Monday, May 31, 2010

Three Snippets Of Reality

(1) Class reunion,
Smiles, forced-fun, all around...
Expensive, gaudy clothes,
Pressed, smooth, and prim...
The only wrinkles
Are on the faces.

(2) A guest at a formal party,
In a crowded part of the room,
Holding full tea cups in both hands...
Sneezes violently
(With kinetic results)...
Minor social chaos ensues.

(3) Awoken suddenly
From an exhausted sleep
By the ring-tone beep
Of the cell phone
Still held in my right hand.

Office Politics

Home from the office party
Where I poured happy beer
For our new young boss...
Who worked under me, last year.

I slump, drunk and cross,
Pride hurt, will sapped...
Wondering, with the sense of loss,
Of one who has been lapped.

How much longer will this race be run,
Finished, before the running's done.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

SENRYU -- 川柳

"SENRYU" is a short, 3-line, type of Japanese poem, very much like a "HAIKU". But unlike HAIKU, which tend to focus on nature, SENRYU are more about human situations, using ironic, sardonic, and darkish humor. Lots of Japanese humor occurs in the minor chord, so to speak.

This blog entry will mark the beginning of my efforts to make Japanese SENRYU more available to English readers. The poems below, come from the Mainichi Newspaper's SENRYU page (link provided). Each is shown in the original Japanese, followed by my attempt at a translation (including the provisional titles).

Here's the fist batch --- Enjoy!

= = = = = = = = = =

-- Hesitation At A Crosswalk


Shingo wa ao da ga
Mukou ni...
Tsuma ga iru.

The light has turned green
But on the other side...
My wife awaits.

= = = = = = = = = =

== Midnight Jitters

誰がいる --

Dare ga iru --
Neko no ibiki de
Me ga sameru.

Who is there?
Suddenly awoken
By the cat's snore.

= = = = = = = = = =

-- Fashion Choice


Shufu-butori --
Hajime no ippo,
Jaa-zi kara.

Housewife's weight gain --
The first step is,
Wearing those sweats.

= = = = = = = = = =

-- My New Plasma T.V.


Senmei na gamen de

The screen is so beautiful
And distinct, showing
The usual stupidity.

= = = = = = = = = =

-- Honeymoon Illusion


Fuu-fu tabi
Ni-haku Mikka ga
Gendo desu.

Husband and wife trip
2-nights and 3 days
Is the absolute limit.

= = = = = = = = = =

-- Lost Power Of Youth


Sho-ben de
Ji o kake-naku-te,
Sabishii na.

So sad I can no longer
Write characters on the ground
With a strong piss.

ElzoHarm Art (No. 9)

Behold the giants walking
Magical, in single file,
Through the clouds they wade,
In mysterious rhythm, without talking,
Each spindly stride, a country mile,
Behold the giants parade!

Led by a towering peacock-stork,
Three zebra-tree-men dance,
To old-school funky from New York...
And in the wake of their advance,
Rain clouds form, full of art,
Precipitating inspiration,
Raining-down cool and hip,
Aesthetic inundation,
Which lingers after they depart,
Like the wake of a laden treasure ship.

Behold the giants' ambulation,
Soaking the soul of our arid nation.

Hamster's Progress

Like wading through a weedy lake,
Forward I move through the worldly tasks
Which lie ahead in endless strings,
Each earthly day, some new ones brings...
I slog ahead, stoicly, as duty asks.

At times I stop, though,
Tentative, dazed, suspended...
Inertia prevailing, Momentum upended --
Then resume my pace, calloused and slow,
Saying Yes, but thinking No.

If there's someone watching from above,
Perhaps the thought of being seen,
Receiving gifts of hope and love,
Revives me in my grim routines...
I have meaning! I can feel!
Walking in life's hamster wheel.

