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Toe Valley Tom by Martin, Thomas
The E T by Martin, Thomas
Nancy by Martin, Thomas
Starry by Martin, Thomas
Grandmother by Martin, Thomas
Her Last Gift by Martin, Thomas
An Innocent Lie by lawless, John
Rajanigandha by Tagore, Anindya Mohan
Beyond the promise by Beam, John
Practicing Piano by Martin, Thomas

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The Best Haibun Poems

Details | Haibun Poem | |

Moonlight Serenade

Blindfolded, he takes me from the car through the humid air of August. He holds my hand, and then surrounds me with his arms, when small obstacles appear. He brushes the hair from my forehead, gentling me like a shy colt. The silk rectangular scarf, I had folded and tied about my breasts clings to me. My cutoffs ride up further exciting me, as he lifts me onto a wall. Shushing me, he says. “Sit still, honey.” I have no idea where we are but, his voice and footsteps have a slight echo.

the wail 
of a harmonica:
moonlight serenade

Vibrations tingle across my skin, raising the down on my arms. A bead of sweat mixes with baby lotion and follows a shiver down, from cleavage to navel. Seconds become minutes, as the song caresses me. Oh, how I love him, this long tall drink of water with his huge hands and slow drawl. As the last note hangs in echo, I hear him approach. He lifts me high and traces the droplet down to the top of my hip-huggers with his tongue. I am still blindfolded when he places me on the ground. I feel his breathe upon my mouth. The tip of his tongue plays across my teeth. Ah, I remember him, his face, his hands, his taste, and that night at the empty skating rink…but, sadly, not his name. 

the scarf 
falls from my hands:
the drawer closes


First Published by Contemporary Haibun On-line Winter of 2013

More great poems below...


Details | Haibun Poem | |

The silent alarm

For some reason, this morning her alarm clock failed to sound. With eyes half closed,
 she glanced at the clock.  It was around 8 AM. She got dressed as quickly as     
she could,  hurried to the train station. When the train  arrived; she managed 
 to get a seat . She  put on her glasses and took out her crossword puzzle.   
  She  became lost in the clues. She had finished  one puzzle,  was on to the next,  
when the  voice of the conductor interrupted her thoughts. A delay was announced.   
 As it turned out, the train ahead had derailed.  Many were seriously injured. 
  It was then,  she appreciated the silence of her alarm clock.
                                                    -----


a peal of thunder
  shatters the peace of the day
 rain comes crashing down
 

 
  

  

Details | Haibun Poem | |

The Devil Made Me Do It

It had been a long night, an hour drive just to be with my sister. One must stay in touch with family; it’s the right thing to do. I don't even know what movie we saw. Here she was again in all her glory whining, and whimpering, about her conditions. Confined space is the wrong place to be with someone bi-polar. Sometimes, I think the family should mark her eruptions on a calendar, maybe there’s a pattern? She was hungry; her blood sugar was low; hurry, get her home! 

“Geez Sis, if my life depended on carrying peanuts, I'd make damn sure I had them with me!” I my replied. 

the sleet fell
through the headlight beams:
fog inside

“You bleeping self-centered witch!” Her reply.

And on and on, enumerating all my faults at the top of her lungs. Her face was darting back and forth across the stick shift like a viper. The weather was so bad, and her screaming so loud; I almost drove us up a telephone pole. The back road to her house was serpentine through a pinewood, and over narrow, slick, bridges. Well, about fifteen minutes into my dissection, I burst a gut.

“You need to have some control. Your diet is horrible. I wish you could see yourself eating. Your plate might as well be a trough.” There now I’ve gone and done it, I thought to myself. The little devil in me was all smiles. When we pulled into the driveway; she leapt out.

the car door
slams rattling the glass:
eyes wet as rain glass 

It only felt good for a moment. It was true; she did deserve the comment. She’d felt free to butcher me, but, it was wrong to try to hurt her. The momentary release, which felt so good, has given us months of anguish. 


