Archive for July 2004

Reflections

July 31, 2004

A

few days ago, I wrote that I wouldn’t be posting too often, but writing is good for the soul. There are always things I wish I could have done, should have done, earlier, sooner, promptly. These are the classic words of a procrastinator. I am president of our local chapter.

晩成の俺に人生短か過ぎ

For me
in the twilight years,
life has been too short

Although this sounds like the senryu of an old man, it was composed by my father back in 1941 when he was in his late 20s at a time when he thought he was nearing death. When he returned to the US from Japan in the early 30’s, there was little work, and he sought work where he could find it. He lived on a lemon orchard, picking lemons and living in a squalid shack with no plumbing. Later. he moved to Long Beach (CA) into his cousins house and began working in a fruit market where he packed more lemons. He can’t say for sure, but he believes it was during these months he contracted a debilitating disease that he simply referred to as fudobyo 風土病, an endemic disease.

My father never knew the exact disease–although he was born in Idaho, he spent his formative years in Japan, and his English was never proficiently native–but it not only sapped his energy, it caused his tendons and cartilage to degenerate. As a kid, I used to stare at the parts of his body that had been affected: a short middle finger, grooves in his forearm where tendons used to be, an indentation at his solarplexes. (Maybe someone knows a name for this illness?)

In any event, he had spent most of the 1930s bedridden in hospitals and convalescent homes recovering. Indeed, this was the time when he made the fateful decision to bequeath his inheritance to his younger sister. As the eldest and only son, he was primary heir to the family farm in Fukushima, a relatively vast amount of land by Japanese standards. However, as he lay in a hospital bed wondering if he would live or die, he overheard his two elder sisters bickering over how to divide the property when he died. Furious, he wrote a letter to his father instructing him to transfer all rights to his younger sister who still lived in Japan. This, as you can imagine, infuriated my aunts, but later after my father recovered, he expressed no regrets. He would rather give away his inheritance to charity than to siblings who seemed more preoccupied by his death rather than his life.

This had a profound effect on him. After my mother had her heart attack in the late 80s, I had a new appreciation for mortality, and so asked my father a couple of times if he had a will, life insurance or any documents that laid out his wishes. He would reply by asking me if I was waiting for him to die. I stopped asking… I felt it was the prudent thing to do, but I can’t help but think that he viewed me as he viewed his sisters. I would try to talk to him about it but he never responded either way.

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Reflections

July 31, 2004

A

few days ago, I wrote that I wouldn’t be posting too often, but writing is good for the soul. There are always things I wish I could have done, should have done, earlier, sooner, promptly. These are the classic words of a procrastinator. I am president of our local chapter.

晩成の俺に人生短か過ぎ

For me
in the twilight years,
life has been too short

Although this sounds like the senryu of an old man, it was composed by my father back in 1941 when he was in his late 20s at a time when he thought he was nearing death. When he returned to the US from Japan in the early 30’s, there was little work, and he sought work where he could find it. He lived on a lemon orchard, picking lemons and living in a squalid shack with no plumbing. Later. he moved to Long Beach (CA) into his cousins house and began working in a fruit market where he packed more lemons. He can’t say for sure, but he believes it was during these months he contracted a debilitating disease that he simply referred to as fudobyo 風土病, an endemic disease.

My father never knew the exact disease–although he was born in Idaho, he spent his formative years in Japan, and his English was never proficiently native–but it not only sapped his energy, it caused his tendons and cartilage to degenerate. As a kid, I used to stare at the parts of his body that had been affected: a short middle finger, grooves in his forearm where tendons used to be, an indentation at his solarplexes. (Maybe someone knows a name for this illness?)