My Wife (The Who)

My life's in jeopardy
Murdered in cold blood is what I'm gonna be
I ain't been home since Friday night
And now my wife is coming after me

Give me police protection
Gonna buy a gun so
I can look after number one
Give me a bodyguard
A black belt Judo expert with a machine gun

Gonna buy a tank and an aeroplane
When she catches up with me
Won't be no time to explain
She thinks I've been with another woman
And that's enough to send her half insane
Gonna buy a fast car
Put on my lead boots
And take a long, long drive
I may end up spending all my money
But I'll still be alive

All I did was have a bit too much to drink
And I picked the wrong precinct Got picked up by the law
And now I ain't got time to think

Gonna buy a tank and an aeroplane
When she catches up with me
Won't be no time to explain
She thinks I've been with another woman
And that's enough to send her half insane
Gonna buy a fast car
Put on my lead boots
And take a long, long drive
I may end up spending all my money
But I'll still be alive

And I'm oh so tired of running
Gonna lay down on the floor
I gotta rest some time so
I can get to run some more

She's comin'!
She's comin'!

(By John Entwistle)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Getting Over The Wall

Writer's block... Who woulda thunk,
The words flow better when you're drunk.

Thoughts, ideas, dreams,
Neither special nor insightful,
But creating what was not there
Borders on delightful...

Beating-out the tedious odds,
You emulate the gods.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Write drunk; edit sober.” ~Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stress Can Be Your Friend

(Found on the Web, at

While chronic or extreme stress levels have been linked to heart disease and hypertension, among other things, research suggests that moderate levels can actually boost your health. Here's how it works --- When you're stressed, your adrenal glands release a cascade of hormones, including adrenaline, which ups your heart rate and boosts energy; and cortisol, which increases glucose in the bloodstream. When your body gets overwhelmed with these chemicals for weeks and months, you start to see ill effects. But in short bursts (like a day or less), stress can make your body more efficient and your mind razor sharp. For example, cortisol works in the brain to enhance learning and memory. Also, when you're stressed, your body pumps out oxytocin, a hormone that facilitates bonding -- making this is an ideal time to network and interact with others. Stress can make you heartier -- Channel it to heal your body -- Bursts of stress may prime your body to battle future ailments, and can even boost the immune system. Work through the short-term challenges, knowing that as long as you take some downtime later to breathe, your body's got you covered.

Small Courage

Fear must not delay!

Brave action I must take...

Step on the scales

Near The End Of May 2010

How can it be, that in the midst of all the green,
Things can be so negative and mean.

Sitting for mind-numbing, screen-sucking, hours,
Missing the rebirth of spring, and the flowers
Which no one has the time to smell
As we treadmill, loyally, in our office hell.

But the others, who share my shift and place,
It's them who are my saving grace ---
We all pull, like sled-dogs, on the run ---
Not unhappy, in a space, which sees not the sun.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Too Early

Things are a bit murky this morning...
I stumble around,
Bleary-confused, somewhat off-kilter...
In my head there's the sound,
Of a low-java warning...
Then, finding the coffee,
Joy jumps with a bound
Until it sinks in
That I don't have a filter.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Varanus Komodoensis

"A pair of Komodo dragons we are"
She proclaimed, as we walked abreast
Through a populous thronging human place,
Together always, not near, not far,
New owners of an empty nest,
Used to each other's rhythm and pace,
We raptor-walk through the sound, light, and space...

We are old lizard friends, I suppose,
Our reptile secret, which nobody knows.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tomorrow Never Knows (The Beatles)

Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream
It is not dying, it is not dying

Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void
It is shining, it is shining

Yet you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being

Love is all and love is everyone
It is knowing, it is knowing

And ignorance and hate mourn the dead
It is believing, it is believing

But listen to the colour of your dreams
It is not leaving, it is not leaving

So play the game "Existence" to the end
Of the beginning, of the beginning
Of the beginning, of the beginning
Of the beginning, of the beginning
Of the beginning, of the beginning

(By John Lennon & Paul McCartney)

HVV Hengelo

The first kick-off, full of hope,
Rolls to the waiting shoes
Of Dutch men in shorts,
Wearing golds and blues,

Blue the color of the sky,
On a wondrous happy day,
The pitch is green and dry,
German army has gone away,
Its scars the games detoxify
On a peaceful field of play, 

It had taken so long,
To replant, and to grow,
Repair what was so wrong,
Finally, it's good, like long ago,
"Hooray for HVV Hengelo!"

