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.