Posts Tagged ‘ otata ’

otata 47 – November, 2019

Giuliana Ravaglia

ultimo viaggio:
le nude trasparenze della luce

last trip:
the bare transparencies of light

luci d’ottobre:
agita lanterne l’ombra del silenzio

october lights:
the silence of a shadow shakes the lanterns


bosco giallo:
la luce fuggitiva dell’estate

yellow forest:
the fugitive light of summer


Lucy Whitehead

a silver moth
among the strawberry roots
autumn chill


Joseph Salvatore Aversano

my training wheels at times
wouldn’t even touch the ground

as they weren’t fastened right
or rather, they were fastened so

my training wheels at times
wouldn’t even touch the ground

& I wouldn’t even notice, but go


day moon
light as


Lucia Cardillo

piccola nonna…
dietro i vetri aspetta
chi non ricorda

little grandma waits
at the window for someone
she doesn’t remember


Francesco Palladino

calde parole…
nell’odore il sapore
del primo caffè

warm words …
in the aroma that
first taste of coffee


in bocca un osso…
il sentiero del cane
dentro l’ortica

bone in mouth …
the dog’s path
through nettle

magnolia bianca…
il tocco vellutato
di un gelato

white magnolia …
the velvety touch
of a gelato


Jeffrey Ferrara

clams in a pool
the arrangement
of planets


Angela Giordano

le prime luci,all’orizzonte,anatre in volo

first lights, the horizon, ducks in flight


sui rifiuti,una bambola, osserva il cielo da un occhio

a doll in the trash, look, the sky in one eye


Patrick Sweeney

washing mud off potatoes
since World War II…
the bones of his wrist


Lorraine Padden

a bouquet of roses
her hands
inside the coffin


Lisa Espenmiller


and everything gets done
ocean comes ashore
fog rolls out to sea


Source: November, 2019 – Otata

otata 46 October 2019

Caroline Skanne

stone steps
down hops a fly
with only one wing

going home
an old oak
with its crows



John Hawkhead

wishing for dolphins
we purchase
plastic inflatables


sky change
the cold edge of grey
in his last coin



Margherita Petriccione

organ notes –
picking up from the ground
a fallen flower


Jack Galmitz

a boy
plays ball
steps ahead of nightfall


Elaine Wilburt

last drops
of homemade wine –
recycling Pap’s bottle

Source: October, 2019 – Otata

otata 44 (August, 2019)

Joseph Salvatore Aversano


all wordbursts aerosoled

in the way the
linens billow

out from
the lines

 Giuliana Ravaglia

fammi sognare una bionda farfalla:
sarò l’estate

let me dream of a blonde butterfly:
I will be summer


Stefano d’Andrea

luna improvvisa
scintillante moneta
nel cupo viola

sudden moon
a shimmering coin
in the deep purple

Roberta Beach Jacobson

winter squeak
of swing set
gone in spring

otata 40 April 2019

Eufemia Griffo

ritornano le oche
le loro ali
ancora piene di neve

their wings
still full of snow
the geese return


fine dell’inverno
uno scoiattolo segue ancora
il profumo della neve

end of winter
a squirrel still follows
the scent of snow


vento di primavera
il riparo di una foglia
da qualche parte

spring wind
the shelter of a leaf


Robert van  Vliet


go on keep at it
till everything fits into two rooms or


stand out in the hall and look in and refuse to go in
either room


Tim Murphy

cocktail party . . .
the truth
will set you free


Tom Becket


The word Was deferred

But I
Read delivered


Let’s dissolve One another

Let’s come Apart together


An atmosphere Of gender

As practice Or event


A moment Of discovery

Disguised as An ellipse


Word has It that

Throughlines wind And comingle


The word Was confused

But I
Was aroused


Our weathers Of love

And climate Of erosion


Lucia Cardillo

iris candidi . . .
perdonando a me stessa
tutti gli errori

white iris . . .
I forgive myself
for every mistake


margheritina . . .
piccolo cuore giallo s
ul marciapiede

daisy . . .
tiny yellow heart
from the sidewalk

Nikolay Grankin

покупаю мандарины
падают в кошелёк


buying tangerines —
snowflakes fall into
my wallet

свежий снег
старушка подчёркивает
даты на календаре

fresh snow
an old lady underlines
dates in the calendar


Antonio Mangiameli


In the basement of my apartment building lives the lady who worked for many years in the porter’s lodge. I am very fond of her, she has known me since I was a child. In the evening, when I come back home, I often go to say hello to her. I know her habits, I know that at the time of my coming back home, she is cooking for dinner, which is always the same, very frugal.

a hot broth
a spoonful of rice
an old woman

otata 40 April 2019

otata 33 (september 2018)

John Hawkhead

passing through
missed him


the play of light
across the walls
I put up

Alegria Imperial



i see you in my veins river tide on heavy lids from night’s
bowels a faint slurping

the pearl in his skull a porous sheen in a night bridge the last
star safe on the dark side

somewhat bruised the crescent’s womb a shallow breathing
in the heat a pulse in the maple’s breast

a labyrinth thickening in my hand an eel stuck in blue air
the tail vanishing eternally

on whale clouds hanging on to me for breath a swollen sun
sliding airless on sharpened knives

a monkey dangles from the orange crane musing on the position
of the rose vs allegation of lasciviousness


Peter Yovu


from Six Words


Most words that begin with the letters st convey a sense of the stationary, of being
stuck or still. One might say that story is an exception, as stories change, though
people seem to prefer to stick to them as they are.

