<title>The Egg-Shaped Stone
Text and photos by Kuniharu Shimizu
Text published on "Ginyu", an international haiku magazine (No. 22, April 2004)

(Japanese version)

Quiet morning. Snow still fresh on the park ground. A group of youngsters,
probably members of a school track team, jogs nearby. Their joyful chatting
comes and goes. I am at the west bank of Hudson River.
For a while I stand still, my gaze fixed on the lone spire of the Empire
State Building.

clear day--
loud unheard voices
still hang in the air

freezing park--
my urine reminds me
how warm I am

Another cold day in NYC. I'm traveling with a cameraman on a magazine
assignment. We pick a spot by the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the oldest
landmarks in the city. Stones weathered round by the centuries roll beneath
my feet. I pick some up to take home.

twin grandchildren gone--
old Brooklyn Bridge bears up
in the wind chill

Manhattan skyline--
I gather egg-shaped stones
by the river

We walk the streets of Lower Manhattan down to Chinatown. Suddenly,
we're in a whole new world. Let's have lunch here. Let's eat like the locals.
Our guide leads us through narrow sidestreets to a restaurant packed with
hungry Chinese. We try the guide's recommendation--steamed rice topped
with minced meat of beef and salted fish. The smell hits us hard. Shit-like
smell of the salted fish. Our high expectations quickly wane, and after a few
bites we give up.

street performance
a red creature waits
for its turn

One of our asssignments is to photograph notable examples of store
renovation. We walk around the SOHO district, looking for possibilities, like
The Apple Store. Originally a post office, then a hardware shop, the building
now houses a flashy computer store. No photograph, the storekeeper says, for
security reasons. We move on and try Prada. Talk to the head office first, says
the manager. No time, we leave early next morning.

SOHO show window--
the sunlit ass
of a naked mannequin

Mannequins are the best dressers in town. They enjoy the latest fashions,
always one or two steps ahead of city folks. We are still in SOHO. The sun is a
little warmer today. For our enjoyment: colorful spring collections for the
eyes, and a bit of sunshine for the cold bodies.

almost unnoticed reflection
of a pristine sky

There's a student show at the art gallery. One of the exhibits is a telephone
sculpture, made up of scores of handsets connected with wire, resembling
tangled spaghetti. The same space houses concerts and other kinds of exhibits.
Each time an event is held, the sculpture which dominates the limited space
is pushed into a corner to make room, then put back once the event is over.
This expansion and contraction occurs almost everyday, like a kind of
organism. That is probably not the intended conception of the artwork, but
it's that aspect which intrigues me.

midnight gallery--
a telephone sculpture
comes alive again

snowy night--
as if to hold her fading voice
my grip on handset tightens


I am home with the egg-shaped stones of New York. When I pocketed them,
they held their icy cold for a long time. The air is a lot warmer here at home.
Life in them seems to be getting ready to come forth.

hatching from
egg-shaped stones--
NY haiku, and more