welcome to the haikutimes

Issue #53 China: Zhouzuang and Suzhou, April 8-9, 2003. photos and drawings and haiku by jonathan.

4/8/03 Suzhou
so far this morning
three people have smiled at me
starting to keep count

farmers doing well
in fields outside of suzhou
tending canola

yellow canola
vibrant under murky skies
ubiquituous blue
uniformity of trucks
on nanjing highway

trio of sweepers
with red hats and leafy brooms
cleaning the highway

maneuvering bus
past small streets and bicycles
weaving and honking

chinese elders walk
behind blue shirts and stiff gaze
deflecting my smile

construction workers
ride to work on bicycles
with metal lunch pails

tourists flock key bridge
commemorating painting
by chen yi fei

hailing from suzhou
i.m. pei later designed
ncar in boulder

cool round marble seats
perfect for the summer heat
in the house of shang

peaceful canal float
over suspect green water
our boat lady sings

land of fish and rice
fifth century canals
venice of the east

just takes a second
for them to switch to english
and shout out, 'hallo'

tang dynasty dance
and music of silken flute
evoke where we are

culture for tourists
perfecting the disciplines
from earlier times

back alley ming house
along stagnant green canal
woman washes pan

backstreets of suzhou
where community bathroom
opens to canal

above the odor
two women repair a shirt
with sewing machine

Walking through backstreet Ming Dynasty
family housing along greywater canals,
green pungent water,
open latrines for men and women
draining into public water - workmen
digging in the muck to install new
sewer lines - we walk past small
doorways opening to cramped clusters
of generational living - down the street
there are computer ships and industrial
centers and old preserved gardens for past
humble administrators, but here,

women struggle with sewing
machines, men carry pipes.
I force a smile to old folks sitting
above the odorous water and feel
intrusive, American, wealthy.

learning the hard way
i should have asked her first
to take her picture

in crowded market
i feel like an outsider
not here to buy food

At the market, a complex layering of
sights, smells, vegetable and
fish textures, bamboo shoots next to
women chopping escargots, bean curd
in various formations.

On tiger hill in Suzhou
Chinese tourists look at me in my cowboy-type hat,
ask for photos as if i am part of the
attraction, so i rub my fingers
together as if to ask for money.

Everybody laughs, but
a small Chinese girls cries when placed
next to me for photos.

tiger hill tower
askew, askance, akimboo
leaning towards pisa

the king of wu
unable to split the stone
brought in the army

getting accustomed
to people staring at me
so i just stare back

roaring dyecasting
opposite tiger hill
suitable balance

suzhou, new, old, industrial
coffee of original bean
redracing bakery

weaving through traffic
fashon model on moped
cuts off bikers

pedicab driver
sporting mcdonalds logos
waits for customers

just expressionless
instead of outright disdain
the chinese visage

stitching both sides
embroiderers take a break
every two hours

pulling silk through silk
bleary eyed state employees
copy old paintings

once belonging
to humble administrators
now for all to see

wanting to be shown
the factories we can't see
or are not allowed

we find internet
for only two yuan an hour
instead of fourty

all three stories high
farmers' cubical houses
amidst yellow fields

Here I am at work, with Cali. You know what that means ...
Patty and Tim are at the hospital. They called at 6 and
dropped Cali off at 7:30 or so and said they'd call again
when there was anything to report, nothing yet. I'll keep
you posted. I enjoyed the haiku. How bizarre that
you're over there and I'm over here. Patrick

Jon, this is Mom, using Dad's computer. Your little nephew, Marley Davis (named after Bob Marley), arrived this morning (Tues. the 8th) at 10:46! Patty and Tim got to the hospital just after 8 and he came rather quickly. It was intense, Patty said, but blessedly short. Tim managed to survive just fine. The little guy has 10 fingers and 10 toes, blue eyes, more hair than Cali had--and it seems to have a touch of red. He weighs almost 7 pounds: 6 lbs., 15 oz. Patty didn't mention how long he was. She sounded tired but happy; as she spoke, Marley was sound asleep on her lap, in his little cap, after having had a successful first nursing. Patty and Marley will stay overnight at the hospital for observation and then may stay a night at the Bluff St. house, but then they'll return to EP. Cali is with Patrick at work; they dropped her off at P & T's around 7:30 this morning. Dad and I will come up when they're ready for us. Pat and Mike, whom I've just talked to, are on their way to Ft. Collins to look at houses there and may stop by EP for a brief visit on their way back to meet the latest member of the family. More soon! Love, Mom

Hooray! Wow! How exciting to hear this and so quickly, too! I am still in
Suzhou after a day of touring gardens and silk empbriodery places - in the last hour, we did an intense and rewarding walk in a more run-down section of town, with buildings from the Ming dynasty, families are still living in them - canals all smell terrible, very bad sanitation, but a lively
market place with lots of people and food. Anyway, it's great to get this news of Marley. Red hair is good. Please tell patty and tim that I am thinking of them all the way over here in China. Thanks for keeping me in touch, if other places have internet service as good as this I shall be able to check in regularliy.

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen