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Friday, January 13, 2012

TGIF, "Fortune" Cookies, and "Baseball" Haiku

Thanks God It's Friday! Yes, it's Friday, January 13th! So what? Any thing significant on this day? It just happened that 13th falls on a Friday! What, 13 is an unlucky number and Firiday an unlucky day? Get lost, man! What a superstition! I don't believe so! What, is there such thing as unlucky number, day, month, year? Unlucky this, unlucky that, blah,blah,blah...I don't know about that but I'm not superstitious. Period. If you want more about this so-called unlucky/unfortunate, "phobic" issue, check it out yourself (because I did) by visiting the accessible, "affordable" and informative Wikipedia. (Wish you Good luck!)

But, Thanks God, It's Friday (TGIF)! Yey, it's the last day of the week  for weekday or 5 days a week- workers/employees! I know how it feels! Perhaps, some of you can't wait for 3 PM or 5PM or 11 PM to be over with while at work. I know, you have already made plans in advance and are looking forward to the weekend. It's party time for those who are done working before midnight. Well, go for it because you guys deserve to enjoy the rest of the day and the weekend, too! Have fun, guys! But be safe. Drink in moderation, as they say. Don't drink and drive! Call someone if you need a ride. There will always be someone available to give you a ride. If you go out with a group, better yet designate someone to drive you home. How's that, folks? Sound cool, huh.

Aha, I've been "fortunate" to have eaten at Chinese restaurants, in various venues. Actually, one year and one day today, as I was leafing through the pages of my binder-journal 2011, I came across this journal entry: 12 Jan2011 (Wed) @1119, in the kitchen, after breakfat, while listening to the radio program On Point with Tom Ashbrook on 90.9 WBUR Boston's NPR News Station via NPR-affiliate local public radio station WHRV (Norfolk, VA). His topic---on Haiku..."I remembered Sunday, 09Jan, 2011 while at Empire Buffet with my wife, my sis-in-law, my son and his friend, having "early" luncheon, after participating in the 0930 Mass @ St. Paul's. We had that regular crunchy "fortune" cookies served after our meal. When I crack-opened mine, I found this strip or small piece of paper inside it which, I didn't expect to read this note: "You will be hungry again after an hour." I was laughing about it when I read it aloud to my fellow diners on our table. I thought that it was funny! And an unexpected premonition or something that will happen or that may not be true...How can it be if I've just eaten a full meal, "smorgasbord" @ Empire?" 

So, Haiku (that Japanese form of poetry consisting of three lines with 5-syllables (1st line), 7-syllables (2nd), 5-syllables (3rd), with nature as an important element in its entirety) became the topic of Mr. Ashbrook's On Point that day, that time, last year. His discussion of haiku (with  a guest in his radio program), undoubtedly or unfortunately, got me inspired at that time to scribble this a la "haiku" composition. Check it out:

"Haiku" Time

ready they were not
at Empire we waited for
food, cooks, the owners.

since the day was cold
I ordered coffee with cream
drank it with gusto. 
eating at Empire
after Mass at St. Paul's Church
full and funny me.

the fortune cookie made me
funny and silly.

oh what that lunch was
making me full and funny
that I burst in tears.

the fortune cookie
brought the house down to its knee
that I laughed with glee.

"You will be hungry
again after an hour"
my fortune cookie tells me.

that's funny for me
after an hour can it be 
that I'll be hungry?

There you go, my friends, is my simple-styled "haiku" composition. Although it may not seem to be haiku, in its strictest rule and fashion, my composition is just an attempt, for me to capture and describe my emotions or feelings in that particular situation.

Fortunately, in our small family library, I have a copy of this book Baseball Haiku: American and Japanese haiku and Senryu on Baseball (2007) which comprised "the best haiku ever written about the game." The book was edited by Cor van den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura. In their short bio, in the book, we come to know that the former is a Maine-native haiku poet and editor of The Haiku Anthology, still the most highly respected collection of American and Canadian haiku and senryu. He grew up in New England and is a lifelong fan of the Boston Red Sox. On the other hand, Tamura is a Kyoto-born haiku writer who has been a columnist for the haiku magazine Shiki Shimppo ( The Shiki Newsletter). She was a student-protege of Tsuda Kiyoko, a disciple of Yamaguchi Seishi  and Hashimoto Takako.

You see, who would have thought that there's such haiku about baseball?I didn't know about it 'til I got this book. "Baseball Haiku reveals the intricate ways in which this enduring sport---which is played on a field, under an open sky---has always been linked to nature and the seasons. And just as a haiku happens in a timeless now, so too does Baseball Haiku evoke those unforgettable images that capture the actions of the national pastime each poem resonates like the lonely sound of cleats echoing in the tunnel as a grizzled veteran leaves his final game."

Let's take a look at one of the top American haiku and senryu poets of the past 30 years, Allan Pizzarelli (1950-), himself a baseball player. Born and raised in New Jersey, of Italian and American family, he has authored 12 books of haiku and related poems. In the Baseball Haiku, he wrote:

bases loaded---
at the crack of the bat
the crowd pops up.

leaning for the sign
the pitcher rotates the ball
behind his back.

 Well, folks, I've got to go. I do hope you learned something from my post today. Have a nice weekend everyone! Until next time around.-chris a. quilpa, 13Jan2012

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