In any event, he had spent most of the 1930s bedridden in hospitals and convalescent homes recovering. Indeed, this was the time when he made the fateful decision to bequeath his inheritance to his younger sister. As the eldest and only son, he was primary heir to the family farm in Fukushima, a relatively vast amount of land by Japanese standards. However, as he lay in a hospital bed wondering if he would live or die, he overheard his two elder sisters bickering over how to divide the property when he died. Furious, he wrote a letter to his father instructing him to transfer all rights to his younger sister who still lived in Japan. This, as you can imagine, infuriated my aunts, but later after my father recovered, he expressed no regrets. He would rather give away his inheritance to charity than to siblings who seemed more preoccupied by his death rather than his life.

This had a profound effect on him. After my mother had her heart attack in the late 80s, I had a new appreciation for mortality, and so asked my father a couple of times if he had a will, life insurance or any documents that laid out his wishes. He would reply by asking me if I was waiting for him to die. I stopped asking… I felt it was the prudent thing to do, but I can’t help but think that he viewed me as he viewed his sisters. I would try to talk to him about it but he never responded either way.

When it rains, it pours

July 28, 2004

Y

ou may have noticed that I haven’t been posting very much lately, and I haven’t been able to visit your sites as well. I feel terrible about it especially since you are all special to me. Anyway, circumstances have and will continue to keep me away from Xanga. I will probably talk about it when I get back, perhaps to play what the Vixen calls the “sympathy card.” Anyway, take care all. I will try to check in every so often, but I just wanted to let you know that I may not be Xanga-ing too often.

More Baseball…

July 28, 2004

A

post from last week reminded me how few of my readers either are not interested in sports or follow other sports more closely. Oh well, too bad for me. But being a sports fan is one aspect that defines me. I love American sports. And while there are those who will disparage games such as football, perhaps because they use their hands, or take time between plays to create strategy, instead of animal-like quickness and instincts. But to each his or her own. Disparage all you want.

Sandy KoufaxIn any event, Hanzo questioned my attitude toward baseball’s current success. Well baseball is successful in economic terms. There is no questioning the millions and billions of dollars of revenues and the incredible attendance records that seemed impossible when I was a wee lad. But to me, baseball is not what it used to be. As I tried to explain, fans invested time and energy into the game. More importantly, they invested their heart. But it is hard to invest heart in a team, I think. It is more natural to invest in a player. You can relate and feel for a player who is struggling or is doing great. Investing your heart in a team does not reap the same rewards, it would seem to me.

There was a time when I was incredibly passionate about htis sport. As a kid born and raised in LA, I was a true blue Dodger fan. God, I loved that team in the 60s. Maury Wills, Don Drysdale, Johnny Roseboro, Wes Parker, Jim Lefebvre, Jim Gilliam. They were not great athletes, but certainly above average, good enough to compete for a pennant. But what really separated them from the pack was Sandy Koufax. That man was great. Truly great. He had a short career, and indeed, the years he was effective spanned a mere five years, but man they were amazing years. Indeed, on the strength of those five years, 1962-66, he was the only pitcher to make the top fifty in ESPN’s Sports Century list. Can you believe that? His last five years were considered better than the entire careers of pitchers such as Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Satchel Paige, Tom Seaver, and Nolan Ryan. During those five years, Koufax was virtually unhittable. The Dodgers won three pennants and two world series. The two years they didn’t go, Koufax sustained injuries mid year and was sidelined until the end of the season. In other words, when he didn’t play, the Dodgers didn’t win.

Anyway, Koufax was my hero, but I loved everyone on the team. I would talk to friends about each individual player, the pros and cons.

“Koufax is the best pitcher in the world.”

“But he can’t hit worth a lick. Drysdale’s my guy.” PT used to say. And it was a tough argument. The Dodgers were a pretty crummy hitting team, and Drysdale led the team with a .300 batting average and seven home runs in 1965. They even turned to him to pinch hit. But it was this kind of discussion that we could have since we knew the individual players.

