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A Sense of Place: CITY SIDEWALK – taste

 

 

A Sense of Place

In his essay ‘So:ba’, given at the International Haiku Conference (SUNY Plattsburgh, NY, 2008) and published serially in Frogpond, Jim Kacian discusses the concept of ba:

“If you look up ba in any Japanese-English Dictionary you’ll find it means “place” or “site” or “occasion”. And these are all true in the most general sense—ba is a pointer to a kind of awareness that something of importance is happening in time and space.”

So here we are…

In the following weeks we will get back to haiku basics and explore specific locations with an emphasis on the senses, and with the intention of improving our own haiku practice. Ideally, participants will select an actual location that they can visit, or a location from memory that they have visited in the past. Failing that, we always have our imaginations – and you’re invited to join in the fun! Submit an original unpublished poem (or poems) via our Contact Form by Sunday midnight on the theme of the week, including your name as you would like it to appear, and place of residence. I will select from these for the column, and add commentary.

 

next week’s theme:  CITY SIDEWALK – touch

Our final installment of ‘A Sense of Place’ is our final exploration of city sidewalks – if possible, the same sidewalk as in previous weeks – but now we explore the sense of touch… what does it feel like? The deadline for this theme is midnight Pacific Time, Sunday 23 December 2018.

I look forward to reading your submissions.

 

A Sense of Place:  CITY SIDEWALK – taste

Many thanks to all of you who continue to contribute both submissions and comments here on the blog post during this busy holiday season!

The following poets each approach the topic a different way – from a taste of a city to a taste of the past… even a fly takes a bite!

skyscrapers
a taste of the city
from the walking tour

Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA

 

high heels click
along the city sidewalk –
a taste of my past

Carole MacRury
Point Roberts, WA

 

a bitter childhood
sweetened with dimestore candy
sidewalk bully

Marilyn Ashbaugh
Edwardsburg, Michigan

 

christmas market
i nibble away
my aloneness

Roberta Beary
County Mayo, Ireland

 

roadside café
a fly tastes the food
before me

Vandana Parashar

Here are the rest of my selections for this week:

late night walk
the kiss of a lover
takes me home

Adjei Agyei-Baah
Kumasi, Ghana

 

*eat my words*
an old TASTE song sounds
from a cross-town bar

Adrian Bouter

 

same pavement…
potato chips
with different taste

Agus Maulana Sunjaya
Tangerang, Indonesia

 

lamplit pools…
the nooks and crannies
of sequestered candy

Alan Summers
Wiltshire, England

 

Xmas in New York
the taste of roasted chestnuts
in my nose

Amy Losak

 

outdoor bar –
in the chocolate cake
taste of sun

Angiola Inglese

 

walking…
the taste of solitude
in just a word

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo

 

a taste of rain
on my daughter’s cheek –
sidewalk bench

arvinder kaur
Chandigarh, India

 

a stroll on Fifth Avenue
catching snowflakes
on my tongue

Barbara Tate

 

once the gum
has lost its mint
city grit

C.R. Harper

 

slippery sidewalks –
warming myself
with starbucks tea

Carmen Sterba

 

gardeners blow lawn waste
taste of mountain meadows
on city sidewalks

Charles Harmon
Los Angeles, California, USA

 

midnight
the taste of infinite street
food sampling

Christina Chin
Kuching, Sarawak

 

liquor store window
tongue and pocketbook
argue

Christina Pecoraro

 

a lick for you
and a lick for me
ice cream with puppy

Christina Sng

 

boulevard
munching Madeleines
the taste of Proust

Christine Eales
UK

 

crowded crosswalk
the taste of fruitcake
lingers

Claire Vogel Camargo

 

I walk
people smile
chocolate on my face

David Gale
Gloucester, UK

 

summer sidewalk
the lingering taste
of lemon ice

Debbi Antebi
London, UK

 

busy restaurant
hungry customers
chef carries in cage of rats

Erick Harmon (Age 10)

 

diner sign –
pie don’t you come in

Erin Castaldi

 

New York soft pretzel:
our daily bread, smoked dough wrapped
in silky bus fumes.

