Motel 6

      by Judy Halebsky

Bashō left Edo walking
he slept at the side of the road
                                                                       a monk came to California
to give a talk and someone asked him, where do you live?
he said motel 6
                              he meant, motel 6
                                                                             he said haiku isn’t 5-7-5
it’s two images that crash together
                                                       to make a third

trying not to keep layers between him and the wind
he slept at the side of the road


                                        * * *


Bashō wrote haiku at parties      to the host      to say thank you
to say goodbye                                        (my mom believes in education
as a kind of religion               (so I had to keep going to school
(even though I told her it’s a big waste of my time)))
we had a Valentine’s Day reading where the theme was bitterness
we read Margaret Atwood’s poem, you fit into me         which is kind of
like a haiku              except it has a first person and a third person
which people say there isn’t in haiku      like a hook into an eye
but that’s kind of misleading     in Japanese the I-s and You-s are
implied    which is different from absent      a fish hook      an open eye


                                        * * *


               when the monk said motel 6
               he meant motel 6
               he meant under the branches of a tree
               along the side of the road
               he meant night is only so long
               he meant start at zero
               he meant now
               he meant we rest where we can


From Tree Line, Kalamazoo, Michigan: New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2014.