Juan Marichal vs. John Roseboro
Marichal (27) brandishing his bat.
Koufax is behind Roseboro

Mays leading Roseboro off the field

Every so often, I’ll meet another old-timer at a bar who knows baseball from back then, and we have incredibly fun conversations. My favorite conversations are with Giants fans. Damn, I hated the Giants. And every conversation came to a cressendo with a discussion of August 22, 1965. Juan Marichal–the SOB–was playing chin music (throwing at a batters head) with the Dodgers. So when Marichal came to bat, Roseboro decided to show him. Koufax would never throw at a batter intentionally. He never had to. So Roseboro decided to whiz a ball back to the mound right by Marichal’s head. Pissed, Marichal whirled around and clobbered Roseboro on the head with his bat full force. Man, that was the worst I have ever seen one professional player hit another. I know hockey can get violent, and there have been some mean fist fights by many players in many games. But to hit someone in the head with a baseball bat? Blood was streaming down his head as Marichal was trying to get a couple more licks in. Koufax and Willie Mays eventually intervened, but man, it was scary and awesome. When I talk to these Giant fans, and we talk fervently about this incident: the Dodgers and Giants were both in the pennant race and everything was already super-heated. As rival fans, we hardly agreed with anything except for one thing: baseball is no longer the same. Today, players move around freely and rivals this year could be teammates next. Yes, I saw the Red Sox and Yankees over the weekend and saw the big brouhaha. And yes, they currently have the best rivalry in sports right now–Clemens and Piazza notwithstanding. But the fight this weekend just didn’t seem based on tradition–as if fights are traditional. Okay, Varitek is a Red Sox born and bred so I can see why he would get fired up, but Alex Rodriguez? C’mon. He’s been a Yankee for what? Half a season? That tells me he got pissed on a personal level, and it didn’t really have anything to do with being a Yankee. Nothing compared to the rivalries of the old days. Best not to make too many enemies. But yesteryear, players stayed with one team for a long time and rivalries festered, like an open wound.

Anyway, I no longer have the passion I once had for the game. Too many things have changed: salaries, free agency, the designated hitter. Baseball as a game is still going strong and still attracts fans, but it is no longer the same for me. When Bud Selig called the All Star game a tie two years ago, it was confirmation that baseball was no longer what it was. There will be no Pete Roses barreling into Ray Fosses in All Star games anymore. While the injury Fosse sustained effectively ended his career, he never complained accepting the effort and passion all players manifested then. No one could doubt their passion, even in a game that didn’t count. The played for the game and they played for there team, and I am moved by that. Today’s palyers have too much to lose. Money is everything and they will change allegiances for the right price. I enjoy the game still, but I cannot feel passion for it or for the players.

Of course, I might root for a guy who wears stirrups. Does anyone know why players don’t wear them anymore? That was one of the things I couldn’t wait to wear when I began playing little league. Pull up a pair of white socks, then wear the stirrups over them to support the arch (I think). I used to think they looked so cool, but I suppose that’s just another example of me being an old geezer.

More Baseball…

July 28, 2004

A

post from last week reminded me how few of my readers either are not interested in sports or follow other sports more closely. Oh well, too bad for me. But being a sports fan is one aspect that defines me. I love American sports. And while there are those who will disparage games such as football, perhaps because they use their hands, or take time between plays to create strategy, instead of animal-like quickness and instincts. But to each his or her own. Disparage all you want.

Sandy KoufaxIn any event, Hanzo questioned my attitude toward baseball’s current success. Well baseball is successful in economic terms. There is no questioning the millions and billions of dollars of revenues and the incredible attendance records that seemed impossible when I was a wee lad. But to me, baseball is not what it used to be. As I tried to explain, fans invested time and energy into the game. More importantly, they invested their heart. But it is hard to invest heart in a team, I think. It is more natural to invest in a player. You can relate and feel for a player who is struggling or is doing great. Investing your heart in a team does not reap the same rewards, it would seem to me.