Gail Hammill
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

 

my soft serve cone
racing against
the afternoon sun

Greer Woodward
Waimea, HI

 

neon city
a child tastes
cotton candy

Guliz Mutlu

 

beneath food stall
a stray cat chews
the leftover bones

Hifsa Ashraf

 

sidewalk café
rounds of raki
warms the cockles of the heart

(Ohrid has a Turkish quarter where old friends meet to talk politics and drink raki, an anise-flavored drink that packs a serious punch.)

Ingrid Baluchi

 

sweat beads
the taste of a busker’s
desperation

Isabel Caves
Auckland, New Zealand

 

whirlwind
taste of flying sand
on my teeth

Jackie Chou
Pico Rivera, CA, USA

 

in the bridal shop window
I can taste every tier
chocolate fountain

Jackie Maugh Robinson
Las Vegas, NV, USA

 

law clerk dash
papers served
at lunch hour

janice munro
Canada

 

sidewalk food carts
the taste
of dogwood fluff

Jim Krotzman

 

a waft of chili
burns my tongue
beer emergency

Joan Barrett
Whitesboro, NY

 

back alley
a stray dog
feeds her litter

Joanne van Helvoort

 

discarded kebab
the homeless man splits it
with his dog

John McManus

 

bargain bonus –
the hot dog vendor’s onion sauce
lasting all day

Judt Shrode

 

Coming back home –
still the taste of the strawberry ice cream
In my mouth

Julia Guzmán

 

creamsicles fresh
from the ice cream truck
NY childhood

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California

 

coastal seaport
all the delicious smells
taste of rain

Kelly Sauvage Angel

 

Chilly sidewalk
Our goodbye leaves
A bitter taste

Kimberly Spring
Lakewood, Ohio

 

storm preparation
a taste of winter
in the grains of rock salt

Laurie Greer
Washington, DC

 

catching snowflakes
on my tongue
the taste of winter

Lori Zajkowski
New York, NY

 

Venetian side street
tasting the sunlight
in a glass of wine

Lucy Whitehead
Essex, UK

 

street vendor
the childhood delicacy
I still savour

Madhuri Pillai

 

chili cheese dog
I wear
more than I eat

Margaret Walker

 

city life
getting to taste
a new haiku

Margo Williams
Stayton, Oregon

 

sour taste –
on the edge of sidewalk
orange plants

Maria Teresa Sisti

 

Piazza Navona
espresso and bickering
equally bitter

Marietta McGregor

 

slush-filled city streets
taste winter’s palate of snow –
let the sun shine in

Mark
Albany, NY

 

cops grab
confused man
one arm each
so sweet these churros

(A churro is a fried pastry which originated in Spain or Portugal, often sold as street food.)

Mark Gilbert
UK

 

Seattle sidewalk –
the faint tang of salt
and iodine

Mark Meyer
Mercer Island, WA  USA

 

cupped hands –
the cool taste
of a sidewalk fountain

Martha Magenta
England, UK

 

Saks’ and Bergdorf’s
5th Ave windows gleam –
Big Apple’s Holiday taste

MaryEllen Gambutti
Sarasota, FL

 

the half moon
a white fruit in the sky
tastes like pear and apple

Megumi Shibuya
Japan

 

Winter walk –
strong coffee
my friend

michael ceraolo
South Euclid, Ohio

 

big city sidewalk
the taste of being alone
in the crowd

Michael Henry Lee

 

sidewalk vendor –
the taste of figgy pudding
in a plastic cup

Michael H. Lester
Los Angeles CA USA

 

upscale shop window
all about this season’s
sleeker silhouette

(for a different take on ‘taste’)

Michele L. Harvey

 

street urchin
the taste of chocolate
forgone

Mike Gallagher
Kerry, Ireland

 

Christmas Market –
taking each other
chocolate waffles

Monica Federico

 

red kettle donations…
sidewalk Santa sucks
on a candy cane

Nancy Brady
Huron, Ohio

 

shorter sidewalk…
less tasty hotdog…
back to childhood

Natalia Kuznetsova
Russia

 

breakfast
the taste my hometown
in a cup of tea

Neni Rusliana
Indonesia

 

busy day
just enough time to stop
at the hot dog cart

Olivier Schopfer
Geneva, Switzerland

 

side alley
someone’s child
and a loaf of bread

Pat Davis
Pembroke, NH USA

 

morning after
memory of goon
in his mouth

(goon – cheap wine)

