Wednesday, December 9, 2015

MarkYoung's Sine Waves Towards the Surface Tension and Basho Bored with the Heron

A Newly Discovered "Bashōic" Haiku

Looking for a wedge to force into the afternoon, sort of split it in two. Boredom creeping in. Too cold to go for a swim, & if I read or watch tv I'll just go to sleep in the chair. Driving's the answer, that old foot down flat to the floor routine, out & about, Steppenwolf forever.

Decide to take Bashō along for the ride – he hasn't been the same ever since he read William Gibson's last four books in the one sitting & realized the old Japan he knew & loved no longer existed. A little stir-crazy lately, so seeing bucolic might stop his melancholy.

We head south, following the backroads, or at least those that are sealed. Sine waves of fast-braking tyre rubber staining the bitumen. Pick up the vibe but don't try to add to it. Instead
stop somewhat sedately at the lagoon where the black swans are, get out, smoke a cigarette as we watch a couple of eagles ride the thermals above the water.

Lower down a heron stands on a fallen tree trunk until it gets bored by the lack of fish & flies away. Bashō watches it, flicks his dying cigarette towards where it was. Doesn't look at me. Says:

Fuck this nature shit!
Let's go home, watch anime
on cable tv.

urban transit

How to work out
what to in-
clude? The selection
wasn't yours
in the first place—just
things that happened
along a bus route
you just happened to
live on. Never
caught the bus. Some-
times heard it go
by, sometimes
watched it
disappearing into
the not-too-far
distance. Close enough
to see that there
was no-one
in the backseat
telling the driver to
wait, to let you catch
up, to let you get on.

A littoral translation

As if
frozen, that
moment when the
river is / between
the tides. Mud
meters out from
the mangroves. The
rocks exposed. A single
pelican near the other
bank, reluctant to
move, to relieve
the surface tension.

Mark Young is the editor of Otoliths, lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry for more than fifty-five years. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. A new collection of poems, Bandicoot habitat, has recently come out from gradient books of Finland.

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