Selected Haiku for Jenny

poetry 0
Maxine Hong Kingston


There are days of no poems.
Not even 17 sounds will come.

Why is Joan Didion
walking congo baby tiger
in my dream?

Frog in the pond. Scoop her out,
and drive her to the stream.
Lay your eggs there.

Lost things I wish back—
the little red crab
and Mother’s opal earring.

Haiku master: “No need
for 17 syllables. Don’t pad.
Be free.”

I don’t need to say something
about everything,
nor do anything.

Going over my envies,
it’s fame I want.
How public, like a frog.

If we had no language,
I would not know your dreams,
you would not know mine.

Iris forgot how to write.
She placed rocks atop paper
on the sand.

My Alzheimered friend:
“…something something something…”
Me: “Yes, it’s always something.”

As long as I am
with trees and play with dirt,
I’m well, the world is well.

Dream: I read Grace Paley
“On our neighborhood.”
The neighbors interrupt.

Sho¯setsu—the novel.
Writing, we do good.

Phyllis 91 today.
Willis 90 last Monday.
Poems flowing.

What’ll I read to Susie, dying?
Robert W. Service, and Yeats.

Maxine Hong Kingston is author of the long poem, “I Love a Broad Mar- gin to My Life.” She was conferred the National Humanities Medal by President Clinton, and the National Medal of Arts by President Obama.