Pauline O’Carolan

 

hot tears a whole scoop pools on the pavement

Philip Whitley
SC, USA

 

last bus
grilled pretzels with mustard
and I forget

Pris Campbell

 

savouring a break
from Christmas shopping
sidewalk cafe

Rachel Sutcliffe

 

five year olds
sipping in the  same straw
coconut water

Radhamani  sarma

 

the streets of Istanbul
I hunt in the dictionary
for a synonym of cliché

Radostina Dragostinova

 

ice cream
plops onto the walk
one dip left

Randy Brooks

 

scavenging urchins –
their eyes full of taste
of cold leftovers

Rashmi Vesa

 

baci sul marciapiede:
si scioglie in bocca la cioccolata

kisses on the sidewalk:
the chocolate melts in your mouth

Ravaglia Giuliana

 

tearing off pieces
of sourdough bread
walking near the bay

Rehn Kovacic

 

chimney cake –
the way she sticks out
her tongue

Réka Nyitrai

 

berkeley farmers’ market –
bittersweet nibbles
from a summer stroll

robyn brooks
usa

 

dry Manhattan
three briny olives taste
night’s Old Port

ron scully

 

dodging traffic
that cappuccino
I’d die for

Ronald K. Craig
Batavia, OH  USA

 

street food –
a glass of beer in one hand
a meatball in the other

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore

 

city sidewalk
a little taste
of freedom

Ruth Powell

 

bending down to tie my shoe
I taste the exhaust fumes
from the food truck

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY, USA

 

native street
the taste of ice cream
is the same as in childhood

Serhiy Shpychenko
Kyiv, UA

 

the sidewalk whitens
in a bronze leaf
I wrap my gum

simonj
UK

 

young couple
under the umbrella –
the taste of kiss

Slobodan Pupovac
Zagreb, Croatia

 

city scape
past the sidewalk window
the taste of something more

Stephen A. Peters

 

even the crow
celebrates Christmas
sidewalk cookie crumbs

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles, CA, USA

 

lick sticky fingers
late to work again
breakfast on the run

Trilla Pando

 

sunny day…
white puppy tastes
white snow

Tsanka Shishkova

 

caroling
house-to-house…
sugar cookies

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio

 

sidewalk hawker
a fly keen to taste candyfloss
kid’s sugary lips

Vishnu Kapoor

 

sea gulls
the salty avenue
lined with beer mugs

Wilfredo Bongcaron

 

 

Katherine Munro lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and publishes under the name kjmunro. She is Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada and an Associate Member of the League of Canadian Poets. She recently co-edited an anthology of crime-themed haiku called Body of Evidence: a collection of killer ’ku.

 

This Post Has 46 Comments

  1. Thank you Kathy

    I particularly liked reading and going back again to read these verses-

    native street
    the taste of ice cream
    is the same as in childhood

    Serhiy Shpychenko

    street vendor
    the childhood delicacy
    I still savour

    Madhuri Pillai

    Both of them evoke a strong nostalgia for childhood joys,reposed by their unwavering tastes and timelessness of those little indulgences when revisited many years later.