Interestingly, many words that begin with str seem to break out into some kind of movement: stream, stray, strike.

Words beginning with sn often convey of sense of sneering. In his book on poetry
John Frederick Nims includes a photograph of a woman, her nose lifted in disgust.
Think snicker, snake, snide.

Why does the word snow behave differently? Is it just that snow— what falls and
fills the branches of tall pines— may be considered beautiful where a snake (for
many, reflexively) is not? I cannot quickly come up with another word that com-
bines the sn sound with a long o. The vowel seems to carry the word beyond its

All yesterday it rained. This morning when I woke and looked out my window,
yes: swirling snow. Strange that in January, in Vermont, that was a surprise.

I may not have said it out loud, but I did think: oh.

snow     so now is known


Lucia Cardillo

bocciolo ingiallito …
un amore impossibile
mai sbocciato

yellowed tight bud …
an impossible love
never blooming


Eufemio Griffo

stelle infinite
un pescatore disegna i confini
tra il mare e il cielo


endless stars
a fisherman draws the borders
between the sea and sky


pioggia al crepuscolo
i colori mutevoli
dei cachi maturi

twilight rain
the shifting colours
of the ripe persimmons


otata 33 (september 2018)

selected from otata 30 (June 2018)

Angela Giordano

erba selvaggia —
la luna tra le canne
così vicina

wild grass —
the moon in the reeds
so close

Robert Christian

He has no dog but two birds follow him

Lucia Cardillo

bianche farfalle . . . 
in quell’andirivieni
verdi intervalli

white butterflies . . .
in the going and coming
green intervals

Corrado Aiello

un vecchio trucco:
fingersi addormentati
per non tradirsi

an old trick —
pretending to be asleep
not to betray oneself

Margherita Petriccione

nuvole nere —
la fragile fioritura
degli ulivi

black clouds —
the fragile bloom
of olive trees

Otata 29 – May, 2018

Sabine Miller

Native Object

To hug a tree—how silly
can one get, he said, but to dance

with it—like the wind, said he subtracting

craving from contact & The rose

in the garden among evergreens after a soaking rain blooms

no wider than this


Donna Fleischer

winter morning,
may i become
your blank page


snowfield –
sound of deer’s hooves
striking the moonlit road


in the woods
snow shoals sun squalls,
a green triangle


Source: May, 2018 – Otata

otata 28, April 2018

Kala Ramesh

the blossom’s shadow a shadow of its morning glory


Antonio Mangiameli

panni al sole —
un gattino in strada
gra a le ombre

clothes hung-out —
a kitten in the street
scratches the shadows


Source: April 2018 – Otata

selection from otata 27 March 2018, edited by john martone

Ketti Martino

Procedo per implicite rinunce
perché la gratuità dell’esistenza
è nel rigore estremo, incanto
che contiene solo il necessario.

I sogni, col ato corto di una pianta
acerba, vogliono maturare piano,
senza pesi, per traboccare di bellezza.

I proceed by implicit renunciations
because the gratuity of existence
lies in extreme rigor, charm
that holds only the necessary.

Dreams, with the short breath of
an unripe plant, want to mature gently,
without weight, to overthrow with beauty.


Procedo per implicite rinuncia e Dimmi furono originariamente pubblicate in Atelier. Procedo per implicite rinuncia and Dimmi were originally published in Atelier. Translations jm


Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo


chicchi di riso —
nella ciotola tonda
splende la luna

rice grains —
in the round bowl


Maria Teresa Sisti

red tulip —
a stem without thorns
who fears the wind

Lucia Cardillo

cambia il tempo . . .
una pigna rotola giù
nell’erba alta

weather changes . . .
one pinecone rolls down
in the tall grass

Bob Arnold

Selections from Heaven Lake
Longhouse Publishers


I’ll Never Be Poor


How she does it
I don’t know

don’t want
to know

will never
know as

she turns to me and
it’s new all over again


Know What You Do


What does it all mean?
it means times have changed
and we’re supposed to change with it


take the quiet, the river, the old
road, animal lore, secret pathways
respect for stick, leaf and silence

and throw it all away

do as we please
barge where we barge
litter as we like

you don’t know what sort of
agreement and law and universe
you are asking to destroy when

you do this



otata 27, March 2018


Scott Watson with Santōka and other poets, from otata 24 (December, 2017)

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore

chi d’India —
i frutti saporiti
maturi in autunno

prickly pears —
the tasty fruits
ripe in autumn

Zlatka Timenova

краят на лятото
мирис на бавно кафе
без обещание

the end of summer
scent of slow coffee
without promise

Stefano d’Andrea

la prima uva…
un geco mi osserva scegliere gli acini

the first grape…
a gecko peeks at me picking grapes


Olivier Schopfer

no  small  talk  between  you  crows


Scott Watson

If a person survives a traumatic event, he or she cannot completely understand his or her experience. Is it even possible to communicate what is not understood? The act of trying to understand the meaning of an event changes the survivor.

