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--- K E N N Y   T A N E M U R A

FISHERMAN'S WHARF--I talk to Kasia on the phone, she's in rainy Milwaukee driving south to get out of her too-familiar neighborhood and she finds a café called The High Five to practice for a math test; near the restaurant and bowling alley where I met her friends Carolyn and Bonnie. I don't know what to do without her.

After the kite fell to the ground, it had no soul. --Kubonta

Midwestern values, Kasia's friends were skeptical about our age difference, 12 years, and what a 34 year old man is doing unmarried, without children? Were they skeptical of the interracial element, me Asian and she Polish, an anomaly on the streets of Milwaukee, Madison, Kenosha?

The unpolished dolls propped against the corner are also man and wife --Buson

Sun's out, I can lie on the grass. I tell Kasia it's nice out and I'm just going to sit on this bench in the sun for 2 hours, too lazy to walk down to North Beach for coffee and book-browsing. I want her a little envious so she'll feel good about moving to California to be with me. The pigeons at my feet are picking at grains in the cobblestones.

One pigeon, freak, alone in the flock, shows it-- brown-white feathered thing.

My editor at AsianWeek wants the Asian American take on pop culture, which in his mind is the new Ashton Kutcher movie, Guess Who; Sin City, already reviewed well in the Bay Guardian; the parallel between the Pope's death and Terri Shiavo. I add things to the list: The Simple Life, Paris Hilton, Hunter S. Thompson's posthumous collection. People and things associated with the dominant culture, non-Asian. Make it Asian somehow. "I don't know if you can do it," the editor says.

Ebb-tide - the crab is skeptical about the foot-print. --Rofu

I'm not sure I see the point; to focus on the culture that's in the air and everyone's familiar with, but no one bothers to care to have an opinion about. Why us? What do we have to gain? Will studio executives reallynotice us just because we put our take on Queen Latifah out there? "Why aren't more Asian women like Queen Latifah?" the editor said. "Do we want them to be more like Queen Latifah?" I said. "I don't know." Nobody seems to.

Looking up at the tip of a huge ship-- low tide. --Shiki

Meanwhile the new day job at Evans Research awaits me. Conducting market research surveys for Starbucks and Wells Fargo. "Who cares?" the editor would say, a question never asked in a poetry workshop, where we assume no one will to begin with.

A green willow droops into the mud, low tide. --Basho

But in a newspaper, the space a column takes up costs money, and it has to be balanced against the amount of advertising the paper is pulling in. The editor has to make projections about how many people will care about those 500 words in the bottom left corner of the Arts & Entertainment section.

As soon as I picked it up, I was smiling-- Dolls for sale. --Baishitsu

I care, the poet says, and that's enough to justify the project. That's enough to write a haiku about anything--

Hours of yard work yesterday, my hands want to cut lush lawn at Joseph Conrad Square.

I have to cut out of training early, much to the disapproval of Evans Research. Even if I leave 4 hours earlier than scheduled, I have to catch a bus across town and walk 8 blocks to SoMarts on Brannan to make it to Catalina Cariaga's workshop on triangulating narrativity.

Rice-seedling beds-- the writing paper is a rectangle, the drawing paper is a square. --Shiki

My assignment is boring, proficient. I can justify it better in prose: what would Joan Mitchell do with a triangle? She would take it apart, make an array of shapes and forms, figures and scenes out of it. No single point of the triangle would serve as a marker of shape. She would barely keep you in the frame with a line here, a splash of orange there. Everything else on the canvas would be shapeless in the conventional sense, but looking closer, the deliberate construction of structure would appear to the eye.

Plum tree on the river-bank-- falling into water, blossoms disappear. --Buson

Same with my poem, which contains the Pope and Terri Schiavo, Wuthering Heights, Princess Mononoke, Warsaw, the I Ching, Frank Chin, The Philippine Building, Sin City, The Moon in Aquarius, all abstracted together to form a whole composition. Why does that sound better than the actual poem?

Pigeons and sparrows at ebb-tide imitate us. --Issa

The Pope's Sinful Horoscope

"The Pope's health had worsened," Smoking, found in an alley, or Wuthering Heights, Like watching Princess Mononoke in Warsaw, Just press send before you lose your courage, Her friend Bonnie encouraged her. Art can be found, did you read the article About plus size, fine watches? The I Ching Drones on about political conflicts, Homemade furniture, justice, journalists And what is the symbolism of the #, 4? Frank Chin said parking tickets tickle, But who has the money? There should be Polling done to find out. A guy in the Philippine Building Does it for a living, catches flicks Like Sin City: "stark black-and-white, With shocking bits of color dropped in for emphasis." Then he lost his job and became a pet-sitter, But how do you become a star In the world of pet-sitting, he asked himself? He was lucky to buy a new t-shirt, Hocked his knickknacks and sold his hens. His lungs filled with tar, he pinned his hopes On some basketball team's pre-playoff record. He needed to gather up his nets. The Moon was in Aquarius and he could Pull in a haul, there's more to his take Than he thought, he'd read in the horoscope. "Some contrasted the Pope's passing on his own terms To the legal and political battle That surrounded the death of Terri Schiavo."

After dark, I wanted to change the way I grafted the camellia. --Issa

KASIA CALLS AGAIN-- from The High Spot in Milwaukee, and I'm still sitting on the same bench. She tells me about a black leather mini-skirt and white silk hat with sequins she bought at the vintage store across the street. Then she went back to The High Five, tried studying more math, got bored and called. I tell Kasia I'm still sitting in the same spot. She misses me and loves me. I don't want to move.

A leaf fell, settled on the patch of lawn where I thought to sit.

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