Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Monday, July 26, 2021

Bitter Sting Tanka

Two Hundred and Thirty-Ninth Entry, Coronavirus Poetry Diary

the bitter sting 
of late night black coffee ...
quarantined
for weeks without thoughts
of touching myself



AddedTwo Hundred and Fortieth Entry

Grand Re-Opening
bikini-clad mannequins
watch a masked man


AddedTwo Hundred and Forty-First Entry

No Mask banners 
high above a phalanx
of protesters ...
a masked teen holds his hand
in an L shape near his face 

FYI: The hand gesture, widely used by teens,  in Ls 4&5 means the Loser.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Summer Tide and Fifth-Graders Tanka

foam ebbs
with the summer tide
two fifth-graders
just short
of touching noses

Haiku Canada Review, 15:1, February 2021

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Auld Lang Syne and Shards of Glass tanka

sunshine 
flooding her Beirut home
an old woman
plays auld lang syne
amidst shards of glass

Haiku Canada Review, 15:1, February 2021

Friday, July 23, 2021

American Dis/Grace

This Brave New World,  XVI
a tanka sequence about the richest man's an "11-minute, supersonic joy ride"

a billionaire
blasting off into space...
a masked old man
turns off the soup kitchen TV 
and takes his place in line

New Shepard
penetrates the o-zone --
neon lights
on a line of rocket dildos
in the window display

600 tickets
already sold for space tourism
next year ...
through my attic skylight
I imagine the pandemic world


FYI: Business Insider, July 20: "I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this," Jeff Bezos said during a post-flight press conference. 

Business Insider, July 26: ProPublica reported that Bezos paid $0 in income taxes for at least two years from 2006 to 2018...

Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted Sunday about Jeff Bezos' recent spaceflight, saying that if he could afford to go to space, he could afford to pay more in taxes.

"The richest guy on Earth can launch himself into space while over half the country lives paycheck to paycheck, nearly 43 million are saddled with student debt, and child care costs force millions out of work," Warren tweeted. "He can afford to pitch in so everyone else gets a chance."

Thursday, July 22, 2021

World of Masked Faces and Room of Books Tanka

a tidal wave
of new covid cases ...
further away
from this world of masked faces
and locked in my room of books


Ribbons, 17:1, Winter 2021

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Hips and Sunshine Tanka

the sway
of a young woman's hips ...
I take a sip
of iced vanilla latte
and enjoy the sunshine

Ribbons, 17:1, Winter 2021

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Midnight Quietness Tanka

Two Hundred and Thirty-Sixth Entry, Coronavirus Poetry Diary

alone for weeks
in a quarantine motel
the sound
of my body rolling
against midnight quietness



Added: Two Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Entry

weeds sprout
through cracks in the pavement ...
breakthrough cases surging


Added: Two Hundred and Thirty-Eighth Entry

first homecoming
all these masked faces 
now strangers 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Billionaire and Old Masked Man Tanka

Two Hundred and Thirty-Fifth Entry, Coronavirus Poetry Diary

a billionaire
blasting off into space...
a masked old man
turns off the soup kitchen TV 
and takes his place in line


FYI: Toronto Star July 19 Podcast: Flights of Fancy: How billionaires are making space tourism blast off And Business Insider, July 20: Jeff Bezos thanks Amazon employees and customers for paying for his jaunt to space: 'You guys paid for all of this'

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Sultry Night and Blonde Hair Haiku

sultry night
a strand of her blonde hair
between my teeth


Frogpond, 44:1, winter 2021

Friday, July 16, 2021

This Daily Ritual Tanka

in silence
some hundreds of Hong Kongers
line up to check in
for one-way journeys...
this ritual unfolds daily


FYI: South China Morning Post, July 20:  Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam shrugs off scenes of residents leaving at airport, says city has ‘prosperous future’ ahead

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Shopping Cart and Empty Bottles Haiku

harvest moon
an old man’s shopping cart
fills with empty bottles


Modern Haiku, 52:1, Winter 2021

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

"The Story of a National Crime" Tanka

This Brave New World, XIV

another
children's mass grave discovered
another 
church burned down in the dark ...
Elders stare into the camera, at us



FYI: CBC News, July 6Catholic Church dedicated nearly $300M for buildings since promising residential school survivors $25M in 2005.... CBC compiled Catholic projects announced since promising 'best efforts' to survivors, paying them under $4M.

CBC News, June 29'Where is their soul?': Inside the failed push to make Catholic Church pay for its residential school abuses... Church officials hired one of Canada's top lawyers, who, in a private court hearing, successfully argued that the country's Catholic churches had tried their best and had no more to give.


Added: This Brave New World, XV

the oldest 
residential school defaced
in gathering dark
one hundred ninety years ago
children's screams into silence


Note: Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce, the chief medical health officer of the Department of Indian Affairs in 1907,  found that tuberculosis was ravaging the malnourished children at 20 times the rate of others, fuelled by dramatically unequal “Indian” health funding and poor health practices....

Canada refused to implement Bryce’s reforms and pushed him out of the public service in 1922 for refusing to stay quiet. That same year, Bryce walked onto the premises of Ottawa bookseller James Hope & Sons with his pamphlet, “The Story of a National Crime.” More headlines followed, but then the story died—and so did the children. Bryce died in 1932 and he was erased from Canada’s history. His family says his greatest lament was that “the work did not get done.” He must have felt like he, too, was screaming into silence.... 

-- Cindy Blackstock, "Screaming into silence," Maclean's, June 30

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Monday, July 12, 2021

What has been will be again

Two Hundred and Thirty-Second Entry, Coronavirus Poetry Diary

after months
of wearing flip-flops
a masked woman 
in red high heels
teeters toward the mall

skateboarders
in backward baseball caps
zigzagging
across the downtown square 
first day of re-opening

a young dude
with a pack of cold beer
heads for the park
hip-hop songs blasting
at a mask-free crowd

a masked guard
in the breezy twilight
a dozen
line up at the clinic
with the Vax-A-Million sign


FYI: What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.Ecclesiastes, 1:9, NIV


AddedTwo Hundred and Thirty-Third Entry

suddenly awake
with my heart beating fast
I hear my cry
in my disheveled wife's cries:
Vax-a-Million winner!


AddedTwo Hundred and Thirty-Fourth Entry

quarantined in an attic room
face to face with my inner child

Friday, July 9, 2021

Epidemics, Seen and Unseen

seagulls squabble
in the food court parking lot
second lockdown

needles scattered
around the dumpster
mud-stained masks 

snowstorm ...
one after another
new variants

highest jump in cases
the Homeless Jesus Statue
lies on the sidewalk


Modern Haiku, 52:2, 2021

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Exit Sign Tanka

for a residential school survivor

alone, she stares 
through a half-open door ...
the EXIT sign
lights the priest's face
and a naked boy, bent over