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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Renga is a form of collaborative haiku with a 5-7-5-7-7 syllable structure. A single writer initiates the poem with the first 5-7-5 stanza and welcomes other writers to provide the 7-7 stanza.

Anyone can submit the 7-7 lines! For the sake of all renga participants, please include your lines as comments to the collaborative haiku post so that others can see what has been submitted. I will “close” the renga to submissions on the date indicated with the collaborative haiku post.  I will have an independent judge pick their favorite from the submissions. The final renga will be published on this blog, and the submitter will be given co-credit with me in the by-line.

The submission deadline is early this time: 5 pm EDT, Fri, August 31, 2012.  My hope is to post the final haiku on NASA’s “Share Your Thoughts on Neil Armstrong” page at http://www.nasa.gov/topics/people/features/armstrong_comments.html before the public comment period ends.

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Apollo 11 astronauts (left to right: Armstrong, Collins, Aldrin) at Kennedy Space Center (Saturn V in the background) on May 20, 1969. Credit: NASA

To The Moon

We choose to go, too,
because your words awaken
a slumbering child.
Your 7 syllable line here
Next 7 syllable line here.

One of few pictures of Neil Armstrong on the Moon. Taken by Buzz Aldrin, July 20, 1969. Credit: NASA.

for Neil, with thanks

A step
before I was born
led to another

and another

until a path
wore through the book
on our shelf

and I sat on the floor
with black-and-white
family portraits

of the moon

as if reliving
a vacation
to the beach

this intimacy
treading
into the night
when I trained
my binoculars
on a black sea
stripped of childhood
haze–

on a suspended
rock, falsely lit

and somewhere
in my focus:
a step.

Original symbol for asteroid 11 Parthenope from Gould, B.A. “On the Symbolic Notation of the Asteroids.” (1852)

For once,
your voice
which always catches
its victim
fails–

Odysseus sails
past you

and you see his desire
redshift.

Above you
as you drown,
silent
success:

stars lured
and bound

tricked
into islands
of attraction.

This Voyager 1 image of Jupiter’s red spot was taken March 5, 1979. Image credit: NASA/JPL

I am trying to read
this fluid story
left-to-right
as I have been taught

to read for meaning

but the serifed
letters flatten
and bend
in the conflict

until they signify
nothing

consumed
by negative space
and storms

unyielding editors
relaxing
the kerning
and the intent
until the text
disappears.

According to NASA MSL, “this view results from the first observation of a target selected autonomously by a spacecraft on Mars” (i.e., NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University

I sit in the sandbox
with the Matchbox car city
run by ants,

my fingers tracing a rille
void of lava or water or ice
through the main parking lot.

Though you may not see it,
this touch
means loss of separation

with the finite.

You can try
to stop me,

but I am already
ignoring
the obvious
limitations

including stones
and air

have connected
with everything

have become
a sinuous river

meandering through
valleys and lechs
past my allotted time.

A star-forming region in the constellation Perseus as seen by Planck. Image credit: ESA/LFI & HFI Consortia

Perseus sees Andromeda
tied to the rock
hair already wed to the sea,

the serpent tail of her fate
approaching
through pellucid waters–

Cetus, the thing
that will plunge her
dead weight
to the fathoms–

and he unmoors her
from the lulling
storyline
and the void.