ElzoHarm Art (No. 8)


== Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths. (Joseph Campbell)

== One of the most adventurous things left us is to go to bed. For no one can lay a hand on our dreams. (E. V. Lucas)

== I have always been amazed at the way an ordinary observer lends so much more credence and attaches so much more importance to waking events than to those occurring in dreams... Man... is above all the plaything of his memory. (Andre Breton)

== All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity -- but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. (T. E. Lawrence)

Bad Memory

Recalled with a cringe,
And unable to escape the memory
I'm trapped...
With a claustrophobic feeling,
Like being held under a coarsely-woven blanket,
With water poured onto to it, from above
Where the sun shines
On the unstained innocence and natural joy,
Which can't be felt from
The wet and suffocating darkness inside.

Teen Angst

She sits in the chair,
Drop-dead gorgeous, across the room,

But I won't approach her
Anytime soon ---

She may as well be on the moon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


What is it about the sound
Of a woman's silly laughing,
That it can pierce through what's around
And the lunch-crowd murmur-hum,
Glance off the walls, bounce of the ground,
And wake me from my napping...?

Random Thoughts

The people sit, in a row
Rigid and quiet ---
Zen on a train.
- - - - - - - - - -
Bright spring colors wrap
A pigeon-toed girl
Walking cat-soft
In a kimono.
- - - - - - - - - -
The poisonous Habu viper
Lies coiled and still ---
In a bottle of Sho-chu.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Shichi Fuku-Jin (The 7 Gods Of Good Fortune)

Shichi Fuku-Jin (Doggerel Description)

For the happiness that you have today,
You can give your thanks to HOTEI.

If it's a long life that you are in,
Genuflect to JURYOJIN.

Hoping for money in your bank account,
FUKUROKUJIN will cover the amount.

If you and yours come under attack,
Strong BISHAMON has got your back.

Music, beauty, and the wisdom of men,
Are the gifts of the graceful BENTEN.

Protecting the household's fiscal health,
Thank DAIKOKU for your home and wealth.

For merchants and fishermen, at sea and on land,
It's EBISU the Jolly who gives them a hand.

It's Japanese instinct to look up to heaven,
And hope for help from the magnanimous seven.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Walk Like A Japanese

Japanese people walking by,
Full of purpose --
Perfectionists in navy, black, and gray,
Carrying the ancient weight of their tribe
In a Japanese way.

Japanese people talking,
In controlled and quiet tones,
Trapped on crowded islands
Verdant, and with gods,
Surrounded by ancestors' bones.

Two Haiku On A Kanto Morning

Her voice is pretty
Cheerfully greeting me --
From a vending machine

- - - - - - - - - -

The placard seems
So helpful and informative --
Unreadable, in kanji

At The Hospital

An old man, senior-shuffling,
Goes to the counter
Not without pride,
And anxiety,
Though he tries to keep it inside.

His health is shot,
And there's clouds in his brain,
He explains to the nurse
But it's clearly a strain
To say what he thinks, or hear her refrain...
He's trapped in a curse
We all will someday share
In other hospitals elsewhere.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Henny Youngman Haiku

(1) Playing golf today
Hit two good balls
Stepped on a rake...

(2) Why do Jewish men die
Before their wives...?
They want to.

(3) I wanted to be an atheist
But then I gave it up...
No holidays

(4) My wife dresses to kill
And she cooks --
The same way

(5) She's been married
So many times...
Rice-marks on her face

(6) The secret of
A happy marriage
Remains a secret.

(7) A fastidious couple!
She is fast and...
He is hideous.

ElzoHarm Art (No. 7)

Farewell At A Virtual Pier In Omaha

The hour is nearly up,
As sunshine heralds farewell's setting
Old-man Time has won the betting
How much I've lost is still unknown
Unfocused in retrospect or sentiment,
It waits to be discovered missing.

No ribbons from a parting ship
Can hope to sway its course
And, alone on the pier, I hold the ragged ends
As I turn to the city behind me...
Static, neurotic, fossil fuels and trends,
Housing its video-saturated souls
In gated suburban holes.

Autumn Breeze (In The 1970s)

A breath of tepid air
Tickles the grass --- meandering
It coerces the last yellow-brown leaves
From their lofty homes,
To float aimlessly below.

The autumn breeze is surrounding
And perverting
The once-green artwork
Of summer and spring.

A dog barks in the distance,
At a passing car, I suppose
As I kick at the gravel below my feet
And think of lost love.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Magic Carpet Ride

Take it from someone who walks a lot...

