Peace Cranes

This image from Gail Rieke helps usher in the new year with a hopeful feeling.

http://ridetheflyingcarpet.blogspot.com/

It brought to mind a visit to Hiroshima four years ago:

Hiroshima
today it’s just a station
on the bullet train

Or, more than that, it’s a lovely city with great food and shopping. I don’t know why I expected it to be frozen in the past, a smoking ruin. That’s as foolish as expecting to be met by Puritans in black hats at Boston’s Logan Airport. Still, it is a pilgrimage, different than a Tokyo neighborhood of food stalls or the earthly delights of Hakata Station in Fukuoka. We get an AirBnB near the Peace Park.
Everything is an adventure. This is Japan, after all, and I’m traveling with my daughter and son-in-law. I adore them, but they are millennials, and different than me. Three futons are laid out, and we all sleep in one room. I could never have done that with my own mother.

Peace Park
a twig broom sweeps
the wind

One of the more upsetting pieces for me is a memorial to the girls’ school where the students died. Because Japan was still under occupied forces when it was built, the U.S. said that the sculptor could not reference the atom bomb by name in this plea for peace. So “atom bomb” is replaced with “E=mc squared.”

no sleeping
on park benches, pigeons,
the funeral mound

tailless black cat
on its own
mysterious errand

tourists weeping
and snapping
cell phone photos

A giant tortoise, memorializing Koreans, is surrounded by Japanese sparrows.

We’re from New Mexico. An hour from Los Alamos where the A-bomb was birthed, monstrous, into this world. And somehow I feel more implicated by this more than by being an American. Even though these events happened before I was born. But we talk about Robert Oppenheimer and Los Alamos as we enter the museum. And there are shocked to find not one mention of either name. No New Mexico. No father of the bomb. A great deal of accurate and interesting history, and from the Japanese perspective. Melted roof tiles. Photographs of disastrous ruin. But not our own guilt terrain.
I feel I need to apologize to someone but nothing here demands apology. Instead, the greatest focus is on peace.
At the neighborhood shrine after I bow and drop my coins in the box I’m surprised to have a Shinto priest appear and shake a branch tied with white cloth over my head. But I feel better. I can’t just leave the Peace Park and go looking for lunch without a transition.

the word for “gods”
and “paper”
sounds just the same

I buy
origami sheets to fold
cranes for a friend.

Forest Fire Spotter, Lighthouse Keeper, Hotdog Stand Owner, Writer by Mark Pumphrey

A lone forest fire spotter sits Zen-like in a tower at the top of a slope in the Gila National Forest as he has done day in and day out for the past twelve years. He cannot read—distracting. He cannot watch television—eyes on the forest. He cannot talk on his phone—bad signal and too much dividing of his attention in case of a fire. He can only sit zazen, staring into the green and blue as they meet just above the tree line on the other shore above the lake below him. He had a canary once, but the canary died. And the forestry department did not approve of the canary.

The fire spotter chose his job and it chose him. He was one of those individuals, along with lighthouse keepers, hotdog stand owners and writers, who must have freedom before they can breathe. Who must be alone before they can ever be with other people. Who must have silence and inertness before any action can arise in them.

When the fire comes, he is then ready, and bolts into action, in the zone required for a sensible and efficient resolution of a dangerous situation.

The lonely lighthouse keeper, wife long dead, groping in the dark on a wind-swept, stormy shore, being overcome with an internal darkness except when in the tower watching out for the boats in distress in the night, is a stereotype that may be closer to the reality than we think. Am I the only person who has ever longed for such an existence?

The independence of the hot dog stand owner-master of his own destiny, answering to no one but himself, is probably a myth. Those buns and condiments have to come from somewhere. But how many of us as working stiffs whose creativity has been stamped out by the gods of bureaucracy have not longed to be our own boss, doing our own thing and doing it in the way we believe to be the most meaningful?

As a writer, I too, must have quiet. I must be alone. No café writing for me. No putting pen to paper before first sitting and emptying my mind of all thought. Only then can the real writing of consequence occur. Only then can meaning come into the writing, for my self and for others who choose to read what I have written.

***

This piece was written earlier this month in a Tumblewords workshop on zoom from El Paso. The prompt was a painting by Margarete Bagshaw that references forest fire, “The Day The Sun Turned Red”  36″ X 48″
In honor of Indian Market, 2011

First Sculpture Up In Poetry Yard

Desiccation: Dormancy: Deluge, a sculpture by Isabel Winson-Sagan, is the first piece to go up in the Yard. It is made of wood and the plastic caps off of baby formula. It references forest fire, and the flooding caused by ecological destruction.

The photographs are by Matthew Morrow.

Miriam and Isabel are a mother/daughter creative dup working under the name Maternal Mitochondria.

If you are interested in visiting the Yard or proposing a project, contact us at msagan1035@aol.com


Artist’s Statement from Isabel Winson-Sagan
Miriam Sagan will be opening The Poetry Yard this year, an outside space where sculpture and poetry can be fully experienced. Here is a sneak peak at the first sculpture to go up- a permanent feature of the yard. Made entirely of recycled materials, this land art project helps direct rainfall by incorporating a dry pond. The sculpture’s relationship with the land may change over time- will the wood rot when exposed to water? Or will it remain an ever present reminder of fire and drought? As our climate changes, the sculpture may reflect that change on a local level. Along with the ambiguity and anxiety of climate change, “Desiccation: Dormancy: Deluge” brings up issues of human consumption and how different organisms feed. The sculpture takes inspiration from saprophytic fungi (mushrooms that consume dead wood) and the twin processes of parasitic and symbiotic growth. The plastic and dairy industries are an ambiguous two-edged sword- using unsustainable environmental practices while at the same time greatly expanding human access to food and vital resources. So the question is: how do we achieve a balance between human needs and biological destruction?
The text on the piece reads:
(A triangle) Between me / G-d / and the water

Free Haibun Workshop on Zoom

Santa Fe Community College Library Presents

Haibun Workshop with Miriam Sagan

Haibun is the prose and haiku combination first developed in Japan. It can be considered the original hybrid form! We’ll learn about haibun and write pieces that include timed writing, diary entries, and flash memoir. We’ll practice with placement of haiku, contrast, and metaphorical thinking. For writers at all levels. Background material and resources will be sent to each participant before the workshop

Tuesday, October 5th from 6-8pm (Mountain Time)
Haibun (haiku & prose) Workshop via Zoom
Free and open to the public but space is limited, and participants must register.
To register: write msagan1035@aol.com

Climate Change Haiku

coastal storm surge
every ten years
coastlines change

black clouds overhead
urban heat
pushes them out

Christa Pandey, Austin, TX

***

Placitas in drought
Juniper needles crumble
Even goatheads can’t sprout

Stuck inside today
Compost fire in South Valley
No patio lunch

Hundreds drown in Europe
Rio Grande’s a trickle
Cuidado con La Llorona!

John Roche
Albuquerque, NM

***

mid-summer
my edges melt like ice cream
finally puddle

Ursula Moeller
Santa Fe, NM

Climate Change Haiku by Karla Linn Merrifield

Author’s Note: I’ve had the recent good fortune to meet a local farmer who, among other things, grows for Bird’s Eye. The woes he’s been experiencing in the onslaught of days upon days of rain engendered these lines. Thank you, Ken Mattingly of M-B Farms.

Rain, rain, then more rain.
Sweet peas rot in sodden fields.
Price is an object.

~~~ 

Another acre
up in smoke. And another.
How high can you count?

~~~

The wettest summer
here,  the driest there.
No where average.