_Moyayama_ cover art m o y a y a m a

russian haiku: a diary
by Alexey Andreyev

Author's note:The title MOYA-YAMA means "my ditch" in Russian, or "misty mount" in Japanese. I used this word (or two words, in fact) to name the collection of my haiku, senryuu, tanka and haibuns. Most of the poems were written in 1994-96 and published on the e-mailing list of Shiki International Haiku Salon. Some of the poems appeared in the international anthologies ("Haiku World", "Haiku Sans Frontieres", "Mainichi Haiku Contest") and magazines ("Woodnotes", "Frogpond", "Europoesie", "Still"). The whole collection was published as a paper book by A Small Garlic Press in Chicago.

This file also contains HYPER-HAIKU essay (appeared in a paper book, too) and some NEW HAIKU (written in 1996-98, after the book was published).

For those interested in Russian texts, there are MOYAYAMA + NEW HAIKU in Russian (no haibuns, but more haiku) and HYPER-HAIKU in Russian. Besides, you may check up ZHIDKOE STEKLO, the last book of mine in which some haibuns and haiku used; there exist both printed and hypertext versions.

There is also a part of MOYAYAMA in Japanese.

M O Y A Y A M A Russian haiku: A diary 1994-1996

* * * There is a certain pleasure in taking a bus. When you drive a car, you have to watch for all these traffic lights, signs, turns, other cars... On the bus you don't care about the road at all: You can read, talk to other people, look out the window, sleep. You know your destination and that's enough. You can even turn around and look back. N 352 - my favorite in Petergoff. long ride on the bus world outside like a film don't stop, bus * * * thrown away New Year's trees wave to each other with tinsel scarves * * * till sunrise two yellow traffic lights through the curtains of rain * * * o cockroach, only one of us is remembered: blur on the wall * * * "Moskovskiy" - walking through the station's grand hall I noticed that Lenin's bust is gone. Wonder who was annoyed with this thing. Not a masterpiece, but it was such a calm, colorless, smooth head. Now only a black square on the floor left. I passed by it recalling all the people I used to meet "in Moskovskiy, by Lenin:" my parents who would let me walk around alone for a while when we went downtown; my girls who always came late; my friends with new crazy ideas and new places to go. Trains to the south, trains from the east... Everything's gone away together with this granite Lenin. O, I bet, soon they'll put something new in its place. Doesn't matter what - but it's simply uncomfortable to arrange meetings "by the black square in the middle of the hall." these pale irises, fine in the neon light of metro station Baltiyskaya * * * help me, Basho! herds of ugly frogs splashing in the pond! * * * don't hasten climbing Fuji: you'll see - it's just a sandgrain on a snailshell * * * night rain - some lights far away, some drops on the pane * * * he loved the rain she came into his life and gave him an umbrella * * * winter: on my wall Hokusai's "Great Wave" motionless * * * Flower Row of Nekrasovsky Market - what a cocktail of scents! On one of the counters lies a pack of condoms. A vendor takes a condom and cuts it into thin rings with the scissors; then pulls the rings on tulip buds, so that the flowers won't open till their time comes. But they won't wait for long: tomorrow is the 8th of March, Women's Day, and a lot of men will run around with these impatient but thoroughly ringed tulips. "marrrch!" - her cat rubs up the legs of every chair in its way * * * Early morning. I walk home from the railway station. Without my footsteps the silence would be perfect. Then - a burst: Three, four alarm clocks start ringing at 7:00 in the houses around me. And silence again; but now it's not the same silence that was before. spring morning - your little watch left on the edge of the sink * * * the plane is taking off - I'm thinking about lemons * * * country of lawnmowers, did you leave any leaves of grass for me? One of the first things that impressed me in USA: lawnmowing, everywhere and every possible time. I saw people cutting the grass on the steep rocky slopes by highways; I saw them mowing their lawns in late October when the grass doesn't grow anymore; once I even saw it in a cemetery. among gravestones a lawnmowerman... how does he know which flowers to cut? * * * forgotten puppets with loosen and tangled strings so free, so helpless * * * cloudy... yet I resist - smirking I bake my pancakes * * * Atlanta, GA: a lot of people around the Museum of Coca-Cola, but just a few visitors in the Museum of Fine Arts. At The Underground: flat wooden Scarlet O'Hara with her face cut out. One can put one's own face in the hole and get a picture taken. Next time I'll bring Serega with me and ask him to take a picture while I look at the world with Scarlet's eyes. 70 mph: raindrops crawl upward on the windshield; sh-shik! - and most of them swept with wipers * * * first snowflakes! I love them too much to think they'll melt by noon * * * watching "Nutcracker", she eats pistachios from a plastic bag * * * Christmas in Florida; so strange a feeling - the ocean and palms instead of snowdrifts and Christmas trees. Driving along the highway: palms look like huge carrots not pulled out yet. day after Christmas a pair of sandals on the shore no wonder * * * city of unsold flowers: Greyhound took her away too early * * * night on the river - a bird cried twice on the other side * * * Met an acquaintance. "I'm going back home," she said. "When?" I asked. "In a month. No, three weeks and four days." She is from East Germany. sudden snow during warm March: today I won't speak English * * * evening sky - over the city lights stars hardly seen * * * a dead robin on the highway's white line - spring came * * * in the city jungle small bell on someone's wrist silent jingle * * * According to Russian tradition, when you see or hear a cuckoo, you can ask her how many years you will