Saturday, October 24, 2015

Yoko's Dogs: Four Collaborations

The Sphinx Moth’s Riddle

she’s never met the wife
yet knows the husband’s garden

today he thinks
his male nurse is a novelist
he rejected

Nabokov was also famous
as a lepidopterist

in the greenhouse
with a torch—
night-blooming cereus

the answer to the sphinx moth’s riddle is
not man


Li Po

in a boat, very tipsy
Li Po tries to kiss
the moon and drowns

not dead after all
a branch of the plum tree blossoms



dusk —
ferns and cedar in the rockface
shading the railbed

a bit of chaff on the print
still damp from the woodblock

she serves rice
from the steam table
arm wrapped in a towel

the bowl's empty
Basho sleeps in a windowless room


Sturgeon Moon

the laundry out to dry
then in —
summer rain

the whole valley heard about
the ruckus in the henhouse

bear scat loaded with saskatoons
by Wolverine Creek
I’m not afraid

my cabin among laurel
deep in the forest

sturgeon moon —
my father wakes
in his recliner

alder leaves drying in shade
on the hot beach

my lunch an overripe peach
I take two plums
from a basket

they were so sweet
and so cold

"Ukio-e" and "Sturgeon Moon" are from Yoko's Dogs' 
first book, Whisk (Pedlar Press, 2013)

"The idea for Yoko's Dogs came about in 2006 around a small tin table in Montreal when the four of us, living in different places and time zones, got together and decided to explore collaboration as a way of expanding our individual practice. Over the first few months we wrote and revised, and wrote some more; read and studied and discussed the traditions of Japanese-style linked verse, all via email. We chose a system of composition and eventually decided that for readers the mechanics of this system should disappear, the way forms for moulded concrete are knocked away once the work is finished."  
... more about Yoko's Dogs 

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