Published in Dead Snakes Magazine Winter 2014



Details | Haibun Poem | |

Fireflies

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.


dim moonlight peeks through thinning clouds-- fire crackles
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.
rainbow flames 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.

Details | Haibun Poem | |

Kindred Spirits

~(tanka haibun)~


    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.

with defiance
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



.

More great poems below...


Details | Haibun Poem | |

Raindrop Butterflies

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.


dripping icicles bleed beads of liquid light-- fingers intertwine
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

Details | Haibun Poem | |

Inspired by Gaia


Rays of sunlight awaken and skies of sapphire inspire, when mother lies back with eyes veiled, breathing out life and breathing in spirit. She is the fertile earth and boundless sky. She glides through eternity, rising and falling. Her hair, once the color of midnight, now shines silver like beams from the full moon, and the stars encircling her, illuminate creation, igniting dreams and enchanting sleepless nights. As we, who no longer walk barefoot upon the earth, busy ourselves, forgetting to lift our eyes in witness to her majesty and her beauty and her grace. Our hearts still beat in unison with her essence. Beneath the stars, we walk upon the same dusty earth as our ancestors. The sky rumbles all around us with echoes of the past, and in stillness, she feels the knees of the forgotten pressed against her chest giving thanks for her nurturing breath. 


spirits veil her eyes -
drifting through sapphire sky
constellations align
 


*Haibun form inspired by Susan Seddon Boulet’s Gaia 
(for Debbie Guzzi’s Free Verse, Prose, Haibun Contest, 11/1/2014)  


Details | Haibun Poem | |

DELICACY IN PAIN


Her reveries slant the compass of time: 1970s. Minefields now roar through blurred visions. She retreats into dots of space to live in the moment, as emotions fling to a gray sky. While curtains blow unceasingly, hours freeze. Again, love passes; leaves, while a young wife’s heart crushes in tears. 

bouyant clouds wander
in the expanse of night time
to gather shadows

There is delicacy in pain. Letters from Nam change the dark of winter to a glitter of December lights. As she sets the table, the flaming candle waxes through a kitchen filled with sweets and almonds . He is the breath touching musical tones in the quiet rhythm where carols are sung together. Feeling his presence,
she regales in a lone dance of fond remembering.

pines in crimson gold
waltz across the starlight
etching mellow notes

Somehow, a woman begins to droop beside a half-closed window. In the cold of duskfall, she longs
for her soldier husband, quietly. Then wiping her cheeks, she is refreshed by those who need her, now. In a joyful play with daughter and son, Aunt Jamie finds her true north. Such is the luster of more tomorrows, 

moon glimmers, dust fades
a balm of healing renews
fresh discoveries


For scott thirty seven:Haibun Contest
8/7/2015


Details | Haibun Poem | |

The Gravedigger

He never did see a face though only a board width away,
yet remembers feeling privileged, spending those last few moments
while trying so hard to find the softer soil to lessen the impact
upon the brass plated permanent encasement; in this final resting place.

beneath the old oak
neither sun nor moon perceived
a veil of shadow

He’s mindful of the susceptible sensation within when the last 
shovelful that completely covered the coffin tenderly placed,
then the license to use the coarse fill of heavy clay and stoney soil.

to become apart
at one within holy ground
the grass grows each spring

A phenomenal pride when to barrow away the surplus soil,
leaving the mound trim and tidy, a monument for the deceased;
also a monument for him, his very first dig, all with his own hand.

a mark of respect
for three score years and nineteen
entity forgone.