There was a time when I was incredibly passionate about htis sport. As a kid born and raised in LA, I was a true blue Dodger fan. God, I loved that team in the 60s. Maury Wills, Don Drysdale, Johnny Roseboro, Wes Parker, Jim Lefebvre, Jim Gilliam. They were not great athletes, but certainly above average, good enough to compete for a pennant. But what really separated them from the pack was Sandy Koufax. That man was great. Truly great. He had a short career, and indeed, the years he was effective spanned a mere five years, but man they were amazing years. Indeed, on the strength of those five years, 1962-66, he was the only pitcher to make the top fifty in ESPN’s Sports Century list. Can you believe that? His last five years were considered better than the entire careers of pitchers such as Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Satchel Paige, Tom Seaver, and Nolan Ryan. During those five years, Koufax was virtually unhittable. The Dodgers won three pennants and two world series. The two years they didn’t go, Koufax sustained injuries mid year and was sidelined until the end of the season. In other words, when he didn’t play, the Dodgers didn’t win.

Anyway, Koufax was my hero, but I loved everyone on the team. I would talk to friends about each individual player, the pros and cons.

“Koufax is the best pitcher in the world.”

“But he can’t hit worth a lick. Drysdale’s my guy.” PT used to say. And it was a tough argument. The Dodgers were a pretty crummy hitting team, and Drysdale led the team with a .300 batting average and seven home runs in 1965. They even turned to him to pinch hit. But it was this kind of discussion that we could have since we knew the individual players.

Juan Marichal vs. John Roseboro
Marichal (27) brandishing his bat.
Koufax is behind Roseboro

Mays leading Roseboro off the field

Every so often, I’ll meet another old-timer at a bar who knows baseball from back then, and we have incredibly fun conversations. My favorite conversations are with Giants fans. Damn, I hated the Giants. And every conversation came to a cressendo with a discussion of August 22, 1965. Juan Marichal–the SOB–was playing chin music (throwing at a batters head) with the Dodgers. So when Marichal came to bat, Roseboro decided to show him. Koufax would never throw at a batter intentionally. He never had to. So Roseboro decided to whiz a ball back to the mound right by Marichal’s head. Pissed, Marichal whirled around and clobbered Roseboro on the head with his bat full force. Man, that was the worst I have ever seen one professional player hit another. I know hockey can get violent, and there have been some mean fist fights by many players in many games. But to hit someone in the head with a baseball bat? Blood was streaming down his head as Marichal was trying to get a couple more licks in. Koufax and Willie Mays eventually intervened, but man, it was scary and awesome. When I talk to these Giant fans, and we talk fervently about this incident: the Dodgers and Giants were both in the pennant race and everything was already super-heated. As rival fans, we hardly agreed with anything except for one thing: baseball is no longer the same. Today, players move around freely and rivals this year could be teammates next. Yes, I saw the Red Sox and Yankees over the weekend and saw the big brouhaha. And yes, they currently have the best rivalry in sports right now–Clemens and Piazza notwithstanding. But the fight this weekend just didn’t seem based on tradition–as if fights are traditional. Okay, Varitek is a Red Sox born and bred so I can see why he would get fired up, but Alex Rodriguez? C’mon. He’s been a Yankee for what? Half a season? That tells me he got pissed on a personal level, and it didn’t really have anything to do with being a Yankee. Nothing compared to the rivalries of the old days. Best not to make too many enemies. But yesteryear, players stayed with one team for a long time and rivalries festered, like an open wound.

Anyway, I no longer have the passion I once had for the game. Too many things have changed: salaries, free agency, the designated hitter. Baseball as a game is still going strong and still attracts fans, but it is no longer the same for me. When Bud Selig called the All Star game a tie two years ago, it was confirmation that baseball was no longer what it was. There will be no Pete Roses barreling into Ray Fosses in All Star games anymore. While the injury Fosse sustained effectively ended his career, he never complained accepting the effort and passion all players manifested then. No one could doubt their passion, even in a game that didn’t count. The played for the game and they played for there team, and I am moved by that. Today’s palyers have too much to lose. Money is everything and they will change allegiances for the right price. I enjoy the game still, but I cannot feel passion for it or for the players.

