AD.

WALKING ON THIN ICE

life or lump?

recent Smithverse
2020.11.24 – I light incense from the coffee fire
2020.11.25 – One from Column A
2020.11.26 – Not time but when

I light incense from the coffee fire
light joint from incense flame
lighten body with above
enlighten soul with the light

~ ~ ~

One from Column A

Small brown bulge in road —
once alive dead bump
or pile of horseshit?

Which’s better?
dump or pile?
life or lump?

Dead?
or never alive?

~ ~ ~

Not time but when
Not where but why

Form is automatic
Function much less so

final notice(s)

Haiku masters were expected to write a final death poem; here are the big 3.

~ ~ ~

falling ill on a journey
my dreams go wandering
over withered fields

– Basho, 1644-1694

~ ~ ~

the night almost past
through the white plum blossoms
a glimpse of dawn

– Buson, 1716-1784

~ ~ ~

a bath when you’re born
a bath when you die
how stupid

– Issa, 1763-1828

~ ~ ~

then there’s

~ ~ ~

Death poems
are mere delusion —
death is death

– Toko, 1710–1795

~ ~ ~

and, while not haiku, still most excellent…

~ ~ ~
Bury me when I die
beneath a wine barrel
in a tavern.
With luck
the cask will leak.

Moriya Sen’an (d. 1838)

seven up

Last few poems… this final year of Trump has slowed my flow, though pace does seems to be quickening.

Interesting how consecutive poems change shape.

2020.10.25 – The green leaves
2020.10.29 – 3-part Harmony
2020.10.31 – I am Wallace’s Steven
2020.11.2 – Between the step and the stair
2020.11.9 – We’re all just on a different laundry cycle
2020.11.11 – Last Summer Day
2020.11.17 – Treasure Chest

3rd poem plays with Wallace, Idaho, where I was born,
and Wallace Stevens mixed with me.

~ ~ ~

The green leaves
in their cold sleeves
wave goodbye to warm

~ ~ ~

3-part Harmony

Rain on roof
rain on deck
rain on leaves
thunder keeping time
underlit by lightning

~ ~ ~

I am Wallace’s Steven
Was Steven’s myth

Sometimes it is best
Not to reread your heroes

~ ~ ~

Between the step and the stair
the earth and the air
entangled

~ ~ ~

We’re all just on a different laundry cycle
your wash is my rinse
my cool your hot
the whole thing mostly moist and lukewarm
with different bleach for each
the lost sock extra
but shrink free
(of course)
nothing personal
as long as you got the quarters for it
and room for water run

~ ~ ~

Last Summer Day

Sun softens wax
and
sun hardens skin
but
sun soothes the soul
so
I sit in sun and soak

~ ~ ~

Treasure Chest

On my right, cat sleeps on soft rocker
to my left, dog sleeps on thick rug floor
in between, covered wife sleeps in stuffed chair

sunrise an hour away
lights off
civilization’s sounds distant

rain wind moans low
dog snores
gas fireplace dances in dark

I finish my coffee
sigh
gather the gold

Wendy/Smith collabs 1& 2

here are 2 fone text collab poems with Wendy Shaffer
(while we begin #3)

~ ~ ~

So It Goes

The fog moves soft on forgotten waters
no sun breaks on the stretched canvas of years

While shadows give birth in tidal pools,
the flickering guppy fins of new thought

From earth through bone and flesh to birth

– Steven B. Smith & Wendy Shaffer 10.8.2020

~ ~ ~

Wotta daze today is, what a strange begone
No yawn, no scat, unlearned, begat
Eye of old, tongue of new, redo

She pauses at the top of the stair
Drumbeat in her chest
Caught between the up and forward
And the going back
Mother to no one
Swallowed by lack

So we do our done of start to finish
This Sisyphus of sum
Climbing day through night to numb

– Steven B. Smith & Wendy Shaffer 11.12.2020