© Harry J Horsman 2015


Details | Haibun Poem | |

Tattered Pages


In the recollections of my journey thus far, the tattered pages of my life flutter
in my mind.  Like snapshots of times and places in black and white and color.
Haunting faces and glimpses of places.  Sad narratives come to mind along with
stories and the history of family. Happiness entwined with sadness is all mine.
I often open the rusty old gate and travel a winding path to a place of weeping.
And I stand trembling with the wind in my hair . . . 

the wind takes my hair
tangled branches creak and groan
whispering my name

And the tattered pages flutter.  I find myself in a church, ornately beautiful.
I am a little girl praying on my knees.  The hum of a thousand candles flicker.
Then I am holding my fathers hand as we stroll a lush green park.  We laugh
as we walk along, just me and my father.  We are going to feed the swans,
oh the beautiful floating white swans of my memory . . . 

crystal clear water
the swans silently drifting
they come to greet us

Like wings whirling the pages move.  I am me just a few weeks ago.  I
hold a single red rose and place it at his headstone.  I trace the words with
my finger.  Baby, son of . . . he never got to see the sky.  I never got to hold
him in my arms. I must turn this page for it is ripping out my heart and soul.
He the family secret not adopted but dead . . . 

and gentle rain falls
on a bright red rose bleeding
clouds darken the sky

___________________________
July 11, 2015


Haibun

For the contest, Haibun, sponsor, scott thiryseven

Third Place 



Details | Haibun Poem | |

Nana's Garden

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.


tiny buds 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.
two robins 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.

Details | Haibun Poem | |

with a kiss

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,
Aki silent,
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,
Joya-no-Kane,
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

Details | Haibun Poem | |

Clue II

The Play Bill for the Godspeed Opera House fell from my sweaty palm to the floor. 9/08/01. I’m still alive; it’s a miracle. Pushing my bifocals back, I frown. I can’t remember anything after arriving at 11pm.? A cell phone rings. I stumble toward the buzz; bend over to look for it, when I’m tackled from the wing. My heel slips on a broken pencil; I’m down.What did you do? You bastard,he bawls; looking toward the old theater house’s stage. He grabs the phone, retrieving the last message— Fred get to the opera house by midnight or you’re both dead.

the curtains part
revealing a pool of blood:
a chord is struck

Seems I’m alive and after midnight too. I had a moment’s relief. My arm’s wrenched to my back. The pain’s hard to ignore. I feel cold metal; he shackles me. There’s a shout from the lobby and the sound of sirens. Lifting me, he shoves me to the wall fixing the cuffs to the door pull. The theater hall is empty except for the two of us. Through an open door, he charges.We’re back here guys. It’s clear.That moment alone was all I had. The SWAT team arrived. Smells like the dead in here Marco’s where the body?“Ask him why don’t yah. Take him out and open some damned windows will ya. Two of the gorillas toss me out on the porch for a closer look under the moth ladden lights. Just when the cop was about to kick me in the head—a woman screams.
 

Details | Haibun Poem | |

School's Out

Trying to recapture the joy of those winter days is difficult. School cancelled: sun shining through the sheer, white, curtains into an all too girlie room, the sound of a tea kettle's whistle,  the ice cold feeling of oak boards on bare feet, between scatter rugs; I ran to the kitchen. The transistor radio sounded, still calling out school closings. The snow sifted down.

bright sun
sparkles on snowflakes –
the plow roars

Quick phone calls, punctuated with giggles, roused a gaggle of neighborhood girls. White skates in hand, I burst out the door. I rushed toward the swampy area behind the neighbor’s house. My rubber boots crunching crust above the powdery fluff. At the edge of the watery wood, I stood staring. Boys, I see the boys in there. They have their skates on already. Tommy Maloney, my crush, skated toward me. 

his black waves
dusted with snow –
whoops of delight

A hummock of snow-topped grass served as a seat. I removed my boots from beneath the zip sides of snow pants and try to tie laces new white skates. Once done I stood wobbling, weak-ankled. Tommy laughs, as knock-kneed I attempt a glide toward him falling on my butt. Oh how his eyes sparkled, an Irish rogue at twelve. Kneeling, Tommy began to re-lace my skates. I remember wishing, so much, he would kiss me.