live. Then you should count her "coos". a cuckoo flying away: nothing to say, or too much to say? * * * a supermarket: in someone's cart - beef, beer, flowers and a child * * * watching deadly news I drink hot milk, impressed by my sore throat * * * leaving my tent only to take a leak: the downpour outside! * * * 24th birthday: sitting on the swing, swinging with the wind * * * writing a letter to my sister - young moon's smirk in the sky * * * Listening to "People Are Strange" in the bar; thinking about different kinds of doors I've seen in my life. Creaking doors and always-open doors. Those with tight springs and those you can't break through even if you run into them with full speed. Doors strengthened with iron sheets, and transparent ones. The doors you go through once and never go back. Others - with special plates: "Don't lean on!" "Warning! A dog in the yard!" Doors with simple locks that can be opened with a hair-pin, a nail, or a little coin. Those slamming after every draft. Doors that look the same except for different numbers, scratches and nail heads you can find on them. Old ones: without knobs or handles, they always brush against the threshold with one corner, drawing arcs on the floor. lit windows, dark windows... "The Book of Changes" on my sill * * * after the storm a child picks up new toys from rubbish on the shore * * * morning awakening: among flowered curtains a blade of gray sky * * * A friend of mine sitting at the next table said: "You know, in the US an open umbrella inside the house brings bad luck." Her own umbrella was lying on the dirty floor under the table. "Noway," said I, "it brings dry umbrellas - I already tried this a million times in a much rainier country." in the corner of the cafe my russian umbrella open, still wet * * * maple tree seeds on the next house's roof wave by wave * * * Crossing University Ave., I noticed a sign: "Caution! Blind and Deaf Students in Area." I stopped and laughed - and was almost run over by a car that appeared from around the corner. empty campus; sneakers dangling on the wires, what sky does your owner fly? * * * the rain just stopped people with open umbrellas don't know why we smile * * * There is a strange reason why I like stairs: climbing them, you see the work you have done; you feel the height. Elevators are shortcuts. When you take the elavator to reach the highest floor of the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh, you actually do nothing but stand and stare at the wall; from a certain point of view, you are still on the ground. little girl in revolving doors: not entering, not exiting, just circling By the Cathedral of Learning is a little church. I wanted to look at it inside, but everytime I went to Pittsburgh it was closed. Of course it has a special schedule, but I never read it. Pittsburgh noon: pretty chicks tanning in the grass around the closed church * * * Phipps Conservatory. I went there with my pastels to draw flowers. People would come to me, say "Oh how nice!" and disturb me all possible ways. The only one I liked was a little boy who came silent and grabbed a red stick. Then his mother came and grabbed him, saying "Excuse us!" orchids! among them - a girl with glasses trying to copy all names! * * * unfinished pastel - in the trash - my fingerprints on the bathroom door * * * Strip District Fair earrings made of little shells bits of ocean for you * * * longer days - why don't I have my hair cut? * * * no butterfly just an empty cover of dictionary on the office floor * * * An Englishwoman was sitting next to me on the plane. When she saw me falling asleep she pulled a blanket out of the rack and gave it to me. "Thank you," I said, "but I'm warm enough." "It is not for warmness," she replied, "You'll feel psychologically comfortable. Like at home." Statue of Liberty offers an ice cream to a helicopter * * * In New York City, right after my vacation in Russia, I got a terrible headache. Just two days before I went fishing with my father; we caught some pikes and had a good time in fresh air. And right after that - a plane and New York which stinks like I-don't-know-what. Euroasian New York: between Little Italy and Chinatown - garbage of Grand Street * * * with my eyes closed three minutes in a rocking chair in someone else's home * * * Sitting in the laundromat, browsing "Glamor". A grey-haired man comes in and stares at washers and dryers with great curiosity. Then he askes me to explain how to operate them, and I show him what I've learned not so long ago. He doesn't look like a foreigner or a hillbilly though. Perhaps, someone else used to do laundry for him, but today he has to do it himself for the first time. When I'm about to leave he waves to me with his hand. after laundry - some stains are less visible but visible * * * alone, on the river - fireflies' reflections beneath my feet * * * already under another lamp-post, still casting two shadows * * * I wait. Just wait. Smoke a cigarette. Make a snowflake out of the cigarette's filter. Smoke another one. Another snowflake. And another one. Already a whole snowdrift on the table. with the receiver near my ear: between long "beeps" - a treefrog * * * on a couch with a book, you found a piece of cobweb on your left shoulder * * * on an old tree over the creek behind my house - a piece of rope * * * hot summer night a phone keeps ringing in the neighbor's house * * * little feather and withered leaf -sudden whirl in the courthouse square * * * They have a big Block Party here in M'town once a year, on the first day of classes. I went to look at it, but the most interesting thing I saw was a huge praying mantis - it carelessly sat on the asphalt right in the middle of the crowd! I've never seen mantises before, only in books. on the sidewalk praying mantis turns its head to approaching shadows * * * Awakened by the sound of water dripping from the ceiling. A skylight is a great thing indeed - I can see the sky right