Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Degachi **

** Call for hokku, any season (click here)


` Autumn snow ` -
one lost mitten blown
across the playground

Saturday, October 12, 2019


watching Judy Garland --
a couple cuddles close
under the kotatsu

Friday, October 11, 2019

Yotsumono :: tassels

red and yellow silks
weave tassels on the corn --
the crow's keep to the rows

on a rainy Midwest morning,
muted shades of grey

from the very first page
inspiration found
in that new best seller

neither merit nor dishonor
in lines of 1's and o's

Little Book of Yotsumonos


red silk, orange silk
tassels on the corn --
on a rainy Midwest morning,
muted shades of gray

GENJUAN International Haibun Contest 2020 Explained

GENJUAN International Haibun Contest 2020 GUIDELINES

Genjuan 幻住庵 is the name of the cottage near Lake Biwa where, in 1690, Basho lived for a time. His residence in this ‘Vision-Inhabited Cottage’ was probably the happiest period of his life, and it was there that he wrote his most famous short haibun. The purpose of the Contest is to encourage the writing of fine haibun in English and maintain the connection between the traditional Japanese perception of haibun and what is evolving around the world. The judges are hoping that the Contest will continue to receive a warm response from all haibun writers. The award for the Grand Prix remains the same – a fine, full-size replica of a Hokusai or Hiroshige ukiyo-e print – and smaller gifts will be sent to the An (Cottage) Prize-winners. The writers of all the decorated works will receive a certificate of merit. We sincerely look forward to your participation.

Guidelines for 2020

1 Subject: Free.

2 Style: No restrictions, but special attention must be paid to honour the spirit of haikai. This includes such features as the subtle linking of haiku with prose, omission prompting the reader’s imagination, humour and self-deprecation. (Examples of previous year’s winning works can be viewed via the Genjuan page links at top rt. of our top page)

3 Length: In total, between 7 and 35 lines (at 1 line = 80 spaces; a 3-line haiku counts as 3 lines; the title, as 1 line).

4 Haiku/Title: At least one haiku (no formal restrictions) should be included and each piece should be given a title, however short.

5 Format: Print each piece separately on one sheet of A4-size paper (and use the reverse if long) and write at the very bottom your name (and your pen name, if you have one) together with your address, telephone number, and email address. Your privacy will be strictly protected, and the judges will not see your names until the result has been decided.

6 Deadline: All entries should reach the following address between 1 October 2019 and 31 January 2020. Please send your entries to: Ms. Yaeno Azuchi, 53-56 Izumigawa-cho, Shimogamo, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-0807, Japan. Entries received after this date might not be accepted. Kindly avoid sending by express and using extra-large envelopes. Best write your home address on your envelope, too. We apologize for not being able to accept emailed entries.

7 Entry Fee: None.

8 Restrictions: Entrants can send up to three entries, but one or two is what we normally expect. They should be unpublished and not under consideration elsewhere. As we cannot return your entries after screening, please retain your own copies.

9 Questions: All queries should be sent to the address above or by email to yaeno@iris.eonet.ne.jp Email Ms. Azuchi 2 weeks after sending your entries if you wish to have an acknowledgement of receipt.

10 Judges: Akiko Takazawa, Stephen Henry Gill (Tito), Sean O’Connor

11 Special Request: The authors of the decorated works will later be requested to send us their pieces as Word-files by email. In this, we expect your cooperation.

12 Results: The results will be posted on the Hailstone Icebox site by May, after awardees have first been notified by email. Later, the prize-winning pieces will be posted there on a dedicated page. Judges’ comments will, in due course, be sent to awardees, together with prizes and/or certificates of merit.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

another day of rain

crow raises his wings
their sheen in this sleet
Autumn rain

vibrant colours
predominate, vaguely green -
another day of rain

a loud clamour
before these geese depart -
it's only a little rain!

October 12, 2019

Saturday, September 28, 2019

heat lightning

` rain, it's weight a threat
it's just a little heat lightning
` so we stay out to play
then it comes in through the window
` before it closes all our doors

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


Details from Rice Wheelock's astounding new book "What Came After Trump"
" ... at the height of the assault we stacked the bodies of specialized clerks and para legals ten high, like obsolete computers replaced en masse on hand trucks to fill palletainers labeled Untouchable for their precious metals inside. These faithful lay in repose, the wan light of a Commoner's existence reduced to HR files kept for a statutory term, prerequisite discarded, human lives cast aside for the betterment of the Collective.
These remaining minions, grasped in the throes of compelling Newspeak and their fading Hope of Change, an entire life's work gathered in one store, stolen office supplies and quadruplicate forms so carefully collated only to be chucked from behind clerk's windows and defiles of worn office furniture with the intensity only a delusional NPR intern might virtue signal.
Their mode of dress had became one, uniform in that bland, unassuming Casual Friday-ness set aside in wardrobes lent to the mid-century retro receiving stations, non-threatening to the unassuming eye but for the tender pastel or hot pink, adorned by an occasional rainbow badge or a deep abiding purple, the latter a secretive nod to the promise of the Clinton Regime's impending Coup that had never really arrived. But for its obscene profit, had it ever existed at all?
Thus adorned, status and station their only reservation, they commanded an illusory vision of a socialized future yet to be, each kiosk manned exclusively by East African refugees, section Directors afforded shrinking budgets, telltale signs of inevitable decline, with TIP payroll financing and the saturation of recent immigrants in every city center. None of *them* came to work on this day, while the original membership withered away via retirement and /or deceased. Still, they fought vainly on, an alliance of self-loathing, the promise of white guilt relinquished reduced to a whisper from dying lips.
They had perished in vain, these #dotgov union stalwarts, our withering fire of reloaded nails and glass fragments rending terrible damage. That beatific mug behind the horn rimmed glasses most wore in the repose of Death gave away the cognitive dissonance the Many never learned to master, quite unlike the Few who even realized they'd been had.
Despite their unwitting Marxist endeavors, they, nonetheless, were performed in spirit only. They had been caught completely unaware in the Hive Mind. This is the final biography the Convention relied on, it's Life's Blood the insouciant and clueless.
There they lie, in Solidarity, stacked one on the other to protect us from the ceaseless rain of sharp office equipment launched on our position just inside the Mezzanine, in full view of the spector of Blind Conformity they'd succumbed to.
At great cost we suffered the relentless barrage, like Main Stream Media piped into a locked and padded room, incurring a thousand deadly paper cuts, dodging an entire IBM Selectric now and then, dregs of government largess, surplus machines like new but for the dried ribbons that sometime befouled our surveillance portals and rendered unto others of us the incomprehensible horror of ink cartridges so foul as to drive us mad in the belief we would never remove its stain from our fingers."

Thursday, August 29, 2019


Autumn's approach --
today, the river's promise
brighter than most

Tuesday, August 6, 2019


an inscription
forgotten for a decade
a sense of giri
unfolds and envelopes
more deeply than this heat

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

a simple sandwich
like Nanna used to make
the days grow longer


a lone blue iris
weeds grow aplenty
beneath the treeline

a rabbit takes flight!
yet the mourning dove remains
somber in repose