It's so dark outside, my eyes can't distinguish where sand meets water. Somehow, dusk has come and gone, plunging the evening into darkness.
But even as my eyes yield to this opaque absence of light, my other senses heighten. I can hear the crash of waves as they abuse the shoreline, sending foaming water up the beach in icy streams. I'm lulled by the sound of polished pebbles colliding like marbles as they recede with the waves. I can feel the sea's cool mist against my face, taste its salt on my lips. The scent of seaweed drifts on the breeze in gentle wafts - and then, slowly, the faintest whiff of smoke.
I glance over my shoulder, where a tiny dot of light penetrates the darkness. It's a beacon on this cool night, and I walk slowly toward it, digging my toes into the soft sand with each step.
peeks through thinning clouds--
He's still there, stoking the fire, feeding the flames until the heat is tangible. The air wavers between us like a veil - a line I want to cross. He stirs up clouds of smoke, stirring feelings within me as I watch his busy hands. I wait patiently for him to notice my approach, and when he does, my breath catches.
burst from seasoned maple--
blue eyes sparkle
I watch golden light flicker across his skin, softening the lines of his face. He abandons his task, moving around the fire until he stands before me, smiling as if he knows my heart is thundering in my chest.
He waits for a painstaking moment to pass. Then he kisses me with toasted marshmallow lips, pulling me down into his lap to watch the sparks rise like fireflies into the breathless night.
Awakened from my walking reverie by movement ahead, I spy a Red-Tailed Hawk perched upon the wrought-iron railing of the flood-wall. The hawk is regal, stoic beauty. I stop walking in hopes of urging the bird of prey to stay its perch. It does, filling me with a sense of relief. I wonder why it let me get so close; if it was my calm, thoughts-up-in-the-clouds, meditative stroll that somehow rendered my thoughts and steps silent enough to catch the bird unawares. We eye each other, a bitter gust of mid-winter wind blows against my face; ruffles the back-feathers of the hawk. I am overwhelmed by a sensation how the two of us know exactly what we are, who we are, what we are supposed to be doing overall, but we are presently caught in a moment of unknowns, letting these unknowns erase the lines that keep us separate -- beast from human.
I take a step closer, causing the hawk to finally alight, and I am struck by its vibrant feathers adding a dash of colour to the surrounding monochromatic grays.
The hawk flies only a short distance ahead before landing on the railing again, so we re-enact the scene of this play. I come closer, closer, closer, until the hawk lifts up, flies a bit further along the river-walk, before landing again, until eventually it probably decides, that indeed, this human is going to traverse the entire path, for the hawk flies up into trees located further ahead. As I walk past the trees, the hawk launches out of an evergreen, with twigs in its talons. The bird flies over the river; a river made tumultuous by ice-melt.
in Winter's gray light
a Red-Tailed Hawk paints the sky
with its feathers,
my soul lifts, follows the bird
over an ice-gorged river
The hawk lands on the base of a church steeple, and disappears behind an ornately carved corner. It appears as if the steeple is attempting to pierce the snow-clouds with its tip, trying to tear gashes in the sky, until spring blue bleeds into gray. On this Tuesday afternoon, does the church seem personified because it is devoid of Sunday parishioners milling in and out of its thick wooden doors? No matter how hard the steeple tries to break-apart the clouds, the grand sky dwarfs the church, causing it to look like a toy model. The church fluctuates between looking like a miniature-scale model, and an architectural feat.
the steeple pierces clouds
looming overhead -
the snow-laden clouds
make the church appear small
Passing the church, I find it ironic how today the church is empty inside, yet on its steeple and roof-lines, countless animals are nesting, making this House of God their sanctuary. Slowly making my way home, I ponder about the hawk, how it is not only a predator amongst prey, but a predator amongst predators -- it flies around in plain sight, yet also hides right in the middle of the city. Coming up to the path leading to the back-door of my home, I scan a small trail of footprints in the snow. The footprints vary, but all are familiar to me.
It is at precisely this moment that I fully acknowledge the Red-Tailed Hawk and I to be kindred spirits; how similar we really are.
the path leading home
is a winding snowy trail
of few footprints,
for only my loved ones know
where I truly live
The snow slowly morphs into rain, a thousand cold cocoons that release raindrop butterflies into the frosty air. They glisten in the morning light, clinging to soft leather like tiny diamonds as he drapes his jacket across my shoulders.
The jacket smells like him: fresh soap and spicy aftershave--and that spearmint gum he always keeps on hand. It's way too big on me, but he zips it up anyway, pulling the hood over my head to shield me from the rain.
bleed beads of liquid light--
He's soaked, but he doesn't seem to care as water slides down his rosy cheeks, dripping from his frozen nose. He brings my hand to his lips and whispers, "Happy New Year." Even his lips are cold, but I lend him my warmth.
As we stand there together in the soft tranquility of winter rain, I realize I'm happy. I want to stay here forever, in this life-sized snow globe of frigid weather and smooth, warm leather.
