The book project that I have last written about here: Peculiar Speed of the 5-7-5s is now more or less completed, and a PDF eBook is being made available to interested readers on this site’s bookshelf.
As it turns out, it did not develop as initially planned, but nevertheless, developed well enough to encourage me to continue writing and perhaps produce sufficient materials for more books in the future. The Preface page I wrote for the book is posted below to shed some light on how the peculiar 5-7-5s finally came to be this way:
The first part of this book is a collection of three-line verses in 5-7-5 syllabic constructs, formally known as haiku or, less rigidly, senryu — terminologies that draw weight from their Japanese origins. Some of the senryu are extended into tanka (5-7-5-7-7 constructs) or haibun (5-7-5s embedded in longer free-form verses). I do not have any particular affinity to Japan or anything Japanese, except that in my childhood, because my nickname is Jun, some of my siblings and neighborhood friends were wont to needle me with the rhyming label Jun Jipun (Jun the Japanese) when they could not readily get what they want from me, or when they could not shake me off their backs sooner enough. No fault of cool Japan or the cooler Japanese at all.
My preference for writing in 5-7-5 syllabic patterns stems from the terse nature of the haiku as tightly measured poetry that packs both eloquence and lightness of being to deliver an image, a message, an emotion, a thought to the reader in an efficient manner. It is no less purposeful and meaningful than the longer forms of poetry, and if it wants to tell a story, it is just as effective as the shortest of flash fiction. It also gives a high degree of assurance that I complete a poem rather than leave it unfinished.
The rest of the poems in the second part of the book are mostly longer verses, born out of imaginings that I have always wanted to extend into colorful illustrations. After years of trying (since 2017, when I first started compiling and working on the collection), the initial plan of having an artist son or an artist daughter render the illustrations proved too slow as I kept on asking them to revise or redraw the illustrations, while they try their best to lead their busy lives in far away worlds. I figured as much that if I contracted with other artists, these artists might end up calling me Jun Jipun as well. So, I stopped development of the book until the generative artificial intelligence (AI) drawing tools could evolve enough these past two years to offer new ways of imagining images for the poems. The new tools allowed me to happily iterate on the illustrations for as many times as I want with nary a word of complaint nor hint of vexation from the AIs. I kept my peace and patience during the labor of illustrating, most of the time quietly spending hours to digitally edit the AI-generated images into composites and blends, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, alternately sacrificing or celebrating the universe, until I could feel better with the end result.
Thank you for your interest in this very personal endeavor of mine. If you find some connection or enjoyment reading through its pages, please consider leaving a review at its page https://sandstarsblog.com/product/peculiar-5-7-5s-other-imaginings/, and please consider recommending to your family and friends to get their own copies from the website’s bookshelf. To stay updated on my current and future projects, you can follow me on the sandstarsblog.com site.
Again, thank you.
9 Novermber 2023
As for my sins of not looking after this blog for the last four years, I can only say for now I’m sorry for the very long absence, I can’t promise to not be absent again. Hopefully, my subsequent posts can be more telling about my years of unblogging (or as the empire would say, decoupling), as much as these posts could remain creative and enduring, holding out amidst the din of a world that seems bent on getting edgier and edgier as time goes by.
20 November 2023
the semicolon is unfinished business;(more…)
don’t use it if you are not willing to deal
with unfinished businesses;
an invitation you cannot refuse
to take a leap beyond the known
to explore what lies ahead;
a separation that does not divide
but rather bonds
those which are separated;
know that it can become
larger than life and cannot
be bothered even by death;
a flow greater than itself
rolling waves on a quest
to bring us closer home;
An invitation to a place of more understanding and less fear
A Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta (UUCA) talk about Islam by Rev Dr. M’ellen Kennedy
“…We are being whipped up into fear of Muslims. And when we are afraid…. we’re operating out of just that reptilian part of our brain…. When we are afraid we don’t have access to our higher functionings, our whole self, the power of the knowledge in our hearts, our whole being, resigned to a small place of living. ….People are afraid of what they don’t understand, so my hope today is to share with you a little bit about what I love about Islam, in order to invite you to a place of more understanding and less fear….”
— Rev Dr. M’ellen Kennedy
come brother and feel this pulse
rhyming with the flowing red.
its presence is evidence
that i have a heart like yours.
reach closer now and feel me breathe:
this chest heaves
with the warmth of the sunshine
in the morning chill,
it rages in the sultry air of
the noonday heat,
it freezes with the swelling
of the midnight breeze,
its essence is with the sameness
we inhale and exhale.
the world is shrinking as we shake
from all the swelling and the aches
the hours are shorter, distances near
for all the borders we hold dear,
and as the world shrinks and squeezes us in
its membranes wrapped over our skins
we grasp for the haka of souls and spirits
to break through the sheaths, to let us breathe.
– © said sadain 2019
talking to the sun
the cars stop at red, a momentary block,
as the gaunt but big-boned man
— with sun-baked face and arms,
hair and beard dangling wiry, crinkled
like loose threads of his faded-violet
duffel bag slung on a towering shoulder,
dressed in tattered flowing brown robe
that had long lost its sleeves —
crosses our part of the street on to the middle island
to teeter beneath the traffic light that worries about
the man dancing round its weather-beaten pole.
the man’s fierce eyes tell me
not to open my side windows,
as he, a soul from the middle island, shaded
by the red-eye traffic lamp,
raises his hands high to the sky
looking up directly to the morning sun,
alternately shaking his pointy fingers of doom
to shoot down the cosmic glare,
or opening up his fists into a graven cup,
to beseech the sun and his many moons
to come rest in his palms.
‘nice to see, nice to hold,
once broken, considered sold.’
— anonymously printed on a signboard at a borders store
spells to sell
modern magic spells,
flasks of fortune to dispense
ancient human greed
stir up the cauldron,
lift the urns into the air,
there are no borders
longer than your smile,
wider than your appetite,
these spells are for sale.
– © ssj 2019
- when the lustered sea embraces the sand, is it to claim or cede its flotsam? when my mind sails with the rolling wind, is it to cast or catch a sparkle?
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- collection: at the edge of things (9)
- collection: looking back into ten years (7)
- collection: mt. tumantangis and other poems on sulu (7)
- collection: rustles of bamboo leaves … (1)
- collection: silent verses (5)
- collection: to cast a sparkle (4)
- collection: untitled (1976) (4)
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