Spare Room:

Haibun Variations

Spare Room: Haibun Variations is Jim Natal's second collection of poems written in the Japanese haibun form, a dialogue between crafted prose and haiku-like poetry that dates back to Japanese haiku master Bashō in the late Seventeenth Century.

At once contemplative and personal, evocative and wry, in Spare Room Natal reworks the traditional haibun form to encompass luminous commentary on contemporary environmental, political, and social issues.

 


 

After Paris in December I walked the beach. Los Angeles never looked so Gauguin, the city of sunshine versus the City of Light so "old and cold and settled in its ways."

The high clouds had been washed with white ink on blue, fat sumi-e brush strokes dispersing as they tailed off to the east, toward the mountains and then the desert.

The tide receded, revealing a boulevard of wet sand that mirrored the sky and made walking an act of levitation.

It was late afternoon. A few people had begun to gather, staking out their spaces to watch the setting of the winter sun. Almost all were alone and had settled equidistant from each other exactly like the gulls standing at the surf line facing out to sea. In a moment of shared reflection, even the ocean withdraws far into itself.

No clump of seaweed--

Long neck twisted, wings, web feet

The dead cormorant

 

Asian fishing bird

Trussed in filament, hooks set

An exquisite corpse

Author photo by Tania Baban
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