from my bed; but sometimes the roof leaks because of this window in it. autumn rain: in an armchair on the porch - an empty water gun * * * on pink wallpaper a dog-shaped shadow of my hand theatre for one * * * sunday morning walk "flea market ==>" points right at a church * * * slow down! - a fash of autumn leaves at the roadside * * * moonless night last slice of lemon in a cup with yesterday's tea * * * first snow - walking back home I draw waves on car roofs * * * hey wind! I'm not a tree and my umbrella is not a leaf! * * * a pocket phone book in the snow by the phone booth - lost or thrown? * * * her perfume... what can be stronger? - only the smell of my socks! * * * november wind even lions by the Art Institute are green It was about 8:30 a.m. in Chicago when I found a long line by the Art Institute: the Monet exhibition. All the tickets were sold, and the line waited for extra tickets. Some men came at 5:00 with their sleeping bags. At 10:30 it opened; a policeman came out and said no extra tickets for today. The crowd slowly drifted away, but I decided that my desire to see Monet was a bit stronger than my desire to be "a good boy". So I went in and entered the exhibition through a "wrong" door. When you are a foreigner, you always can pretend you don't know what "EXIT" means. surrounded by 18 lily ponds perfect place to die * * * "Camille Monet on Her Death Bed" a girl with an audio-guide wispers: "I'm not here yet..." * * * an old woman ascends the last step leaning on the lion's tail * * * Michigan Ave: my eyes searching for trash cans - men with flyers ahead * * * watching birds not caring about their names * * * unsatisfied visitors by the cage with a calmly sleeping leopard * * * bunch of squirrels praying to an old man with almonds * * * cold windy downtown Lincoln Park Conservatory nice windy downtown * * * at the foot of the skyscraper two black shoeshiners point at my dirty shoes while I gaze up * * * Greyhound in Cleveland: three young Amish around a Mortal Kombat game * * * bleeding in my nose! nicely colored napkins fly to the trash can! * * * winter abacus - no sparrows on the wire this morning * * * In Pittsburgh, I saw the "95' International Art" exhibition. I noticed that the more boring the painting was, the more interesting story the guide told. Near one old piece of furniture covered with cement I even had a chance to hear that this piece symbolized violence; while about one really interesting painting the guide said it had no "special meaning." It reminded me of "The Emperor's New Clothes". listening to the guide they let their backs watch the painting * * * poet's hard day: shooting these huge snowflakes with my water gun * * * rainy night lantern in the puddle tries not to fall apart * * * stray dog starts following me again after I look back * * * Christmas morning: in my mirror Santa Claus with a new razor * * * the view of frozen waterfalls - a skier pulls out his handkerchief * * * New Year's Eve walk to the nearest lamp-post to check the time * * * left upper corner of the envelope, the only piece of your long letter left * * * bell Army Salvation a * * * Doing dishes after lunch; suddenly - someone shuffles by the porch. I jump to the window - "mailman!". No, just garbage people... and it's still snowing. snowstorm my cigarette stub disappearing slowly After the snowstorm - the town is clear, quiet. School and work are cancelled; students walk around, playing with snow like kids. A lot of people in Blue Moose Cafe: talking, playing chess. Someone's white Toyota, stuck in the intersection. Four guys try to push it out, but it's hopeless. Today's Pedestrians' Day; today's my day. brushing the snow out of her hair she stares at a mannequin in the bridal shop window * * * January 13th - the New Year, according to the Old Calendar. I celebrate it, impressing my roommates once again: They never saw people heating their dark beer on the stove. ten thousand snowflakes and a few stars - Old New Year * * * by the ATM machine a girl zipping her coat MAC card in her mouth! * * * on every icicle's tip a drop of sunlight * * * night thaw... turning over, to the cooler side of the pillow * * * A high pile of fat books in the middle of my room. I lie by it, reading the titles. "The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language," "Cellular Automata and Complexity," "Contemporary Russian Poetry", "Classic Japanese Prose XI-XIV c." Bunin, Veller, Bach, Nabokov, Mariengoff, Freud, Nietzsche, Mayakovsky. "Less Than One" by Brodsky, "Comedians" by Greene. "GRE Preparation Guide," Strugatskie, a couple of dictionaries. One could imagine I'm in a mood to read something. In fact, I'm making a postcard: I just drew a picture and now I glue it to a piece of cardboard. The books work as a weight. Ok, it must be ready: I knock the pile down... Damn! There is still a little bubble of air between the picture and the card! Anyway, time to mail it. Valentine's day - red fake nails of that woman on the train * * * headlights passing by - shadows of trees brush my bedroom window; your wet hair on my face * * * I hadn't heard wind-chimes before I came to the US; but when I heard them, they sounded familiar to me, though I couldn't recall what they reminded me of. Now I know. Some years ago, in Lithuania, we visited the place called "The Mount of Crosses." I don't remember the exact ritual connected with that place. Something like this: when a man starts some serious business or just wants to make a wish, he puts a cross on the Mount. Some people set big and tall crosses; others bring little ones and hang them on the arms of big ones. So it looked like a grove on the hill, with some trails curving among the "trees." And there was that sound - the gentle clinking of hundreds of little crosses swaying on the wind. snow in the dusk - whistling I continue the tune of the wind-chimes * * * a wedge of cranes over a weathercock: opposite ways in april sky * * * moon wink