  2. An amazing amount of tastes here. A great selection, Kathy. Well done to all poets. I enjoyed reading them all.
    .
    lamp-lit pools…
    the nooks and crannies
    of sequestered candy
    Alan Summers
    .
    When I first read this my initial thoughts were of the nice things, when children, the surprises put by for a special event. But with more thought, and I maybe going in the wrong direction here, ‘lamp-lit pools’ gives me a vision of distant memories of a childhood, and ‘sequestered candy’ a sweetness taken away. This is so deep, and for me needs a lot more thought.
    An intense read.
    .
    walking…
    the taste of solitude
    in just one word
    Anna Maria Domburg- Sancristoforo
    .
    There are times when being alone can be sweet, then there’s other times…
    .
    a lick for you
    and a lick for me
    ice cream with puppy
    Christina Sng
    .
    Love this, reminds me of a holiday I took on the Pembroke coast with my dogs. A chocolate ice cream treat while sitting above the harbour wall 🙂
    .
    I walk
    people smile
    chocolate on my face
    Davis gale
    .
    This made me smile. One of those embarrassing moments when we know nothing 🙂 so funny.
    A bit like when a lady has the back of her skirt, accidently, tucked into her underwear.
    .
    beneath food stall
    a stray cat chews
    the leftover bones
    Hifsa Ashraf
    .
    So many images of unwanted pets left to go feral. What I ask myself, here, is ‘stray cat’ the only living thing that chews on the left overs of the more affluent members of society.
    .
    back alley
    a stray dog
    feeds her litter
    Joanne van Helvoort
    .
    Again the same could be seen as the above.
    ‘a pet isn’t just a gift, it’s a commitment’
    .
    discarded kebab
    the homeless man splits it
    with his dog
    John Mc Manus
    .
    This verse brought back a memory I witnessed when waiting for the coach back to Wales from Victoria station, London. A very, vey thin man started to rummage through a bin near a food outlet. He found some discarded chips and a half eaten roll of some-sort, and unravelled the paper and started to eat it. I’ve seen people on the street in the local towns asking for a few shillings, and sharing food with their dogs, but rummaging through bins for food shocked me, its an image I will never forget.
    .
    chilli cheese dog
    I wear more
    than I eat
    Margaret Walker
    .
    Well, I can see this in two ways, either the sauce has dripped down the front of your clothes or a the saying goes ‘another mouthful, another pound’ (on the hips of course)
    A nice bit of humour 🙂
    .
    You’re doing a marvellous job, Kathy. Have a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year.
    The same to all you poets 🙂

    1. Carol said:
      .
      .

      lamp-lit pools…
      the nooks and crannies
      of sequestered candy
      .
      Alan Summers
      .
      When I first read this my initial thoughts were of the nice things, when children, the surprises put by for a special event. But with more thought, and I maybe going in the wrong direction here, ‘lamp-lit pools’ gives me a vision of distant memories of a childhood, and ‘sequestered candy’ a sweetness taken away. This is so deep, and for me needs a lot more thought.
      An intense read.
      .
      .
      Wow! 🙂
      .
      When I wrote this, I didn’t see what you saw, but I think you are right, I was subconsciously doing this.
      .
      I do worry sometimes that some of my haiku are ‘intense’ and not easy-reading. 🙂

  3. City Sidewalk

    I’ve noted that for me, the City Sidewalk series has often focused on the plight of the homeless. I’m not sure why that is such a strong association, but some of my own responses to these prompts have gone in that direction, and some of the ones I’ve found most impactful from others as well.

    John McManus – discarded kebab/ the homeless man splits it / with his dog

    is a perfect example.

    Also, as someone who hasn’t lived much of life in the city, I feel the isolation inherent in those crowds, as Michael Henry Lee so well captures

    big city sidewalk / the taste of being alone / in the crowd

    And I love the glimpses others give me of different moments or perspectives, especially the humorous ones…

    Nancy Brady – red kettle donations… / sidewalk Santa sucks / on a candy cane

    1. Dear m. shane pruett,

      I feel that because homeless people are increasing in great numbers, and getting younger and younger, and our governments allow them to die, and crowd the streets, it’s the main feature of most shop lined streets alas.
      .
      John McManus’s haiku highlights the generosity of many homeless people. Some have helped me, or my wife (who had severe M.E. and couldn’t make it to a taxi one day).
      .
      For the second time this year shamefully British politicians stepped over a dying homeless person by one of the busiest doors at Parliament, in London.
      .
      I’ve lost many homeless friends to the cold, to sepsis (police dog bites or cuts) and some people are kicking, urinating, or cutting up the homeless.
      .
      It’s really all we can see, and our governments bicker over insignificant slights and points of view.
      .
      .
      curling up at dusk
      the park bench sleeper
      turns over a new page
      .
      Alan Summers
      1st Prize, Fellowship of Australian Writers, Queensland, International Haiku Contest (1996)
      .
      .
      sunlit sweat
      the young vagrant
      sucks a thumb
      .
      Alan Summers
      Does Fish-God Know (YTBN Press 2012)
      The Haiku Foundation’s Per Diem: Daily Haiku December 2012 (31 poems): Children
      .