Of course, I might root for a guy who wears stirrups. Does anyone know why players don’t wear them anymore? That was one of the things I couldn’t wait to wear when I began playing little league. Pull up a pair of white socks, then wear the stirrups over them to support the arch (I think). I used to think they looked so cool, but I suppose that’s just another example of me being an old geezer.

川柳 Senryu: Comic Verse

July 23, 2004

I

was surprised by some of the interest in the Senryu poetry. While I expected people who participated to comment, many who did not participate wanted to try there hand at it, as well. While reading and commening takes time this is a labor of love for me, and I don’t mind. As long as you don’t mind giving me the time to read them. Cgran told me that he was surprised that I was taking it so seriously. Hmph! These young pups! I tell ya’. Work hard, study hard, play hard

Some of you were unfamliar with senryu and its rules. I have written about them in previous posts but they have been randomly presented so I will again provide some info. In the Edo period of Japanapprox. 1600-1868–Japan closed itself from the outside world and enjoyed a time of peace for over 250 years. Tokugawa Ieyasu and his successors ruled Japan with an iron fist, but there was relative prosperity among the common people. And it is this time when new forms of Japanese poetry developed. Everyone knows about Haiku, I think, but few know about senryu. Senryu takes the same form as haiku, but it is less concerned about the seasons and focused on the activities and emotions of man.

As an example, here is a poem my father wrote once upon a time.

落ちぶれて金歯に残る過去を秘め

ochiburete
kinba ni nokoru
kako wo hime

Fallen on hard times,
a man hides a past revealed
in a gold tooth.

Composed in 1940, my dad said, that this poem suggested a formerly wealthy man who has now fallen on hard times and tries to hide his successful past as represented by his gold tooth. The effect is forlorn, according to him. And in a way, it is, as a man hard on his luck may not want to reveal the fact that he has fallen so far. In 1940, there were still many down on their luck, and for my dad, this probably was an accurate depiction of this day. While senryu is often “ha-ha” funny, it is just as effective as an expression of irony, much like the above poem: the gold tooth, perhaps surrounded my dirty teeth, are the only reminder of his better days, and yet he is compelled to hide it.

For us, even as we compose in English: we should try to maintain the stucture of the original form. It may seem limiting, but it tests your diction, your imagination, and your ability to be concise and yet expressive. This is no mean feat. And the key to being expressive is to find and use words that anyone who reads your poem will associate to your gist: a reflection of the essence of the topic. The topic of the above poem was “gold tooth,” and my dad seemingly viewed the essence of gold teeth as “wealth”–as it would be in 1940–but he expressed this wealth as an embarrassing thing, by making it the only thing wealthy in a man down on his luck, trying to hide this single representation of better days.

Structurally, a senryu resembles a haiku. It is composed in three sections/lines of fixed syllable count: 5-7-5. Do not deviate. The above poem is 5-7-4, but that is the English translation. The original is in 5-7-5. Sometimes the count is overlooked by one syllable if the goro–natural rhythm–is solid. Good goro normally suggests a sentence that flows naturally. For us that would mean a number of things: Needless to say, I do check for spelling–“you are” is written “you’re” not “your”. Do not split infinitives–“I seem to always forget.” Try to keep keep prepositions in their PRE-position. Avoid splitting them across a line–“going to see him at / the beach”. Articles and pronouns–a, the, her, his, my–should never be separated from its noun across lines–“wandering to my / house”. Abbreviations are fine if they sound natural (can’t, don’t) or represent the natural pronunciation of a word (list’ning), but avoid forced or anachronistic abbreviations (e’er, ne’er). Grammatically, inversions and incomplete sentences are fine, but these should be used to place the impact word at the end of your poem. You should not use it because you can’t find the right word to fit the syllable count. Before submitting your poem, read it aloud but pause 3 seconds at the end of each line. If the pause sounds natural, then it’s probably okay.