Yesterday I was sitting near the Monongahela river thinking about possible poetic forms based on haiku. The idea is not so new, in fact. The very art of haiku derived from the art of renga. In renga, haiku (hokku) were elements from which linked verses were built, and only later did haiku become a separate style of poetry. If we compare the art of renga with the art of mosaic, we can say that the art of haiku appeared as the art of making little colored pieces of glass. It would be interesting, after playing with these pieces, to try to make mosaics out of them. And not only the renga type of mosaic, but some others, too, if possible. In the past five years, playing with this idea from time to time, I did create some forms of this kind; for example, "Japanese sonnet": Such a poem consists of three haiku and one tanka (3+3+3+5=14 lines, like in a sonnet); certain rhyming systems were used, too. So yesterday I was sitting by the river trying to make up a new heresy. The form I invented (or, at least, invented for myself) is called "hyper-haiku". The idea is very simple. As we know, in many cases a haiku is based on some interesting juxtaposition. Usually there are two elements, and haiku shows the very essence, the very dynamics of their relations - a frog and the old pond, a snail and the Fuji slope, and so on. Simplifying this a little bit more, we can say that the three-line structure of haiku might be connected with this three-element scheme; namely, a line per element (an image, another image, and their relation). Hyper-haiku is a haiku made of three haiku instead of three lines. Each of these haiku represents what is represented by a line in a common haiku. Here is an example: raindrops on her glasses: spring is coming melting snowman: too small to fight the sun, too big to be unnoticed day after Valentine's - red petals on the floor, a broom in the corner While refining a hyper-haiku, we perhaps change not just a word or a line as we'd do rewriting a common haiku; rather, we ruthlessly throw away a whole haiku and put a new one in its place. Here is how I rewrote my poem, trying to convey the same, or almost the same hyper-image with a different set of haiku: orchids! among them - a girl with glasses trying to copy all names! a dusted daffodil on the way to my job every day... on the grass cutter's shoes - plantain seeds: bon voyage! This weird poetic form can be useful for a poet who slowed down on writing haiku, maybe just being tired of simple one-image poems; he can play with his old verses making hyper-haiku out of them. An editor of a haiku magazine, who always feels uncertain about the order he uses to organaze many haiku in his magazine, can use hyper-haiku as a way to solve his problems and to show the submitters that editors have some creative abilities, too. Besides, people can play it as a more complicated type of renga in which every new link refers not only to the last link of the chain, but to the last two links. Now, the last example, still the same hyper-image: sprinkling, then the sun and a grey-haired lady with her blue umbrella open neighbor's car covered with dry pine needles - indian summer yawning waiter sweeps off yellow leaves from my side of the table After reading the sketch of this article, a friend of mine asked, "So what comes next? A 27-line poem?" I said, "What do you mean - next? You just read a 27-line poem, only with comments after every nine lines." "Wow!" he said, "I didn't notice that! So what's next? 81 lines?" I felt that he was starting yo get on my nerves, so I said, just to get rid of him: "No, the next one is going to be three-dimensional, and all the characters will be painted in different colors..."