First Contemporary haibun online Fall 2013
Published in Winter Legends 2014

Details | Haibun Poem | |

Hospital Notes

Food. The word bloats and blinks, neon-glary, in my migraine mind. There are vines of weighty words twining the menu page today, a jungle of tick boxes. The choices maze and faze me -

Breakfast: Porridge/Prunes/Yoghurt
Lunch: Chicken Supreme/Salmon Salad/Stewed Apple
Supper: Soup/Sandwiches/Fruit Compote

canned peach slices float
in a bowl of golden juice -
yellow crescent moons

There are days, days when I won't take my dressing gown off, because to do so means exposing my horrendous fat body, the disgusting mounds of flab. Today is one of those. Everyone is careful to avoid the word 'anorexia'; instead, they say 'eating disorder'. Until one doctor slips up: "You are aware you have anorexia?"

The word falls blackly into a black hole of silence.

I'm on a supplement plan for malnutrition - four Ensure:
Raspberry that tastes like jewel-berries glinting in gardens,
Forest Fruit that tastes like woodland walks in autumn,
Banana that tastes like palm-fringed tropical skies,
Strawberry that tastes like Wimbledon in June.

The cheery Filipino nurse brings me a coffee, acrid as October smoke, and my midday Ensure drink. "The calories go down easier in liquid, yes?" she asks brightly.
"Yes," I agree, but I want to vomit them back up.

fingers down my throat
in the bathroom's polar glare -
the toilet hisses

The daily arguments, pleadings, rantings: "You're making me fucking fat!" "I feel fucking huge!" "I've got to get this weight off!" "You've got to let me go home!"

The daily drill: blood pressure, weight check (standing backwards on the scale so Ana can't shriek), blood test.

the needle pierces
a snowdrift of ice-thin skin -
ruby rosebuds bloom

After supper the usual twitchiness sets in: fingers flicking, feet tapping, knees bouncing. The calories burn beneath my skin; I can't keep still, can't rein the agitation in. I pace up and down the ward corridor, restless as a blown leaf. The day room is deserted, has become a night room with the clock's tick tock: 7 p.m.

white cups on saucers
abandoned silver spoons strewn -
bitter coffee dregs

Walking, walking. Walking the three meal bloat into the feather-float of night...

Back in my room, pillow-propped in my electronic bed, I stare out at scalpel-silver skies; sterile, glassy light as day rolls away like a glass bead.

my water jug glints
in pale strobes of spring moonlight -
the white ward clock ticks




7/18/2015

Details | Haibun Poem | |

Africa

Take a journey through the East African Plains soaring temperatures of 120 degrees and that is in the shade. Intensified sounds of insects humming and buzzing. Going
about their daily life cleaning things up and pollinating plants. Set up camp the
old fashioned way under canvas, only then will you truly experience the spirit of this
dark continent. 
 
flicking ear by bush
gives lion away to his prey
switches tail in disgust

Go on foot with your guide you will see and learn far more this way. When dressing in the morning be sure to shake out your boots in case a scorpion found in it a haven. Admire the wind swept trees their tops completely flat, and smell the deep red earth so pungent and rich in scent. Feel the ground shake as elephants file past on their way to drink. Marvel at the sights of lakes painted pink by  the wading flamingo's, the vast rift valley and magical waterfalls. All this and far more entices the senses and the wonder of the utter freedom offered.

vast herds on you roam 
african land you bewitch
your scent lingers on

Details | Haibun Poem | |

Beautiful Beirut

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

nature orchestrates
hills and sea move in rhythm
heavenly music

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

Details | Haibun Poem | |

FINDING SPLENDOR

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

Details | Haibun Poem | |

In the Storm's Aftermath

our laughter
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)