      I feel the milk of human kindness is evaporating in some quarters. Karen and myself helped a young woman who escaped domestic abuse, and in shock, due to prescribed meds, she didn’t have the money for tampons. My wife went with her to a shop, and bought her various things, and money for food, and she went into shelter and is now rehoused. For that lady, thousands have society turn their back on them, and institutions are going back to Dickensian times. It doesn’t have to be that way.

      1. Your words, and the things we see on the TV make me wonder what is happening in our world. During an appeal advert, which there are so many these days not only for humans but animals, too. At the end of one there was a little child, no more than three years old, sitting hunched in a cardboard box in the middle of a busy street, and no one took any notice, not here in the UK, but non the less, what ever is happening to human compassion around the world.

        1. Thanks Carol.
          .
          At one time, in my youth, we mostly saw the occasional tramp, someone who was eccentric, sometimes an ex-professor even. We now have people born as citizens who are either economic or abused refugees in their own country: Causes created by successive venal politicians and super-businesses as well as violent spouses. From a rare appearance on the British street, we now have children and adults regularly homeless and the main visual image we register rather than shops and banter in those shops.
          .
          Decent manners, integrity, compassion are seen as weaknesses and wrong in general. Such a shame. I’ll personally continue to be weak, and forcefully remind myself to be someone with at least some empathy.

          1. A depressing read, but true. what a mess the world is in. If only a brake could be put on to allow everything and everyone to slow down and take a good look at the mess we humans have made…maybe one day women will be in the ‘power’ seats around the world, you never know there just could be a lot more compassion, who knows, such a massive issue.
            Thanks for that thought provoking reply.
            .
            Love that last paragraph.

    2. a wonderful exchange of ideas here – thanks to you all… haiku poets can address the things that are ‘under our noses’, naturally, & the discussion that can be evoked by this is significant…

    1. Jim – if this is a submission to be considered for the column, please re-submit using the Contact Form at the top of this page! thanks, kj

  4. Stephen’s: city scape / past the sidewalk window / the taste of something more, intrigues me. I want to read it over and over. I imagine a low level employee of some kind, hurrying on an errand, catching a glimpse of some luxury displayed in a window, and dreaming. A well-crafted hint of meaning.

  5. Thank you Kathy for including one of my haiku this week. And for all you do each week putting this together. Very informative and enjoyable. It is refreshing to see all the different interpretations.

  6. Thank you for all your commendable work in putting together this very inspiring series every week, Kathy! For someone new to the genre, it has been a great learning experience for me. Thanks for including my poems and for the times you’ve chosen some of mine for commentary, as well.
    I particularly like Michael Henry Lee’s
    big city sidewalk
    the taste of being alone
    in the crowd
    Being alone in a city sidewalk crowd, I savor the taste of freedom, adventure and sometimes, the pleasure of my own company!
    My hats off to all poets in the series!

  7. Thanks, Kathy and poets, for this week’s carefully crafted haiku. Ingrid Baluchi starts her perceptive commentary “Not everyone…concentrated on ‘taste’ as in how things are savoured on the tongue…” Among those, I particularly enjoyed
    .
    Marilyn Ashbaugh’s “a bitter childhood / sweetened…”
    .
    Roberta Beary’s “i nibble away / my aloneness”
    .
    Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo’s “taste of solitude”
    .
    Charles Harmon’s “taste of mountain meadows”
    .
    Christine Eales’ “ the taste of Proust”
    .
    Isabel Caves’ “the taste of a busker’s/ desperation”
    .
    Laurie Greer’s “a taste of winter/ in the grains of rock salt”
    .
    Lucy Whitehead’s “tasting the sunlight / in a glass of wine”
    .
    Margo Williams’ “getting to taste/ a new haiku”
    .
    Marietta McGregor’s “espresso and bickering/equally bitter”
    .
    Magumi Shibuya’s “the half moon / a white fruit in the sky”
    .
    Michael Lee’s “the taste of being alone/ in the crowd”
    .
    Philip Whitley’s “hot tears a whole scoop pools on the pavement”
    .
    Rashmi Vesa’s “scavenging urchins –/ their eyes full of taste”
    .
    Stephen A. Peters’ “the taste of something more”

  8. Ah… another Wednesday, which has become my favorite day of the week. Congratulations to all the poets selected. What a great learning experience this has become. Thank you, Kathy!