For Giorgio's "Leather Jacket" contest
You won't find a yard like this anymore. You'd think it would seem smaller now that I'm an adult, but it doesn't. It's still enormous, stretching far beyond the house like a grassy sea. The hills roll like the tide, dotted with patches of melting snow that remind me of cresting waves. All around me, the gardens wake from a wintry slumber.
cling to naked branches--
a robin sings
Time stands still here in Nana's garden; the ghosts of childhood haunt every inch of the yard. There's my brother, climbing the ancient apple tree, throwing crab apples at my sister as she plucks daisies. Even as she dodges apples, she plucks away - asking no one in particular if she's loved or not, leaving a trail of petals in her wake. And there I am in my grass-stained skirt, twirling and twirling, falling dizzily to the ground, oblivious to my sister's shrieks of protest and my brother's triumphant laugh.
I shake my head and the vision clears. Now the garden is empty - still overflowing with trees and shrubs and flowers, but lacking in laughter, mischief, and innocence. Innocence has been replaced by wistfulness.
glide across the sky--
a door creaks
"Tea's ready, dear."
I glance over my shoulder at Nana. She stands on the back porch wearing her favourite apron and my favourite smile. Like her garden, she hasn't changed. A few more silver strands in her hair, a few more lines around her eyes - but she is still the same woman who took care of us, tending to us just as she tended to her gardens. She smiles at me now, as if she knows that garden has cast a spell over me.
With another glance at the apple tree, I follow Nana inside the house - and I swear I can hear echoes of laughter behind me.
with a kiss
he tasted the salt
of her tears -
guilt washed over him
at feeling spring in his veins
This was the wrong place and moment
to have such strong lust and longing.
in his periphery,
her oniisan's sen-nin-bari
hung like a limp eel from her pocket
He was filled with the shame of it all.
To hell with this sacred, imperial war.
Two years too young to serve in the munitions factories,
many years too young to join in the fray,
he spent his time
amongst women, old men,
and the dreaded kempeitai.
His thoughts felt as those of a hikokumin.
He loved his ojiichan and obaachan,
who filled in for the roles of okasan,
and an otosan whom he hadn't heard from,
since the infantryman had stormed Rangoon, four months prior.
But spending so much time around mainly women and elderly folk
can become quite depressing for a man-boy.
Juzo and Aki slipped past a crowd of women
pushing against a rations cart,
clawing pathetically for scraps of rice, powdered eggs and salted fish.
This is what Nippon had been reduced to.
The pit in his stomach widened at the thought of dishes
he used to take for granted.
What he would do for some sukiyaki, mochi,
or even a slice of kasutera.
Walking through the streets hand-in-hand,
he felt the obake of shopkeepers
tending store behind boarded-up windows.
The entire city was brimming with negative thoughts,
probably partly due to the banning of the Joya-no-Kane -
what could purge the ill thoughts, now?
It felt like a pressure cooker of indecency,
steaming over into the gutters,
until even the gutters flooded,
spilling filth into the most private corners of kitchens and bedrooms.
Late at night,
when the blessing of sleep crept in,
he dreamt of food,
and of Aki finally breaching his shyness,
by taking the lead....
*Glossary(in order of appearance)
oniisan - brother
sen-nin-bari - stitched, woven cloth belt used as a talisman of protection by soldiers
kempeitai - military police
hikokumin - traitor
ojiichan - grandfather
obaachan - grandmother
okasan - mother
otosan - father
sukiyaki - sweet rice wine, cabbage, noodles, carrots, tender chicken
mochi - sticky rice with red bean in centre
kasutera - sponge cake
obake - ghosts
Joya-no-Kane - in Buddhist temples, gongs are hit 108 times with a log,
to help purge 108 indecent thoughts.
February 28th, 2012
My 1st Haibun! I had way too much fun with this. Hope you all enjoy!
It was a 65 degree sunrise.
Dew drops hang gliding
Off Mother Nature’s soft breath
Exhaling her winds
Hummingbirds, Sunday’s birth
Symphonic choruses of “I’ve heard it through the Grapevine”
A wistful family of cirrus streaks
Across Mother Nature’s sapphire domain
Encompassing my resilient footsteps
Out of the corner from windows’ soul
A lightly whipped “thunder”
From checkerboard quilt and wicker picnic basket
Ensues rest upon grassy blades
There she was.
A plus-sized, quintessential fantasy
Turned slender, imagined figment
Presses her spoken word against my retina
Rose colored dreams
Become rusted picket fences
Walling off this heart’s front lawn
Eagle’s wing landing upon runways of paradoxical certainties
As sanity begins to fog my paved road home,
My essence becomes jolted.
“HEY”, she screamed towards her recycled promise ring.
“You left the radio & napkins back home!”
“Useless”, she says to her new “light of love”.
The muscular, receding hairline boy toy
Sings futile apologies in flats of C,
“Give me your hand, please”.
“Get my (insert your favorite vulgarity here) radio and I’ll think about it”, she aggressively whispers.
