Sunday, November 23, 2014

…"not even the rain…" e.e. cummings

nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands. 
Such a beautiful line!

Here is the complete poem:

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond

E. E. Cummings1894 - 1962
somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands
e.e. cummings

Misconceptions in writing haiku

Even in college, I was surprised (as well as frustrated by the arrogance of a published poetry professor) who insisted that haiku must be 17 syllables. Rigid adherence to the 5-7-5 rule!

This is such an entrenched belief, taught to students from elementary grades and beyond.

In Japanese, a haiku poem is usually divided into three groups/lines of syllables, the first and last with five syllables, the second with seven. However, be careful not to get stymied by strict adherence to the number of syllables and miss the essence of haiku. The 17 syllables is not an absolute rule. Most Japanese syllables are short, as in po-ta-to. English syllables can be long, and take up too much space in a haiku, so English haiku frequently have fewer than 17 syllables, sometimes as few as ten. (from: The History and Artistry of Haiku, Patricia Burleson)

Haiku is a moment in time, in the present.  An act of not thinking but being.  It is noticing. Seeing. It is elegance and brevity. Balance. It is all of you within that moment without the ego of you interfering. 

Haiku is not the creation of crunching an experience into a set of syllables for syllable's sake. 

Rain haiku

Saturday, November 8, 2014


snorts out its fear
its arrogance a cold cloak

i know what I know,
saw what i saw...

light emits
whispers rustle
blue trees bend, remaining silent.
voices float downstream
heavy moons, full,
hang above.

time is Time is 
missing, not lost
withheld in a floating orb.

i know what i know,
i saw what i saw. . .

march 2014/eugene

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Square in the Void of Space

4 a.m.
before that, talking
crazy talking, ranting
doors flung open, 
shouts into the moonlight.

naked, we flopped into bed
still dark, now quiet
until Jack flew in
still talking ranting dancing
called us square for
being pissed at the intrusion,
laughed as he went on
about Hawaii, Catholics, Dorothy Dandridge,
jukeboxes, gypsies, the mob, Philly, and the
assurances of an empty space,
a starless void
silence in the cold dark
when we die.

regan lee
june 2014
eugene, oregon

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Fish-Mist Air

through the fog; faded red on
pale yellow stucco
chipped blue octopus-eyes wide
above murky letters.

old and small it sits, cracks,
on the boardwalk
seal barks echo off the steamed-smeared glass
then the heavy sloshing as white throats
turn in filmy water

through the night of the closed pier,
the fish-mist air,
blurred shapes glide, endlessly
between dull green light and
sea-weed shadows.

regan lee
march 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

long gone

kids aren't stupid
and the L.A. sun cracking on the clown face was
no surprise

inside, in the cool dim kitchen
our moms in sherbet dresses drank and smoked and laughed
tumblers of jewel colors in their hands,
raised to the warm glass of the kitchen window

outside, beneath the hard lime trees 
animals arose, twisted out of 
bright pinks and yellows
squeaky poodles and blue giraffes,
tinny music from the portable record player set on the
shaky tv table

faded diamonds, flat ruffles,
Dads long gone.

wrapping paper and rough ribbon on the
brown-green square of yard
bits of frosting stuck to fingers, shoes …

the moms leave the coppery kitchen, stumbling
just a little on the rocky dry grass
kids leave, Dads still long gone

later, cold chicken and spanish rice
in the coppery kitchen,
moms return to their jeweled tumblers 
and Dads
still long gone.

regan lee
march 2014
eugene oregon

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Big Duke

big hat
big man
five pointed star
Oklahoma way
Big Duke
dancer man
Stagecoach sheriff
Buffalo Bill
hat-sweat-band, snake oil man
selling on the bay
mayor's wife
train ride
meeting in the dark,
or maybe a hot afternoon
unannounced stops
carny barker, yep
rumored heritages
Indian mom; Cherokee, Lennape
unknown father
West Virginia
illegal soldier
out west
orange groves, empty lots
Tom Mix,
tricks with whips,
spinning women
spider tattoos
Erroll Flynn, John Ford
on set
drunken history, only murmured
affairs and age, ignored
repeated lore.

my memories, only five
Big Duke, white haired, so very long
cane by chair
annoyed, or a rough laugh
as i climbed up furniture
holding red and yellow,
purple 78s
to the sun through
tiny round windows,
squish green centered mints in
an aqua glass dish

death comes
five year olds hustled away
funerals, adults only
and gone.

regan lee
march 2014
eugene, oregon

Monday, March 17, 2014


dusk, goats
stuck in straw
big round bulbs of white light
shines down on the little one
covered in its mother’s birth slime
the squishy “pop” of its arrival from birth canal to asphalt
still loud in my ears.

i am startled by the throw back dress of the goat people:
suspenders holding up pants, 
small smashed-on-heads-hats,
shirtless, sweat, tattoos
cigarettes doing the dangle from the, yep,
heavily tooth-lessed owners

all seem to barely notice, this goat
just born
while we look on, some holding up 
their kids to look, their feet kicking
above the flimsy wire fence

i move on, disgusted not
by birth, or slime
or even dirt smudged and spitting goat people
but the families, oh so all-American, 
at this circus,
this carnival,
this tacky venue hawked
as wholesome,
an economy boon
educational opportunity
fun fucking outing.

tigers snarl, elephants slow-motion their moves,
the caged ones roar and trumpet behind the tents.

muck, sticky straw, stale oil, greasy lights, 
flaked thick paint once red, now brown,
sticks to our skin as
we make our way through 
the hot summer crowds
on this circus night.

regan lee
march 20014
eugene, or

Monday, February 17, 2014

i wrote about figs

i wrote about
curry and pomegranate

heat through the glass

the remains of sweet rice in blue
glazed bowls.

a cold fog thumps
while we wait.

regan lee
feb. 2014