  9. Thanks, Kathy, for including my poem. Every one was fun to read, but I would like to highlight two that skillfully used the element of surprise in Line 3:
    sidewalk vendor
    the taste of figgy pudding
    in a plastic cup (Michael H. Lester)

    sidewalk food carts
    the taste
    of dogwood fluff (Jim Krotzman)

    Thanks to all the poets!

  10. Not everyone this week concentrated on ‘taste’ as in how things are savoured on the tongue — the gustatory perception (ghastly-sounding phrase). I enjoyed especially those that took a different angle: taste as in one’s own judgement, a sort of philosophy of perception. I admire Roberta Beary’s ‘aloneless’ (rather than loneliness), even though it covers both senses of taste. Similarly, Michael Henry Lee’s ‘the taste of being alone in a crowd’. Then there’s Ruth’s ‘a little taste of freedom’ , which could speak volumes, and Michele’s fashion observation, ‘sleeker silhouette’. There were several others in this mix.
    .
    kj’s forum has taught me several things as a relative newcomer/late starter to the short poem genre, and one of them, through so many examples from all you experts, is how to look at subjects from a lateral point of view. Dig deep, find something new! The choice seems endless.
    .
    Thank you Kathy for including my contribution, even though when I re-read what I had submitted, it is grammatically incorrect …oops!
    .
    And so on to ‘feeling’! Sixth sense, maybe?!

    1. Ingrid–
      You’ve highlighted several things I also have found from all these sensory excursions. After thinking I’ve considered the topic from every way possible, I’m always surprised and amazed and delighted by all the angles that never occurred to me. A truly rich form–as is this forum.

      As for your fine haiku–
      sidewalk café
      rounds of raki
      warms the cockles of the heart

      No worries about the grammar–a stickler could take it as the raki talking, or the “warms” could refer not to the rounds but to the whole experience itself.
      best,
      Laurie Greer

  11. Dear Kathy,
    The essence of all mix – put in the jar of this blog, we all taste and drink. Thanks to your meticulous efforts, dear Kathy. Happy to see mine .After all said and done, ” being alone in the crowd” is something with a different relish. I agree with Michael Henry Lee.

    big city sidewalk
    the taste of being alone
    in the crowd

    Michael Henry Lee

  12. I’m so glad to see Pris Campbell’s
    .
    last bus
    grilled pretzels with mustard
    and I forget
    .
    I love this! To me this is a rare example of a postmodern haiku which tests some boundaries but also works excellently as a haiku. Perhaps Radostina Dragostinova’s
    .
    the streets of Istanbul
    I hunt in the dictionary
    for a synonym of cliché
    .
    is also a postmodern haiku.

  13. What a tasty collection this week, from the sweet to the salty to the bitter, and everything in between, KJ. Great job. Thanks for including one of mine, too. Now to taste a few more haiku.

  14. I very much enjoy this Weekly Wednesday Haiku Smorgasbord. I find it interesting to read the selected haiku which focus on one specific image and setting as well as those whose images are more abstract. For me, the former is a borrowed painting I can view again and again, as in Carmen Sterba’s:

    slippery sidewalks –
    warming myself
    with starbucks tea

    while the latter is a page torn from a novel, one that is subject to myriad interpretations with each reading, as in Ruth Powell’s:

    city sidewalk
    a little taste
    of freedom

    1. What insightful ways to relish haiku: as “a borrowed painting” to be returned to or “a page torn from a novel,” with multiple interpretations. For me, giving words to experience like that, widens and deepens it. Thanks, Roberta.

      1. thanks for this, Roberta, & Christina – I too am amazed by the variety & quality of responses to these themes over the weeks…

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