NEW HAIKU 1996-1998

pausing on the bridge - both ways in mist chilling gust - a lark and a weathercock part a star in a tear - my old umbrella shooting star - no time to tell a wish only a name walk in darkness - to give her a hand I drop my cigarette red leaf lands on a paused FedEx track sunny day - someone hung a golden leaf back on the tree chilling gust - last willow leaves point at the crescent moon losing a bit on every wave - old moon dancing on the moon - last fly by the windowpane crescent moon - cold fingers in my pocket try on acorn cups first snow - all the trails in the park equally white winter sky - staring at the iced fish's eye midnight train we stare at each other's reflections her purple sweater when she comes closer - red and blue threads christmas gift tightly criss-crossed - looking for a knife christmas night my pockets full of snow snowfall all the stars in your hair brushing by the pane - stars in her hair, hairpins in her mouth pineneedles pouring in my collar - cold rain the moon shows up - halo in the snow around a lost coin all night long orange snow flies by the lantern first swallow behind the wet pane your smile getting warmer day by day - your voice on the answering machine march sun - passing by the book racks toward the flower shop on the fringe of iced puddle - child's footprint, full of sky sunken eyes of the snowman facing april sun first day of May - we exchange our parents' addresses spring wind and a child, together making soap-bubbles storm wave... the motionless gaze of 1000 gulls statue's head touched by bird's shadow then by bird shit El Condor Pasa - one-legged flutist in the subway mosquito got silent, too - on me? on you? mosquito I slap my ear again broken window brr... wind... granit water granit swinging swinging falling stars