Monday, February 9, 2009

Dragonfly (page 7)


The next poem in the book is also related to insects. Not really certain what this insect mania is all about, especially since I'm not much of an insect lover, but there it is. In this poem, though, we don't have a noble, regal insect like the dragonfly or a pillar-of-the-earth insect like the beetle; instead we feature one of the world's worst pests, a potentially deadly one at that.

Mosquito / Manila Haiku


Lazy mosquito
Lazy mosquimeanders through air, sated
Lazy mosquimeanders through air, satwith my daughter's blood.

Lazy mosquimeanderIn her dark room, I
Lazy mosquimeanderIn her dark stand like a tai chi dancer
. . .
Lazy mostill . . . hand cocked to strike.

Lazy mostill . . .I swat, miss six times.
LazyMosquito must be thinking:
LazyYou stupid, clumsy

LazyYou stupid, clumsyhuman. I lose him
LazyYou stupid, clumsyhuman. I lose hmin the arabesque pattern
LazyYou stupid, clumsyhuman. of floor tiles, blood red.

LazyYou My mind flutters back:
LazyYou My mind caress of mosquito nets
LazyYou My mind rough against your cheek . . .

LazyYou My mind rough against your chiiblack beetle whirring,
LazyYou My mind rouitethered to the polished brass
LazyYou My mind rough against your chiiblack knobs of the dresser . . .

LazyYou night air heavy with
LazyYou night air heavy bougainvillea, magnolia
LazyYou night . . . thrum of cicadas.

LazyYou night air heavy bougainvillea, magEach mosquito bite
LazyYou night on my skin marked with crosses
carved by fingernails:

LazyYou night on my sstigmata, holy
medals imprinted, nightly
medals imprinted, nightliritual hunt. Amen.


Page 7




I suppose some entomologist out there in the peanut gallery may be bristling at my inconsiderate labeling of the mosquito as "the world's worst pest." Here, I'll throw you a bone: in the Disney cartoon Lilo and Stitch, the Earth is actually a wildlife preserve to protect the mosquito from harm and ensure that it thrives. There you go. It could be true.

With regard to poetics, this poem is an example of linked haiku: haiku that are both freestanding and interconnected for larger meaning. Each stanza is a haiku that can be parsed, one hopes, in typical haiku fashion, but the poem as a whole relies on the progression of haiku for its overall sense. I have used the traditional 5-7-5 syllable pattern here, though of course it's important to remember that today's haiku writers, more often than not, dispense with the 5-7-5 schema, focusing more on compactness and tight language for their effects.

Let's leave off right there; let's not over-explain. Good luck with your mosquitoes.


DRAGONFLYFIRSTCONTENTSPREVIOUSNEXTLAST
   


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