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.

Sitting on The Floor of a Train Station in Asia–Poem by Miriam Sagan

Sitting on The Floor of a Train Station in Asia

on the camping pad you kindly lent me
not for camping
but for just such a collapse
by the luggage cart
in Narita
and seeing a cute toddler
pitch a huge fit
while his mother
also sits on the cold floor
and his tall father
leans down and says
a few soothing words
that don’t work at all

some things
just have to work themselves out
and I might be
one of those things
exiting the train station
in an unknown country
suddenly flooded
with the Manhattan
of my early childhood
its acrid cold smell
that awakens

and there beneath a huge full moon
dark alleyways reveal themselves
in striation
and a wide street of food stalls
and tiny restaurants
seating three people
and bars
no woman would enter
and strips of paper
rustling like pampas grass
advertising everything
you’d ever want
and a grove
of plastic cherry blossoms
permanently pink and white
in the winter’s night

I slept, I woke up,
I slept again
I opened my mouth
to let in the taste
of the enormous city
to taste the air
of wandering
as a newborn
inhales
that first slap of air

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.

Poetry Garden

Let’s just say you have just bought .2 acres off of Agua Fria in a zone 3 residential neighborhood in Santa Fe. (Let’s say you are me!). And you don’t yet know exactly what the city will allow, or how much budget you have. But you have a vision to put up a poetry garden–text installed in numerous ways on this wild sunny lot. How would you hardscape? Would you add a little house or ramadas? Would the feeling be wet or dry?
For the moment–and this is that last moment–let’s leave practicalities out it. Please go wild! I need your fresh ideas, most particularly about how to put poetry text INTO a setting.
Soon enough I’ll be limited by realities, so now is time to dream.
Thank you! Do post below in comments section.