welcome to the haikutimes
Issue #104, California and New Mexico, December 22-31, 2004. Haiku and photographs by Jonathan Machen.
i take sanjay to the airport where he is off
to new zealand to paraglide and write haiku
his fifth trip this year
his dog discouraged to see
he's leaving again
inching down icy highway
next stop - DIA
snow turns to water
wet reflection on toll way
diffuse morning sun
from last nights meat substitute
can i survive drive?
herded like cattle
into security line
passive faces stare
sleepy BART people
mouthfuls of gum
danville and berkeley and sonoma
and sacramento coalesce into a tight
100-mile radius on a single cloudless day,
connected to each other by multi-lane freeways,
bay area rapid transit lines and a wealth of concrete,
experience and individuals.
at the helm of our danville reality
are two proud parents of
my wife, john and mimi wild,
now my father and mother-in-law,
with whom I i have attained the ability
to hang out, eat cereal, and read the newspaper.
hidden in backyard
how she faces life:
reflecting the macabre
in humorous clay
traveling by car
between upscale urban streets
and five-lane freeways
between shapely green hillsides
sun peering through fog
ravens on tarmac
vie with gulls for scraps of food
danville parking lot
that two-car garage
i wonder what lies
beyond the confines of that
in red house with small footbridge
happy with books and chairs
reflecting on his life
i track down an old employer,
landscaper, relation and philosopher all rolled into one,
presiding over his family's proud acre of heritage amidst
population pressures and vanishing empty spaces.
eric anderson muses over the coming transformation
of a cherished family plot of land into a church parking lot,
supervises the maintenance of vehicles at mills college,
and looks towards the future with wizened viking eyes
that frame his carefully tapered white beard, inspiring me
to let go of that time when i chipped the concrete and
bought his yellow '64 chevy for only $500.
paige and i traverse the freeway underpass near shattuck and telegraph,
watch home boys doddle down by the liquor store near
fifty-fourth street in the middle of north oakland,
recall the day when that u-haul barreled around the corner
into that parked car, guys falling out, fighting from the cab.
i think about how i spent hours upstairs in the kitchen
hanging on to nature, drawing rocks.
we move quickly past troubled memories into the dearth
of berkeley parking spaces, strolling under the
saucer magnolias and eucalyptus trees of uc berkeley.
alien-looking london plane trees surrounding the campanile
in a skillfully coreographed assault.
the sun disappears behind the transamerica tower across the bay.
guy stuck in red ford
at berkeley intersection
friends gather to help
berkeley bell tower
stands straight like the golden gate
noble in distance
bay area hum
peaceful hillside in sunshine
lady walks with cane
insects dwaddle, cars throttle
a world in motion
welcomed into the crisply rebuilt hillsides
of oakland, we visit sally and lorenzo
under a leaking modern roof,
watch to mark robert and jacob as they
play saxaphone and piano,
assemble and deconstruct legos,
play with darth vader eyeglasses,
make mock-flight simulations
with the movie mode of their digital camera,
and function in the dual world of both child and adult.
apple store gleaming
in san francisco skyline
do you want a mac?
we emerge from the powell st. station
in san francisco like the steam
rising from manholes, trolley cars rotating,
apple ipod ads everywhere,
sun shining off stunning behemoths
of architecture, the modern museum of art
inviting us in to see creations of
artistic superstars like the mighty
Roy Lichtenstein who deconstructed
the practice of gestural abstraction,
and william eggleston, who presaged
the haikutimes by making icons out of tricycles
and other random ordinary moments
with beautiful kodachrome photographs.
lichtenstein art show
paintings about the way we see
and what we value
like clouds over sky
over east bay ford truck sales
bart machine swallows
just the right amount
of cash for the trip
mixed with smog
evidence of a fine christmas
on danville streets
leaving for sacramento
we soon realize
just about everybody else
in the east bay is also
leaving for sacramento -
or at least a destination
which could easily be reached
on four wheels
using mideast oil
still so plentiful
that we only curse at
the train in the front foyer of scott's house
circles endlessly, with no-one paying attention,
to the pulse of the party -
a multi-generational chinese american family
celebrating christmas in the usa.
frenzy of presents
uncle with two cameras and cell on belt
from the back seat of a ford
elsewhere in the world
tsunamis wreak havoc
here - a gentle wind
from one giant earthquake
thousands' lives affected
unknown wireless connection
broadcasting throughout house
exuberant eight-year old cali
helps grandma set the table -
putting out the special knives,
forks and candles
so many things
that she can't keep
recognizing the cell-phone ring as hers
Paige twists to attention after a night
of relaxed snoozing,
pulling neck muscles, swelling tendons:
thick, knotty, woody, painful -
the subtle musculature bound and contorted,
promoting pain and immobility.
soft snow, spring skiing
though it is but december
i think i feel rain
ski pants drying off
from the last runs immersion
in sudden rainstorm
where else but this town
could i talk to bomb designer
on the way up the mountain
five days after last storm
surface still untracked
fresh snow - no -
so many animal tracks
crowd this white palette
deep into the woods
i stumble upon
people in nature
adrenaline and hormones
lead to happy cry
fog on the ski hill
mixed with rain feels maritime
reminding me of last weeks drive
full of many ski turns
more than i could ask for
from the bottom to the top
cable purrs on wheels
fiercely red-cheeked girl
stands in warm lodge
maybe not worth it?
cellphone madness on ski hill
ringing yet buried
mom - frantically, lovingly,
dad - his clean radar
picking up the signals
of two messy children,
youthful energetic hazards,
blunt and unsophisticated,
attacking the order and calm
they have gotten used to
since we first left, years ago -
their place now unprotected,
appearing at every turn,
new thresholds of noise
reached with every vocalization
of my 20-month old nephew.
marley throws walnut
grandpa steps on walnut
both go bonkers
screaming when mom leaves
now pacified by tv
marley sucks his thumb
with the new
brings early morning
scolding from my father.
the marshland kids
visiting from california
talk excitedly of peristalsis,
using language so sophisticated
we hardly notice how
the conversation has devolved.
Xan plays christmas melodies on a guitar -
fingers unusually long for someone his age.
Kai speaks deliberately, eloquently.
on new year's eve vardaan rolls through town.
he has been in india; one week ago, on the bay of bengal,
leaving spontaneously for an inland trip three days
before the tsunami destroyed everything in it's path.
now in our neck of the planet, vardaan is fortunate
to have flown away from that spectacle.
i invite him join us and share in our company even though -
in the back of my head i think -
perhaps it's not best to mix spirituality and science
especially when scientists measure and make sense of
reality in one way, and transcendentalists in another.
in this case it is somewhat stressful to see
the scientific method and ayurvedic spiritual principles
sparking over new year's champagne.
those at the table include engineers, physicists and geologists,
more than a few skeptics of all things astrological,
unprovable, new-age-ical, synchronistic or guru-centric;
nothing is said, but a chasm emerges, a gulf deepens -
not unexpectedly, perhaps, in a place so overwhelmingly tilted towards
the rational and scientific, a place where the world's fear of nuclear weapons
is enforced by a strategy of hiring software engineers
who use computer simulation to infer the veracity of weapons
designed to harness the power of the sun,
so deterring other nations from challenging our military superiority.
there is another way.
the day will come when
we will not have to protect ourselves
through the institutionalization of fear.
we are a long way away from harnessing
the power of the heart.
vardaan believes that -
the scientists doubt it.
both might disagree for the time being,
but i think that day will come.
i ski in relative peace.