Asilomar Pines: A Kasen Renku

Previously published in Geppo (need to confirm the issue) 2002. Patricia J. Machmiller served as renku leader (sabaki), with help from Donnalynn Chase. Written by Michael Dylan Welch, Anne Homan, Donnalynn Chase, Carol Steele, Carolyn Fitz, Emiko Miyashita, Alison Woolpert,, Karina Young, Charlie Sciambi, Jerry Ball, Patrick Gallagher, David Priebe,Wendy Wright, and Kay Anderson.

Asilomar pines

emerging from the fog—

our family reunion Michael Dylan Welch

a special guest’s birthday

during the dark of moon Anne Homan

a perfect square

reflecting off its greenness—

polished apple Donnalynn Chase

riding with my friend

in her racy convertible Carol Steele

we dash under the eaves

unexpected summer rain

only half soaked Carolyn Fitz

a goldfish sleeps

by a ceramic bridge Emiko Miyashita

father and son

in a clarinet duet

how sweet it is Anne Homan

they kiss after

the refinance goes through Alison Woolpert

no phone call

yet I know he’s alone tonight

the Pacific between us Emiko Miyashita

the sun rises

over the arroyo Karina Young

bits of bicycle chain

used as jewelry—

we exchange peace signs Michael Dylan Welch

they argue

who will die first Carolyn Fitz

winter moon—

the steel yard’s guard dog

pacing, pacing Michael Dylan Welch

my granddaughter squishes

the gingerbread man’s raisin eye Anne Homan

she shakes her cane

at the T.V., but still

votes Democrat Alison Woolpert

with steadfast resolve

he stands before the cheering crowd Charlie Sciambi

a jet overhead

we remember that day—

new cherry blossoms Karina Young

soap bubbles

from the basement window Emiko Miyashita

manicured golf course—

sprinkler beating

a sudden tattoo Michael Dylan Welch

Martha Stewart sells stock

gets ousted as CEO Carol Steele

late-night film—

I notice all the scenes

with dangling cigarettes Anne Homan

two Arab presidents

cheek to cheek Michael Dylan Welch

ίAy, dios mio!

July gas bill

doubled Alison Woolpert

the Buddhist nun’s dragonfly

in my garden Karina Young

surviving chemo

she gives a whoop

at her art show Anne Homan

claiming he forgot his hat

he waits for her to answer Jerry Ball

Paris weekend

the mime makes clear

his love Patrick Gallagher

a memorial service

for the flowers’ sacrifice Carol Steele

moon caught

in a bird cage—

shadows of bamboo Emiko Miyashita

a ghoul comes seeking

the geode of my heart David Priebe

fallen maple leaf

flapping from the trunk

even after the car wash Carolyn Fitz

helping her with her jacket

she tells me about my mother Donnalynn Chase

at last light

the old soprano holds

a high note Wendy Wright

pomp and circumstance

the snowy egret stalks the shore Kay Anderson

I eat

a cherry blossom

from her popcorn bag Carolyn Fitz

he sends a poem

up the kite string Wendy Wright


Verse 1: Asilomar is a conference center in Pacific Grove, California.

Verse 23: “ίAy, dios mio!” means “Oh, my god!” in Spanish.

Verse 28: “flower’s sacrifice” A flower arranger’s ceremony to thank the flowers for giving their lives.