Lemons on the Counter

Lemons

The lemons have fallen from the bowl
in two neat schoolchildren rows
Is this coincidence or the inscrutable hand of fate?
A mischievous god or a child with a taste
for fun and games and mind games galore
But perhaps, I’m fashioning over-complicated lore
for a few simple fruit I bought from the store

I think the tourists believe I’m one of them, at Katz’s

The table next to mine
thinks me funny for squeezing
mustard on my plate.

That’s because I don’t like it.

But if I’m to have a proper pastrami sandwich
I might as well try a little bit on the side
with my shavings.

Nah, I still hate it.

I do know how to eat a sandwich.
And I do know I’m getting robbed
at New York prices.

Favorite Basho Poems

I received some upsetting personal news and am not feeling creative today, so I thought you might enjoy some of my favorite haiku by Basho instead. The following were translated into English from Japanese by Sam Hamill:

You weren’t home when I came
even the plum blossoms were
in another yard

Between our two lives
there is also the life of
the cherry blossoms

Just one possession
in this lightly-lived life —
a gourd of rice