Details | Haibun Poem | |

Dewberry Cobbler

"Caleb, go fetch me some dewberries from the fence row," Momma says, 
as I polish off my Saturday morning breakfast. "I'll make us a cobbler." 
She stands in her humble kitchen, the light of a country morning dawns
on her face. She's beautiful. I'd be happy to walk a hundred miles to 
fetch her berries, or anything else. She hands me an old milk carton
with the top cut out of it. I burst out the door, running for the fence row
with the dog close behind. "And watch for snakes," she hollers after me.
As I round the edge of the 40 acre soybean field, I take the time to thank
God my dad doesn't have me hoeing weeds out of it.

toes peek out
from the canvass sneakers –
milk mustache

The dewberry vines meander beneath the line of fencing in between
the posts. I poke the undergrowth with my walking stick, trying to shoo
out any snakes! The berries ripen early this year in the Arkansas heat 
wave. The stickers get me good where my big toe pokes out, I wince. 
It’s too late now to go back for boots. The berries are real ripe and juicy,
staining my fingers as I drop them into the jug. “Two for me and one for
Momma,” I laugh and a passing Jay mimics with a caw. 

Momma's call 
carries down the row 
stomach growls


Poets: Caleb Smith & Debbie Guzzi
See About the Poem

Details | Haibun Poem | |

Facebook

the bright monitor
glares through inky darkness--
a clock ticks

My heart lurches painfully in my chest as my mind tries to process what I'm seeing. My mug of coffee sits on the coffee table -- how fitting -- beside my laptop, releasing its unique aroma into the dim room. The scent is usually comforting, yet I don't feel comforted. The liquid usually warms my sleepy body, yet I feel cold. 

Suddenly, life seems utterly ridiculous. I woke up ten minutes ago to the sound of a blaring alarm, and already I'm on my laptop. I haven't even been awake for a quarter of an hour, and I'm already on the internet. To read my e-mails, to skim over online newspapers, to check the daily weather forecast. To connect to an increasingly disconnected world. 

And now, inevitably, I'm on Facebook.

status updates
teem with comma splices--
eyes roll

Yes, it's all ridiculous. Why do I care that a "friend" of mine is having eggs for breakfast? Why do I care that another "friend" is shopping for shoes today and hopes to find a pair to match her new dress? I don't care, yet here I am. And now, as I stare at the third status update, I bite the inside of my cheek so hard I taste blood. With a metallic taste in my mouth, I re-read it once again: "RIP Timothy. You have touched so many lives and will be missed more than you know. See you on the other side."

The news crashes over me like ice water; at first, numbing, and then so painful I can't breathe. Someone I've known since kindergarten is dead. Gone. Forever. And even though he and I were never close, I have more memories of him than I do of some of my closest friends. 

And now he has touched me in a way that most of my friends never will -- he has reminded me of mortality. He has reminded me that death is not an abstract concept reserved for breaking news stories or unrealistic cop shows. 

morning light
leaks through heavy curtains--
a phone vibrates

I barely notice the blinking red light on my Blackberry. I continue to stare at my computer screen, unsure of whether I should be laughing or crying. Facebook has not only become a place for wedding or pregnancy announcements. It's not only a place for photo-shopped pictures of exaggerated happiness. It has become an obituary -- an early-morning slap in the face.  

It saddens me that all I know (or knew) of Timothy is what he chose to include in his Facebook profile. The little boy from my childhood is gone, and now the faceless man I never really knew is gone too.

I close my laptop. I eat breakfast, have a quick shower, get dressed. And then I go to work. Because, really, what else is there to do?

Details | Haibun Poem | |

The warmer months

I always feel like a prisoner in the winter, banished from the outside by the jealous wind. As I get older, I continue to make peace with the cold, but I follow the spring. It is a different door, one covered with vines and stars, and to it I am drawn, as if to a beautiful girl.. no other days compare to her.
  
The flash of a disposable camera, clicked with young fingers, pink-polished nails. A yellow sun dress patterned with orange daisies. The basket on the bike is filled with stuff for lunch, sodas and sandwiches and things. Laughter resounds over the tops of trees as we careen, the children of May, across the sun-spotted road.

