by James Shea

Upon Kissing You After You Vomited.

Upon Walking You Home and You Pissing

in Your Pants. Upon Asking a Complete Stranger

about Our Situation. Upon Reading Issa’s

Prescripts “Issa in a State of Illness,”

“At Being Bewildered on Waking” and Realizing

the Haiku Poets Were Not So Laconic and How

Could They Be? Poem Before Dying. Poem

Shortly Before I Head to Dinner. Poem in Which

I Enter Drops of Dew Like a Man with Tiny Keys.

Hitomaro has a poem called On Seeing

the Body of a Man Lying Among the Stones

on the Island of Samine in Sanuki Province.

Kanyu’s short poem is called A Poem

Shown to My Niece Sonshō on Reaching

the Barrier of the Ran After Being Relegated

to an Inferior Position. Poem Louis Aragon

Would Be Proud Of. Poem I’ll Never Show You.

Poem Written in a Bugs Bunny Cartoon as the

Plane’s Controls Come Off in My Hands. Poem

that Jerks Around Like a Hamster in a Bag. Bashō

wrote a haiku for his students that he claimed

was his death poem. The night before

he said that for the last 20 years every poem

he had written had been his death poem. Upon

No Longer Recalling My Thoughts When I Was a Boy

Within My Father’s Stare. At Being Exhausted

at Having to Explain Why Using Slang

Is More Fun Than Reading a Dictionary of Slang.

The poet Saikaku once wrote 23,500 verses

in 24 hours. Bashō saw Mt. Nikkō and said,

“I was filled with such awe that I hesitated

to write a poem.” Upon Looking Past You

into the Mattress, into the Faces of Prior Lovers.

Upon Trying to Cultivate My Inner Life While

also Killing My Ego. On Watching

a 200 pd. Endangered Orangutan

Rape My Wife While She Shouts at Me

Not to Shoot Him. On Seeing a Bloodshot

Spanish Boy Who Was Not Even Crying He Was So Sad

and Not Even Crying He Was So Sad. Poem

in Which I Embody a Moment So Vividly, So

Succinctly, Yet Decorate It with Such Sills,

Such Elaborations. Upon Doodling Your Name

Which Became Your Face Emerging From Day-Old

Coals. Upon Reading that Bashō Believed “A Haiku

Revealing 70 to 80% of Its Subject Is Good, Yet

Those Revealing 50 to 60% Will Never Bore Us.”

On Finally Leaving My Attic and Hearing English

for the First Time in 20 Years and It Sounding

Like an Animal’s Cry Before It Attacks. Poem

in Response to Flying all the Way to Rome

to Meet You and Being Dumped at the Airport.

Poem about the Next Two Weeks We Spent Together.

Poem as I Sit on This Curb with My Head

in My Hands. Poem After Learning the Japanese

Word for the Simultaneous Feeling of Love

and Hatred. Poem for the Mountain at the End

of My Street. Poem in Response to Some of My

Recent Poems that Seem to Have Been Written

Inside an Aquarium. On Spending a Week in Silence

at a Monastery and Not Being Allowed Pen or Paper.

On Meditating and Feeling Like I Was a Blue Flame.

On Getting Up and Scribbling Something in the Bathroom.

On Stopping at the Train Tracks and Having a Deer

Break His Head Through My Passenger Window,

Stare at Me, and Then Run Back into the Wood.

This poem, consisting of titles for unwritten poems, perhaps each one being like a haiku, is from Star in the Eye, Fence Books, 2008.