dead
It’s raspberry. Trust me.
So he’ll never say another word
but I will.
Breakfast. Eat. Itch. Die.
You too.
Yes, you.
That’s what happens in chapter two.
Now that I’ve explained it
both of you there
you get your things together
Pack’em up. Or pack it in –
however you like to think of it –
you are written off and written out
of the book
In other words you are

Sorry. But chapter three
needs some room in it.
That’s all for today.
See the rest of you here next week.


Shadorma 287, Tanka 167

From The Immediate and No Sooner, published in 2021.

Shadorma 287

guessing game:
skip across the clues
in the stream
of logic flowing past you
going way too fast

Tanka 167

The muddy snake coils
a mild river yesterday.
Today its fanged mouth
bites at the land. Floods it dead.
The snake devours its trapped prey.

Next, Hail

From the collection published in 2022, Writing Notebook.

Next, Hail

Clouds move in mass up

One bold hard streak of lightning

fries the transformer

loud boom pop zzzt bzzz

There go the lights and there go

my nerves. Thunderstorm.

haiku chain