Stephen J. DeGuire

Masters of Sabi


pink slip pocket square…
rough sleeper

 Stephen J. DeGuire

homeless camp fire
neighborhood watch
turns vigilante

Stephen J. DeGuire

  Stephen J. DeGuire, born with the birth defect Spina Bifida in Santa Monica, is a proud Angeleno. He has lived half his life in the same small apartment where he reads, writes, watches and listens. A life-long interest in Japan led to writing haiku and senryu which he has widely published in journals, newspapers and contests. His ideas come from both real life and the totally imagined, but the actual writing and inspiration comes when putting in his earbuds and listening to his favorite Japanese singer-songwriter Tate Takako


 A quotation often attributed to Gandhi goes as follows: “The measure of a society is how it treats its weakest members.” So many of the verses collected in this showcase speak to one another in a riveting sort of dialogue, and it seems very apropos in our running conversation to follow JL’s poem about the seedy underbelly along the fringes of society with a despairing vision of a comparable cast’s alternate, inverse probable character and role as vulnerable at-risk victims, not just of their own weaknesses, excesses and predations, but of the violence of those better positioned and empowered, with a monopoly on sanctioned arms and execution, along with their close cousins and informal vanguard the angry mob. Sabi again functions as the signifier of implosion and debauch, the symptom of a planet riddled with late stage capitalism in its death throws. Throughout an era frighteningly grounded in the ideologies of Malthus and Ayn Rand, who envisioned the elderly, sick, disabled, neurodivergent and unemployed as drains on communal coffers, whom leadership would as soon get rid of, one often realizes how small and logical a step it can be for conservative attitudes toward rationalizing and championing outright population control, sterilization, eugenic purges, involuntarily euthanasia, ethnic cleansing. DeGuire as well gracefully implicates, raises clamorous alarms, and introduces a brilliant solidarity and chilling reminder with the time honored redundancy icon (sabiest of totems) that every homeless wanderer in a haiku and senryu was once, under different circumstances could still be a hardworking contributor to society, and through bad luck, injury, automation, free trade, what have you they have fallen upon hard times. Like the Greek tragedies, it makes for a sobering realization to comprehend we and them are never so very different, and there but for the whim of fates mercurial go any of us each given day. Stephen’s wry wit, incisive knack for observation, and unflinching courage to advocate empathy and demand decency makes his amazing poetry and generous helpings of sabi something the literary community is very privileged to be edified via.

1 comment :

  1. I agree! wry wit and deep insight are boutiful! Always enjoy Steve's prose!


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