Omer Poem by Ya’el Chaikind

A NEW SIGHT

Tell me your secrets
darkness, open
your guarded gates

and let me glimpse
behind the towering fears
and boogeymen

who haunt my daydreams,
cloud my vision
so that I might watch

my life through a lens
freed of rainbows
or the glittering sun

on a summer pond,
instead, show me how black
is the perfect

backdrop to reflect
the stars mirrored in the retina
of our souls.

Ya’el Chaikind
4.12.18

Omer Day 13:
Yesod Shebe Gevurah
Foundation within Strength, Boundaries, and Discernment

3 Questions for Lee Nash

Questions
1. What is your personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.

As a poet with a broad range, at any given time I could be writing a haiku, a received form or a piece of flash fiction. This means that I could be focusing on a work anywhere between one line (a monostich) or a paragraph or more (flash). The important first step is to get my initial thoughts on screen, then I try to proceed at an unhurried pace, to find the line that is pleasing to my ear and eye, that fits the essence of the piece. In the draft stage I want to see what emerges – happily now and again the first try is pretty close to the finished product. If there isn’t a good definition then at some point I will start a revision, at which stage (for example) a sonnet may become a free verse poem, or vice versa. The process is organic, with the line taking its length and shape on the page in the most natural way possible, the line breaks setting the pace, working like gears to drive the reader along. The line needs to work with and not against the poem’s internal rhythm and cadences, to be in sympathy with its words and sounds, and the reaction the whole invokes.

2. Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?

Yes, in the sense that we produce the fruit of who and what we are. I suspect that the traits expressed in our words are linked as much to our physiology and psychology as to our life experiences. When writing a specifically body-oriented poem (for instance, about a C-section, or a burn, or a colonoscopy), the sense of relationship between words and body is keener, simply by definition, but all poems seem visceral rather than intellectual at source. It’s a fascinating question and this body/writing correlation is something I would like to explore in more depth.

3. Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?

I often think that it increases my intensity when what I really need to do is lighten up! Saying that, I do enjoy writing light verse from time to time. To me writing is a work of faith, and this is exciting but also quite daunting. It’s not the same as having a skill; for instance, I play the flute and know I can pick up the instrument and play a piece as long as I have practiced enough. With poetry, even if you are honing your craft, understand the dynamics, and have publications to your name, you are creating something from nothing each time (as all artists are) and you cannot afford to lose your self-belief. This is not always easy. A poet must accept that the poetry business involves regular rejection and so develop a kind of impassivity to all that, yet still stay sensitive to inspiration and new ideas.

Haiku

guessing his name…
the scent of jasmine
on fine rain

Stardust, February 2018

premature birth
I choose the thinnest needles
and the softest wool

Pulse, 16 February 2018


sundog an unexpected windfall

The Asahi Shimbun, Asahi Haikuist Network, 16 February 2018

morning kiss
the warm sting
of his bristles

Chanokeburi, Love Videoanthology, 14 February 2018

Lee Nash lives in France and freelances as an editor and proofreader. Her poems have appeared in print and online journals including Acorn, Ambit, Angle, Magma, Mezzo Cammin, Orbis, Poetry Salzburg Review, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, The Heron’s Nest, and The Lake. Her first poetry chapbook, Ash Keys, is published by Flutter Press. You can find a selection of Lee’s poems on her website: leenashpoetry.com. http://flutterpress2009.blogspot.fr/2017/11/new-release-ash-keys-by-lee-nash.html

Mochi

Mochi Cafe

the rabbits are pounding rice
into mochi
on the moon

and in the little statue
outside the cafe
surrounded by flooded rice fields

we order by the picture
and are not disappointed
in what arrives, steaming, in tiny cakes, chrysanthemum bowls,

or floating in broth.
For some reason
I promised myself

I wouldn’t buy
much of anything
in the way of souvenirs

then find myself
looking in the long narrow mirror
in an exquisite silk robe

mostly black, then
patchworked
out of old kimono

in which I look
so exactly like—or even so much more like—
myself

out comes my billfold
of yen, and I buy
not just that but a reversible farmer’s hat

I’m set now
to wear this day’s memory
pulled around me

or in woven ikat
to shield my eyes
from the sun of other places, other seasons

waiting outside
with my shopping bag
I watch egrets take off and land

out of the irrigation ditches
and I bow to something shimmering
just out of sight.

potted pink cyclamen, Tokyo alleyway, Shinto shrine: poem by Miriam Sagan

potted pink cyclamen, Tokyo alleyway, Shinto shrine
with a little playground
fantastical panda
to ride
and I, like everyone else,
can enter the gate
drop loose change
beneath a carved dragon
for the spirit’s upkeep
wring the bell
with a rope

bicycles passing by
can’t tell
how overwhelmed I am
by the Buddhist altar
in the street
where someone left
a cup of hot the
now cooled
and the stone statue
seems worn away and very old

a few days
after New Year’s and gardeners
have set out
ore than two kinds of lettuce
in boxes,
the kindergarten boasts pansies,
spider plants, geraniums, Christmas cactus
live outside
although it’s cold enough
for hat and gloves

I can ask myself
did I fly
east to west
for so many hours
just to admire
this river at dusk
this suspended bridge,
I can enter the gate
and bow
as I learned to do
so long ago—
my life
a meritorious
mistake.

Interview with Mei Mei-Berssenbrugge from Cordite Review

I’ve always loved Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge’s poetry. I have to slow down and mull as I read it. It has a quality of complexity, but one I find enticing. It might be a cousin to Language School, but is also very original, and sensual as well as abstract. Here is part of an excellent interview with the poet.

MB: I think of a poem as an energetic whole, because the way I reach an expression of energy is through language. I definitely think about the so-called idea or meaning of a poem, but for me, it is more about keeping the energy high. I also want to mention that when I write a poem, I often have no idea of what I’ve said. I make assemblages of notes and put them together, but it’s at the unconscious level that composition occurs, and I think there are more profound gestalts of understanding to be found that way. So I am not somebody who thinks complex thoughts by my will; I find them. A lot of people now say that there are more neurons in the heart than there are in the brain.

http://cordite.org.au/interviews/tran-berssenbrugge/

I’m Still Alive

I’m still alive,
unlike several
people in my stories,
those I loved
or half loved,
and I’m at the intersection
of Juanita Street
and Paseo
yellow leaves blowing
as the keyboard intro
to “Super Freak”
comes on the car radio,
and for one moment
I have the intense
although possibly misguided
insight
that this
is the greatest song
ever written,
and for that
one moment
it’s true,
because who doesn’t love
the kind of girl
you read about—
and then it all floods in
all the other songs
I love
and also believe
to be the greatest song
ever written,
and I wonder
who the fuck am I?
and really
I don’t know.