As boy toy races past my presence
With infantile pouty faces,
Slamming doors of their powerful new Toyota Prius
I watch him scream in arrogant octaves,
As his head slams against puny “meep meep” car horn
It was then,
I felt her wandering eyes caress my Latin aura.
Her seductive half-grin
French kisses my heart’s locked atrium.
I blink with confident stature,
As my gratuitous grin returns the favor
“That could’ve been me”, I speak with silent whisper.
Her glare tries to melt my peacefully maniacal laughter
As I walk towards hummingbirds’ verses
Because you see:
Already, my life
Tasted warm cups of Solace
With, now without you
©Drake J. Eszes
Here, I lie motionless like the tint of ocean's breath. A roulette
of fading stars glistens in tidal whisper of night,
and the incredibly sentient call of migrant birds wing
on ribs of leaves where tenderness gushes with tenderness.
clouds are scattering
in the midst of a blank pause...
becoming a full mantle
How unstoppable are the eyes of winds spilling a basin
of potpourri into my territory,requesting the nymph in my body
for a sway of pleasure. Will I spare this splendor so pagan
and pure that my riled energy can smother the natural movement of this hour?
I welcome the flame, together with ice; and allow inspiration's flow to just be.
clouds expand, rain drips
new blossoms of time unfurl...
and the air settles
Debbie Guzzi's Rock My World
by nette onclaud
As the moon smiles down on the sparkling Mediterranean
The gentle rolling hills
Reach bejeweled fingers into the sea
Spilling the overflow of sparkling lights
Onto fishing boats that dot the horizon
The irregular coastline, encrusted with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, flirts with lovers in parked cars who melt into each other's embrace
hills and sea move in rhythm
The statue of Virgin Mary smiles down from the pinnacle of a hill
Lower down, above a river, the statue of Jesus the King,
with arms outstretched, reminds city dwellers that He is ever present: watching, reaching, loving, and blessing
The constant sound of music floats on the night air
A strange melodic marriage of East and West: Arabic, English, and French
Languages that coexist sometimes within a single sentence.
Overhead, cable cars pass over the highway, seeking a holy destination
Carrying passengers to the cathedral of Virgin Mary
Where they make pilgrimage up the winding staircase of the statue, asking for forgiveness, seeking solace…penance for their sins.
Others who wait for them at the base of the statue look out over Beirut
Reflecting on life as they view the spectacular beauty spread below them,
Twinkling lights of hope in a country still bearing the ravages of war
The eternal sea a sure promise of continuity, stability and strength.
veil covers the night
moon and stars are not silent
beauty has a voice
Beirut at night- an enchanting place where history and modernity make love under the admiring gaze of tourists. Majestic minarets and splendid steeples pierce the solemn sky, silent witnesses of the need for the adherents of the two main religions in this city to coexist in peace.
At times, my little heart just cannot take in the beauty around me. I’m overwhelmed as I thrust my head out the window of our car…in search of liberation. I let the wind play in my hair, exhilarating me with each dreamy caress! I let the lights on the fishing boats, yachts, and cargo ships, woo my heart to adventurous shores beyond my limited ones of existence. I let the hills dazzle me with their display of multicolored lights…seducing my senses to live alternate lives of those dwelling within the halo of each light. And when the beauty is more than I can take in, I look up into the night sky where the moon and the stars serenade my heart and promise me a beautiful tomorrow in this mesmerizing city of life, light, and love…Beirut!
Eileen Manassian Ghali
In the refrigerated coldness of a courtroom sitting with my truest friend near me, boxed in by bureaucracy who cared not for the long, lingering years of marital decline. The unyielding forms of squares and rectangles, benched, tabled and chaired the end of a lifetime of intercourse. Only one friend had come to my Golgotha, my place of skulls.
a downcast woman
sat before a solemn judge--
the gravel fell
Sedated with mother’s little helpers, we sat, she and I attempting, through chemistry and kindness, to bar the pain of memory, no sour wine laced with myrrh for me. The Judge seeing no sense in the dissolution of a union three decades in the baking, washed his hands of us, my husband and I, like Pilate. As the crown of thorns had encircled the pate of HE, so had the bands of marriage encased us, frozen, dead, in the honey colored amber .. of we.
on the beach. . .
the darkening sky
One day our boat was demolished in a storm that came up suddenly on what had begun as a sunny July day. My husband had recently recovered from a nervous breakdown. Our boat had been his main means of escape on summer weekends, so this event, which would merely have saddened the ordinary guy, totally devastated him.
I could liken this calamitous day to the worst part of living with a person who suffers from “managed” depression/anxiety. Days can be sunny, but when the storms strike, even the best pharmaceuticals can curtail neither the sometimes disastrous effects on the mind of one who suffers depression nor the entire family’s feelings of isolation and debilitating despair. That day at the lake would top my list of the many times in my life that I would choose never to have to relive.
the children’s cries
mingled with my helpless pleas. . .
his vacant stare
For the What I Wouldn't Want to Relive contest of Black Eyed Susan
(the actual story of this day at the beach was told with more details
in a past haibun of mine posted Oct. 1, 2013 and named Fickle Nature)