welcome to the haikutimes

Issue #54: China, Tongli and Hangzhou, April 10-11, 2003. Haiku and photographs by jonathan.

4/10/03 Tongli
park for the people
made when ancient buildings fall
despite their protests

carp in abundance
on the toll road to tongli
duck ponds overflow

they put to good use
a forest of scaffolding
to build a highway

only for those who
could afford to meditate
this precious garden

heavy stone doorway
protection for the family
in anhui townhouse

from the autumn view
one can see the winter view
or the summer view

without reverence
for garden serenity
japanese tourists shout

am i as lovely
as the rest of this garden?
man takes my photo

cormorant holds fish
until forced from bulging neck
by fisherwoman

crossing three bridges
in the center of tongli
ensuring fortune

red-lacquered chamber
sun streams through wooden lattice
crabs dance on paper

ancestors' abode
where women received women
and men received men

little open space
between neighborhoods and towns
one massive suburb

just what i needed
inquisitive chinese eyes
while i am sketching

and the other americans
fill chinese ballroom

no lights, no helmet
no turn signal, no warning
cant find internet

4/10/03 hangzhou
now a certain repetition settling in
with our small group of seven people
facing off around a circular table
three times a day - my living companions
for the next two weeks as we together
scrutinize the myriad dishes that come
before us in quick succession.
the others are all world travelers;
i am amazed at how
many different parts of the globe we have
investigated, lived in, photographed.

i think of patty back home with
a new baby and the 1.3 billion
chinese people here

the thing i have not grasped
up to this point is how big this population is.
the chinese direction is,
in some way, the world's direction.

i am seeing the most densely
populated and busy areas of china, to be sure.
i can somehow put malaysia and singapore in perspective
after seeing the mainland.

tour leader lectures
while chinese police ladies
inspect nearby shop

desperate street vendors
rushing to meet me with items
of complete garbage

bonsai in mirror
reflecting grey haze of lake
and tourist logjam

wall of four seasons
concealing wisteria
behind in purple

young teenage chinese
sharing chatter and headphones
shouting at the carp

fattening red carp
tourists throw chunks of white bread,
watch feeding frenzy

hard to distinguish
whistles of exotic birds
from those of vendors

plantive peacock cry
like a wounded animal
in cry of distress

which more beautiful?
song dynasty lake gardens
or chinese women

like peacock shaking
bus engine shudders and spits
attracts nearby bus

pen under pressure
finding inner composure
while people look on

while i sketch buddha
red-headed chinese beauty
peers at my drawing

fine young spring tea leaf
destined for super grade a
or, next year, grade b

renaissance paintings
as seen through cloudy smoke haze
of chinese restaurant

four a.m. thunder
awakes me in confusion
in high rise hotel

now, thunder outside.
all day long, misty smoggy.
the boat ride, like glass on clouds.
the tour guide, a metronome of ancient chinese facts.
the dishes of food that pass
before us in a steady succession :
purple eggplant wedges in spicy oil
bamboo shoots with pork pieces
watery spinach, watery soup
lachong (spicy hot sauce pepi orders)
deep fried meats with vegetables
pretty chinese waitresses who stand silently
behind our table,
weak beer.

the real history is now,
what china is moving into and towards,
at this hectic pace of modernization.

i sketch fantastic buddhas
carved in rock walls only by forsaking the
tour with the group - so i don't see part
of the temple with the largest buddha in china -
but i do get to feel the close
pressing attention of hundreds of inquisitive
chinese tourists who want to look over
my shoulder at my drawing,

so i sketch aqualine
noses and delicately curved eyebrows
and stare past the heads of those
who stand right in front of me to take
pictures of all their friends.

4/11/03 hangzhou
busy web cafe
hard to find a free machine
for me to do mail

local internet
mostly young chinese students
playing danger games

and smoking

hacking and spitting
city dwellers find refuge
on peaceful mountain

legions of hikers
out for theraputic walk
making throat noises

man presses green tea
in giant electric wok
hands turning brown

making bamboo fence
and practicing opera
at bottom of trail

drivers maneuver
according to the tempo
unique to china

bravado sounds of opera
in hangzhou forest

her limp handshake
surprising me as i crush
each of her fingers

barbara's haiku:

mysterious mist
water rippling, boat gliding
pagodas hidden

willow trees weeping
blooming peaches pink, rose,white
white peacocks display

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen