Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Renga: Cityscapes

The following kasen was written with the collaboration of Darby, Janet, Sneza, and HAT, from May through October of 2006. The idea of this particular renga was to capture images of city landscapes, wherever we are in the world. The successful completion of this kasen is a testament to the globalization and glocalization of poetry and technology, as well as a testament to the intermingling of the two seemingly different fields -- poetry in the world of bloggers. To review the rules for the Cityscapes renga, click here.
Saigon: motorbikes
Jammed at stoplights, exhaust fumes
Scattering insects

Towers in the east are there
so she knows she is here

Poised in the center,
flung to the edge of the
roundabout turning

From the bus window, the miles
float under well-traveled wheels

The coming of storm?
Trees in the margin
italicized by the wind

Interpret the messages
The speech of cogs and branches

Beveled histories
facades of pilaster, plinths
speak, La Place Vendome

Peering down on the plaza
speckled with light and foot traffic

Filmy fog distances blue
structures, milks signals
from the tips of antennae

Speedbumps glazed with yellow paint
Sleeping roadway log lizards

Labyrinth turnpikes
on the daily commute—
tolls along the way

She sketches loops and spirals,
pencil resting against her thumb

Leaf in clover leaf
Cartoon school bus wiggles by
Scattering the wind

Ideas of her self lurking
underneath overpasses

Plastic covers sag with rain,
cranes halt above
the future hospital

Yellow bulldozer snorting
launches a swirl of seagulls.

Wings rise east
misguided by burning treelines,
charred city – a speck, a speck

Still – we’re under the spell of the
alphabet of retaliation

Each to a word, lines
traced in wartime letters
maps to our past

Imprints of hands on windows
just before shattering

The line snakes over
Boat rail, turbulent water
Dead fish on the pier.

Fishboats at the marina,
City of water and ash

Migrant workers camp by
the millennial library:
the wait, the weight

Jackhammer shredding sidewalk
Farmer’s market crushed berries

Plate stained purple,
typewriter minus letter H,
free with any purchase.

Alphabet soups for sale, one
by one, constructing letters

walk into the café,
to the back of the room
to the one face, beaming

Hiss of espresso monster
conversation bubbles up

Carefully prepared
in an old fashioned homestyle—
come home to old friends

Mother’s microwaved dinner
Salty with laughing crying

Steaming custard buns
white surface, one dotted red
Mars hangs in night sky

Make-up kit spilled on the 3rd ave. bridge,
Minneapolis, red leaves, red lights.

Street lights splice traffic,
Provinces of fire-blown trees
perilous paradise

Today: one more baby born
or border crossed, 300 million.

Rainfall will end
up with a thin ice crust,
synchronizing storm drains.

Pins drop into a steel cup.
The shake of a passing train.

- Collaboration with D. James, J. Salsman, H. Tran, S. Zabic. May-October 2006

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