As for content, the poem must address the topic, and the gist of the poem should touch on the its essence. The poem should contain the actual topic but it’s not necessary. Just make sure that the images you use unmistakably associate with the topic. Further, the essence you address cannot be a private one that only you understand. You should present an essence that reflects a kind of universality, common to most in everyday life through textual description. My dad conveyed the irony of hiding the “trappings” of wealth of one no longer wealthy. The poems can be funny as well; in fact, senryu is often translated as “comic verse”. Most important is your ability to depict this essence through images. My dad always told me that senryu was a snapshot of life, a moment in time that told a story that everyone would understand and relate to. My dad was a photographer, so I guess that’s his metaphor for senryu. But I once compared senryu to a Norman Rockwell illustration. Let’s look at the illustration to the here. A boy is getting a hair cut. As a boy, he is interested in comics and reads one as he gets it cut. The responsible adult barber is also interested in the comics suggesting that he too is a boy, As the boy discovers an interesting frame in the story, the adult barber can’t help but join in, ultimately losing focus as any boy would and cliping a groove through his customers head of hair. Yes, boys will be boys.

Now, your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to compose a poem that does the same thing: Draw a picture of a moment in time through text within the guidelines mentioned above. Tough? Well, if it were easy, I wouldn’t be doing this, and we wouldn’t have much of a salon, now would we. What’s the fun in doing something easy?

川柳会 Senryu Salon July

Since it is July, it is hot and it is muggy, the topic is: air conditioner. Be sure to use this word in your poem. Consider what the essence of an air conditioner is. Besides cooling, what does it do? Sooth? Cause colds? What is it? A machine in the window? Central air machine outside? Where is it? At home? At the office? In the train? Do you need an air conditioner? Ack! So many aspects! Which to choose? Heheheheh, good luck. And don’t kill yourself. The deadline will be next week so think it over.

And be sure to submit your poem to this post. Please limit yourself to one poem. Poems must be in English.

P.S. I am having issues at home that are taking up time… again… I apologize for not visiting your sites, but I will try to do so as soon as possible. Peace, everyone.

川柳 Senryu: Comic Verse

July 23, 2004

I

was surprised by some of the interest in the Senryu poetry. While I expected people who participated to comment, many who did not participate wanted to try there hand at it, as well. While reading and commening takes time this is a labor of love for me, and I don’t mind. As long as you don’t mind giving me the time to read them. Cgran told me that he was surprised that I was taking it so seriously. Hmph! These young pups! I tell ya’. Work hard, study hard, play hard

Some of you were unfamliar with senryu and its rules. I have written about them in previous posts but they have been randomly presented so I will again provide some info. In the Edo period of Japanapprox. 1600-1868–Japan closed itself from the outside world and enjoyed a time of peace for over 250 years. Tokugawa Ieyasu and his successors ruled Japan with an iron fist, but there was relative prosperity among the common people. And it is this time when new forms of Japanese poetry developed. Everyone knows about Haiku, I think, but few know about senryu. Senryu takes the same form as haiku, but it is less concerned about the seasons and focused on the activities and emotions of man.

As an example, here is a poem my father wrote once upon a time.

落ちぶれて金歯に残る過去を秘め

ochiburete
kinba ni nokoru
kako wo hime

Fallen on hard times,
a man hides a past revealed
in a gold tooth.

Composed in 1940, my dad said, that this poem suggested a formerly wealthy man who has now fallen on hard times and tries to hide his successful past as represented by his gold tooth. The effect is forlorn, according to him. And in a way, it is, as a man hard on his luck may not want to reveal the fact that he has fallen so far. In 1940, there were still many down on their luck, and for my dad, this probably was an accurate depiction of this day. While senryu is often “ha-ha” funny, it is just as effective as an expression of irony, much like the above poem: the gold tooth, perhaps surrounded my dirty teeth, are the only reminder of his better days, and yet he is compelled to hide it.

