you are in the diode archives v6n3



Our Cloud-Based Future as Haibun

Cloud  —                         a briefcase       of   rain   does  not  shine
in here                                         motley                                field
of knowledge                  loofahs                                                of
kumo                   bytes — or                                                spider
silk       data                                 What we know               or
evidence              sasami yuki                                             a multi-
tiered platform                             tenebrae —                   binary
                                        in a server          of stratosphere
God—                                            eucalyptus             fire-hills
   You carve                                                                 our    future
So feathered                    low on the earth           Lazy ice-fog
                cirrus                                  altostratus

Cloud of witnesses
         our first snow


Kafka and the Interpreter

Dear Max —

The interpreter says wasser.

I say l’eau for water instead.

She says, die Vögel fliegen im Winter.

I say, the birds take flight in winter.

She echoes, Les oiseaux volent en hiver.

We speak the same languages

                          yet not at the same time.

So, we share an understanding —

Without flourishes and veils and warts:

One. To part ways

Two. Without exchanging numbers

Three. In silence


The Unfanciful Ire of Ursule
for Ursule Molinaro

On the plane seat next to me,
             a man eats seven tangelos.
Wat ist in einem Namen?
The half-drowsing stranger
             imagines my name is Ursula
rhyming with Ursa in Ursa Major
                 or Ursa Minor — no matter.

             Next he utters Virga
Virga falls on Los Angeles
                         under toxic skies,
falling rain — virga
 never soaks the dust.
                           What is in a name?
                ¿Qué hay en un nombre?
   In translingual lingo,
             it is Ursule. Rhymes with rule.
                                       Ursule, Ursule.


And Say if not Mimosa

One wishes to say cottonwood

                         Or Smoke Tree without moss-thread
             Or Red Cloud on the grassland

Where a freight train cuts across rough unraked wind.
What is your name, o shaggy one?
                                       No, not eucalyptus.

Willa observes                I like trees.
                                      They seem more resigned
To the way they have to live than other things do.

             Your name is a spire
                                                            on the outer edges
             Of your soul. Eludes me.         Not milkweed or silk-floss.

Your unsigned heartwood trills from root to bole.

                                                   Maybe this is a mimosa.
No, no — not mimosa.  O nomenclature, once again

             One part orange, one part champagne.


Polarities of a Rogue Translator

Nocturnal lexicons
       where a translator
strides iron horses
              across languages —
unloved hands, gall-wasp
       ink or sepia dye.
Pericope, a verse-cluster

rhymes with canopy,
       not with telescope,
unexpurgated texts

in loquacious engines
       of nomadic languages —
morphemes, phyla roots,
calque roses, a hybrid
         garden-sown verbiage
roped by wild mares
of formal and dynamic
              in polar directions.  


Karen An-Hwei Lee  is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Phyla of Joy (Tupelo Press 2013). She holds an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University and a PhD in Literature from the University of California, Berkeley.  Currently, she lives and teaches in greater Los Angeles.