A collaborative Chagallian Loku
by Michael Simonelli & David ben Alexander
Jerusalem taupe, winter khamsin northward streams dark sands through our glass, one sand pebble left in the clock’s tapered shadow, sere wind breaks our wing somewhere now where God rests dunes caress with downy fill, eternal grains here, graceful echelon, mosaics carved, rarefied stars align to coasts the world from the clouds, squiggly fractal boundaries in between people, morning groggy-eyed sunrise through stretched acrylic grounded in promise directional signs, herd animals jostle on, can’t forget baggage, travelators scoot well past the red-eye's runway, each with life in tow sandstorm rocks taxi, clouds all that is visible, the expectant shift, meter stops running, zero beats to the measure, vantage no longer family concern, guests gather at synagogue, Tel Aviv sunset, the anxious await break of accident reports, frozen winter dreams Eilat in winter: warm honeymoon on Red Sea, chilly salt water waves, oceanic time curves around large bodies at scale, we’re smallest rare snowfall settles, Israeli children cheer, sheer slush by morning cold rains bring green, sprouts, plants, blooms, before springtime warmth, allergy triggers spring still comes each year, rebirth, salted brine-gray fog, pied balloons aloft
- Loku are comprised of 17 haiku, for a total of 289 syllables, with 1 additional syllable thrown in (at any point in the Loku) as a symbolic gesture to mar the otherwise standard form;
- The haiku to the Loku form are as syllables are to the haiku;
- The poet should think of the Loku as 3 sections:
- the first 5 haiku long;
- the middle section 7 haiku;
- the last again 5 haiku long;
- There are 2 volta in the form, separating the sections, similar in purpose to the 1 volta found in a sonnet. These are the turning points, at the start of haiku 6 and 13;
- The 3 sections take shape on the page as (8) four-line stanzas, and a final two-line couplet:
- the four-line stanzas are made of (2) haiku, in 5/12/12/5 syllable-pattern;
- the final couplet is a concluding play on a haiku in the form 5/12.
d’Verse Open Link Night
I’m sharing this exciting new collaboration for today’s OLN.
While I’ve written many poems as responses to other poets through Poetry Partners (please consider submitting an original piece of yours – I would be honored to publish it!), the composition of this particular poetic collaboration was an entirely new experience for me.
Michael & I penned ten haiku each; then we discussed potential volta and went about composing and editing the loku (comprised of 17 haiku) together, leaving three haiku on the cutting room floor. It was wonderful fun!
Much greatly deserved credit for the creation of the Chagallian Loku form goes to Carlos Chagall.
Let’s write poetry together!
When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.–Ben Harper (b. 1969)
Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!