The automobile is an amazing thing,
Which we take way too much for granted.
It's a miracle -- A kind of floating armchair,
The magic carpet of Arabian legend

Actually, I think man was really meant (designed?) to walk...

Here's something mental to try
The next time you drive...

As you, ensconced upon your ride,
Roll-along on the pavement,
(Doesn't need to be fast)
Task your amazing wrinkled brain
To imagine the car is not there...
And that you are, instead, gliding,
Seated, so smoothly, about 2 feet above the ground.

The key is to will the car to disappear,
In your mind,
So you can sense the space
You are fly-floating over...

It works --- And it makes you realize
How cars have turned us into gods
Wafting-around at speedy low-altitudes,
As long as there's gas...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Visit To The Zoo

The dromedary belches and blinks it his cage,
Lacking all sense of boredom or rage,
Hump-proud, he pisses a wonderful stream,
Which puddles the hot-dry concrete,
And he dreams of the desert
And drools...

The cheetah has no special cynicism
That bitters the beat of her pace
She languidly strolls 'round her jungled partition
At least five hundred times a day
Endless repetition
With spots...

The gibbon holds no hate as he swings
On the limbs of a chain-link tree
Tail-hanging, catching the treats from below
Which the ape-faced onlookers offer and throw
Urging him to perform
His cousins...

The three o'clock heat, beats down on the father
Who carries his boy through the hot parking lot
"Can we come here again?" the son asks his pop
"To look at the wild ones and see what we're not?"
"Sure thing" says daddy, with sweat soaking through
"There's no better place for a kid than the zoo."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Doutor Coffee Shop At The Daiei

Time for some coffee -- Give the feet a rest
I think to myself as I enter the shop
And find it a parlour of cramped plastic-stress,
But it's good to the last Java drop...?

The milk-steamer, is a screamer,
Like nails on slate, but meaner...
A snake of a sound, all trapped in the space,
Along with the crowd which burst-fills the place.

And I sit with my espresso
A perfectly wired messo...


Tired -- Fallen like a feather
Into a luscious-soft-warm nap...
The phone rings.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

ElzoHarm Art (No. 6)

In-Laws Over For Drinks

Let's pause for a moment, and consider the day,
When the in-laws came by for a while...

We fixed Margaritas, in a family way,
And drank in convivial style.

Conversation, it flowed, as the light dimmed to gray,
The food, it ran out -- but then there was more,
Till not much was left, to ponder or say,
So we showed them the door...
In a family way.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Past Midnight

The soft tapping of the keyboard
In the quiet of the night,
Like an insect's chirp --
A plastic-metallic cricket...

I'm silently aware, of the others out there...
Writing words while their loved ones sleep,
Insomniac, inspired -- But so damn tired...
Like centipedes, our minutes creep
Ahead to what we know not where.

Golden Week Vacation (29 April-05 May)

It's time for a spring vacation,
And the folks of the Japanese nation,
Crowd the roads going out to the hills,
For hours of leasure and thrills...
Traffic backs up, and hope is deferred,
And no voices of real anger are heard,
Just crawl, with a frown, through the car-line peak,
Along with the others, during Golden Week.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bumper Stickers (1)

Honk if you've never seen a gun fired from a moving vehicle.

You're just jealous because the voices only talk to ME.

The trouble with the gene pool is that there's no lifeguard.

Therapy is expensive. Popping bubble wrap is cheap. You choose.

All men are idiots, and I married their King.

If you can read this, I've lost the trailer!

Liberal Arts major: will think for food.

Veni, Vidi, Velcro. I came, I saw, I stuck around.

So many cats, so few recipes.

If you see this vehicle being operated in an unsafe manner, try to think of it as one more anomaly in the cosmic order.

I'm the product of a secret government project.

Without geometry, life is pointless.

So many stupid people, and so few asteroids.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Three Thoughts From Thales

Thales, the Greek mathematician & philosopher, lived from 624 to 546 BCE --- Let's see... That's 70 years. Must have been a ripe old age for those days. I'd be happy myself to make it to 70.

You can learn more about Thales, a most interesting man, at this link:

Here's three things he said:

-- Hope is the only good that is common to all men; those who have nothing else possess hope still.

-- Nothing is more active than thought, for it travels over the universe, and nothing is stronger than necessity for all must submit to it.

-- The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.