For an eleven year old child, seeing a mother’s dead drowned body brought up out from a well she’d let herself fall down was a traumatic experience that Santōka spent many years trying to find the meaning of. It might be said that it was an event which transformed his entire life, setting him off on a quest, the goal of which was acceptance.

It has been suggested that Santōka was so disturbed by his mother’s suicide that, beginning as a young adult, he sought relief with saké, or that he eventually took to walking in order to accommodate an undesirable past. Taking it outdoors provided ample room to air maybe.

We might wonder why it took so many years for that event to become the issue it eventually did. After all, subsequent to his mother’s suicide, Santōka seems to have led a life relatively undisturbed by traumatic memories. He continued schooling and got good grades (continually in the top 25% of his class). He did not become a juvenile delinquent. He was not violent towards others. Nor did he torture animals and insects. He did not set things on fire. He did not inflict himself with wounds. He did not run away from home. He exhibited none of the behaviors typically associated with a “problem child.”

But in the five years of schooling (at a time when four years were compulsory) prior to entering a junior high school course there were 1500 school days. Santōka attended 977. That is only a 65 percent attendance record. There is no known explanation for all the absenteeism. Nor is it known whether his times absent from school increased after his mother’s death.

Truancy is a word that might characterize certain aspects of his later life as husband and father. Not there a lot of the time. And then it becomes a permanent state in which he is often never anywhere settled.

It is possible that Santōka was not even conscious of the fact that being absent was his way of dealing with trauma. In certain works by Freud and Ferenczi, life itself is seen as trauma. We’re all terrorized and because we are we’re absent (not in the here and now).


Santōka described himself, and his life, as a mess. Traumatic experiences tend to leave personal histories that are messy and unresolved. The only means available to Santōka was poetry. Making poems, he tells us, is one of the few things he is good at. Another was drinking saké.

It is not my intention to pick out particular poems and tell readers they represent his striving to understand his mother’s suicide or deal with the abandonment the boy Shōichi (Santōka) may have felt. But is the fact that he turned to poetry and that poetry became a mainstay of his life connected in any way to that sad loss of his mother? Poetry became a surrogate mother. That is the red thread umbilical connection that had been broken (drowned); poetry was its reconstruction. It is her renewed body as his body of poetry.

Why couldn’t he disappear in a crowd? Why did he have to pursue a life of singularity? Because she left him. Mother in Japan — and elsewhere too maybe — is the prime buffer between child and world. She helps the child blend in. She is love’s body/bodhi. All is lost when she’s gone when he’s eleven.

He becomes increasingly unconnected with the world and the adult roles it asks him to play: husband, father, provider. For a person of his sensitive nature, is poetry where he feels most secure?

He was able to “get over” his father, but his mother held him back. He was moved towards the Buddhist priesthood early on, but his inability to transcend his mother prevented an encounter of the highest perfect wisdom kind. He couldn’t become an “enlightened Zen master” as did Ikkyū, Hakuin, and Ryōkan. Unable to extract himself from her death, he continually fell back into the world’s disturbances. Ups and downs, he tumbled as in an automatic clothes washer, seeking a way out through a poem. His poems are all about her.


 an aside ~

I find this short, untitled essay on Santōka to be illumined and enlivened by true insight, and to be so well written that I believe it ought to assume the place of locus as a classic, central body of work, along with all of Scott Watson’s “versionings” (his word for translations) of Santōka’s poems, in the thought palace of Santōka scholarship.  – DF

some poems by Santōka via “versionings” by Scott Watson ~


Gusto mounting walk off to clouds



Crow song I too am alone



Higanbana blooming this is where I sleep


A good inn
out front a
wine shop.



Thickly clad in tattered robes
face of good fortune


~ these versionings of Santōka by Scott Watson are to be found in

20 Santōka

©2016 Scott Watson
Translated at the All Flowing Cottage,
Sendai, Japan

Printed with orihon* binding by
Country Valley Press, Carson City


Orihon (Japanese: 折本, Hepburn: Orihon, Japanese pronunciation: [oɾihoɴ]) is a book style originating from the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-908) in China and was later developed in the Heian period (A.D. 794-1185) in Japan.[1]. – WIKI 

The orihon was developed as an alternative to the scroll.


otata 24