For us, even as we compose in English: we should try to maintain the stucture of the original form. It may seem limiting, but it tests your diction, your imagination, and your ability to be concise and yet expressive. This is no mean feat. And the key to being expressive is to find and use words that anyone who reads your poem will associate to your gist: a reflection of the essence of the topic. The topic of the above poem was “gold tooth,” and my dad seemingly viewed the essence of gold teeth as “wealth”–as it would be in 1940–but he expressed this wealth as an embarrassing thing, by making it the only thing wealthy in a man down on his luck, trying to hide this single representation of better days.

Structurally, a senryu resembles a haiku. It is composed in three sections/lines of fixed syllable count: 5-7-5. Do not deviate. The above poem is 5-7-4, but that is the English translation. The original is in 5-7-5. Sometimes the count is overlooked by one syllable if the goro–natural rhythm–is solid. Good goro normally suggests a sentence that flows naturally. For us that would mean a number of things: Needless to say, I do check for spelling–“you are” is written “you’re” not “your”. Do not split infinitives–“I seem to always forget.” Try to keep keep prepositions in their PRE-position. Avoid splitting them across a line–“going to see him at / the beach”. Articles and pronouns–a, the, her, his, my–should never be separated from its noun across lines–“wandering to my / house”. Abbreviations are fine if they sound natural (can’t, don’t) or represent the natural pronunciation of a word (list’ning), but avoid forced or anachronistic abbreviations (e’er, ne’er). Grammatically, inversions and incomplete sentences are fine, but these should be used to place the impact word at the end of your poem. You should not use it because you can’t find the right word to fit the syllable count. Before submitting your poem, read it aloud but pause 3 seconds at the end of each line. If the pause sounds natural, then it’s probably okay.

As for content, the poem must address the topic, and the gist of the poem should touch on the its essence. The poem should contain the actual topic but it’s not necessary. Just make sure that the images you use unmistakably associate with the topic. Further, the essence you address cannot be a private one that only you understand. You should present an essence that reflects a kind of universality, common to most in everyday life through textual description. My dad conveyed the irony of hiding the “trappings” of wealth of one no longer wealthy. The poems can be funny as well; in fact, senryu is often translated as “comic verse”. Most important is your ability to depict this essence through images. My dad always told me that senryu was a snapshot of life, a moment in time that told a story that everyone would understand and relate to. My dad was a photographer, so I guess that’s his metaphor for senryu. But I once compared senryu to a Norman Rockwell illustration. Let’s look at the illustration to the here. A boy is getting a hair cut. As a boy, he is interested in comics and reads one as he gets it cut. The responsible adult barber is also interested in the comics suggesting that he too is a boy, As the boy discovers an interesting frame in the story, the adult barber can’t help but join in, ultimately losing focus as any boy would and cliping a groove through his customers head of hair. Yes, boys will be boys.

Now, your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to compose a poem that does the same thing: Draw a picture of a moment in time through text within the guidelines mentioned above. Tough? Well, if it were easy, I wouldn’t be doing this, and we wouldn’t have much of a salon, now would we. What’s the fun in doing something easy?

川柳会 Senryu Salon July

Since it is July, it is hot and it is muggy, the topic is: air conditioner. Be sure to use this word in your poem. Consider what the essence of an air conditioner is. Besides cooling, what does it do? Sooth? Cause colds? What is it? A machine in the window? Central air machine outside? Where is it? At home? At the office? In the train? Do you need an air conditioner? Ack! So many aspects! Which to choose? Heheheheh, good luck. And don’t kill yourself. The deadline will be next week so think it over.

And be sure to submit your poem to this post. Please limit yourself to one poem. Poems must be in English.

P.S. I am having issues at home that are taking up time… again… I apologize for not visiting your sites, but I will try to do so as soon as possible. Peace, everyone.