From Left to Right I Ponder Politics and Kanji: by Robert Okaji

In the evening I pour wine to celebrate
another day’s survival. My motions:
up to down, left to right. Glass

from cabinet, wine to mouth.
And then I return to the page.
The character for stone, ishi,

portrays a slope with a stone
at its base, and I take comfort
in knowing that as my knee aches

at the thought of climbing, ishi exists
in descent only. A volcano belches,
producing hi, fire, rising above the

cone, while earth, tsuchi, lies firm
beneath the shoots pushing up,
outward, and ame, rain,

consists of clouds and dotted
lines and the sky above. But if
wind is made of insects and

plums, do I assemble new meaning
without fact or wisdom, form
or assumed inflection, left to

down, up to right? Consider water,
its currents, its logic and needs.
Consider truth. This is how I think.

Listen to a reading of the poem by the poet:

You can find more poetry by Robert Okaji on this site or on his blog HERE . A collection of Robert’s poetry is available in his chapbook “If Your Matter Could Reform” which was published as part of the the National Poetry Month series by Dink Press 

A Brief History of Babel: by Robert Okaji

Borders, windows.
Sound.

Trudging up the steps, I am winded after six flights,
my words smothered in the breathing.

The Gate of God proffers no favors.
When the spirit gives me utterance, what shall I say?

Curiously, no direct link exists between Babel and babble.

A collective aphasia could explain the disruption. One’s
inability to mouth the proper word, another’s
fluency impeded by context.

A stairway terminating in clouds.

Syllable by twisted syllable, dispersed.

Separated in symbols.
And then,
writing.

To see the sunrise from behind a tree, you must face
east: higashi, or, a discrete way of seeing
the structure of language unfold.
Two characters, layered. One
thought. Direction.
Connotation. The sun’s
ascent viewed through branches
as through the frame
of a glassless
window.

Complexity in simplicity.
Or the opposite.

I have no desire to touch heaven, but my tongues reach where they will.

Who can know what we say to God, but God?

And the breeze winding through, carrying fragments.

 

Listen to a reading of the poem by the poet:

You can find more poetry by Robert Okaji on this site or on his blog HERE . A collection of Robert’s poetry is available in his chapbook “If Your Matter Could Reform” which was published as part of the the National Poetry Month series by Dink Press 

IPM 2015: Where do we go from here?

Before the Simplon pass at the Italian-Swiss border, is a Roman bridge over the Diveria River. It's called the "new" bridge, because it was built in 1300 c.e. to replace the previous bridge built in the reign of Emperor Augustus that was destroyed by a flood.
Before the Simplon pass at the Italian-Swiss border, is a Roman bridge over the Diveria River. It’s called the “new” bridge, because it was built in 1300 c.e. to replace the previous bridge built in the reign of Emperor Augustus that was destroyed by a flood.

 

“Poetry gives us the opportunity to offer our observations to present and future readers, be they from the perspective of one standing on the bridge watching events or of one standing below and taking on the current. I’m looking forward to a month of editing and I know that my IPM readers are standing on the bridge waiting for the flow of poems to begin…”

So began International Poetry Month 2015 and the flow of poems was fascinating for me to edit and I hope that both Readers and Poets enjoyed getting their feet wet. I offer my most sincere thanks to the participating poets and to the more than 1000 readers who came from the United States, England, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Pakistan, Canada, Denmark, France, India, Luxembourg, Singapore, the UAE, New Zealand, Trinidad & Tobago, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Switzerland, Israel, Ghana, the Philippines, Belgium, Peru, Romania, Serbia and Portugal to read their work.

Today is the fourth of March and Spring seems only a few days away here in Northern Italy while I know those in other places are still slogging through the snow. Regardless of the temperature, here the snows have begun to melt and these poems will begin to erode away, disappearing a few at a time and leaving only the voices behind. Some you will still be able to find on the web, or in a book. Some will be gone for good. Where do we go from here? Why across the bridge and in search of new images, new experiences and new poetry. Following is an alphabetical list of the participating poets; each name is also a link to the poet’s work posted at IPM where you will find additional links to individual blogs or published works:

Window Open, Closed: by Robert Okaji

 

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The written version of this poem has disappeared. To listen to the poet’s reading of the poem, click on the player below:

You can find more poetry by Robert Okaji on his blog HERE on in his new chapbook “If Your Matter Could Reform” which will be published in April of this year as the first book in the National Poetry Month series by Dink Press 

Giving Time: by Robert Okaji

The supplicant’s desire:

mornings sliced into perfect pieces, afternoons
dipped in honey, evenings freed.

A gift of absence.

To gather and bear, shaping
the resultant minutes,

she takes yeast from the air, adds
flour, water and salt.

Matched with the ripening

hour and the sweetened bitter taste,
I recall how blood
seeped through the towel, and

observe on the table the
cheese, plums, the harvested day.

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To listen to a reading of the poem, click on the player below:

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You can find more poetry by Robert Okaji on his blog HERE on in his new chapbook “If Your Matter Could Reform” which will be published in April of this year as the first book in the National Poetry Month series by Dink Press