The compass points north You know, this is Saturday That means we go east
You yell to me that I run too fast, but all I hear is my heartbeat in my ears. I look back, you run faster. The evening begins to cast a spell in our town; the colors purple and orange appear like watercolor in the sky and we both stop to watch. Vapor trails crisscross above us, they're streaks across the fading day, pieces of the memories we've made.
Heat lightning at night She's reading a magazine Sarah's rare green eyes
To your door we go, but only you proceed. Your father doesn't trust me yet, but I tell you that I'll try harder. Maybe, one day, he'll give me a pat on the shoulder and a smile. It does hurt, I won't deny, to listen to the screen door wheeze shut and hear your bounding footsteps on the stairs. What comforts me is that I know tomorrow brings you around again, walking through a high archway, lovely enough to steal the sun's attention from the flowers.
These suburban dreams The pink and yellow houses Waiting with my thoughts
-For Debbie Guzzi's "Spring Haibun" contest

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Monarch of Summer

I await your coming
for the flowers are blooming and the grass is high…
lilac branches still bare and shivering
in the laggard lion’s breath of March
they await your kiss, Monarch of summer.

purplish buds
sprout from gray lilac branches --
daffodils bloom

Though all the tulips are gone
having served as desert for gophers,
the worm and the grubs stir in the wet spring soil…
and the hyacinths have replaced the crocus’s blue
the paper narcissus now, scent the air.

red breasted robins
hop between hummocks of grass --
bird bathes fill with rain

From the within the green pupa, soon
you will stir ..the membrane will thin, sheer as a curtain
in a spring breeze adorned in polka dots 
and wings like the crinolines of spindle legged 
virgin daughters  at first communion...
you will emerge with lash long antennae ready to fly.

leaves of cone flowers
push through the brown soil of spring --
anthills rise

I await your coming
for the flowers are blooming and the grass is high…
lilac branches still bare and shivering
in the laggard lion’s breath of March
they await your kiss, Monarch of summer
butterflies born.

 
Forms: Free Verse & haiku





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Past reflections and New Beginnings

her brimming eyes.. shreds of a happy picture in the icy lake Each gust of the bone chilling wind, blows in fresh despair. Though seemingly brutal has a new lesson albeit a bit harsh, to teach, a new message to deliver. The lonely lady in a dark trench coat with frozen tears in her sea green eyes, casts her eyes on the bare fanged limbs of skeletal trees around. Through all the bleakness she feels a glimmer of hope shine as a silver lining in this cycle of nature. Pondering over the human tendency to scratch up old wounds to keep them afresh and hold those daggers of the aching past, locking and unlocking them in the recesses of heart, to keep renewing the hurt. The flora around has shed the burdens of yester years, eagerly awaiting the blooms of a fresh spring. Clearly, it is the time to let go. To look forward to the bright horizons of the morrow, to cherish the first sprout of life rejuvenated. Let Go. Hope. one last look.. the frigid waters ripple her past reflections Haibun Yesha Shah

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Clipped Crops and Croquet Mallets

I miss so many things: the old pear tree, which once lived by the walk and the bees inside. The bees almost never stung, but made the most delightful buzz. The smell of the pear blossoms and the fruit as it rotted on the ground. I even miss the colonies of ants, which swarmed. You see, I chopped it down. Well, the bees stung my ex-husband, or, he was scared of the bees, or some such thing. The bees like the cat, knew more about the true core of the man than I did. Once the cat shat on his side of the bed, and pulled the sheet over it. Even then, I didn’t really hear nature’s call. I miss the rose bushes, which I tore out because of the June bugs. “Mustn’t have untidy, ugly, things around me,” fool that I was, and continue to be. I have almost eradicated the wild violets. Soon, even I will be gone. “Who will remember all that sweetness? Oh, the pear crisp with crumbled cinnamon crust on a Fall day, all gone.”

a mown lawn
stretches to the horizon –
a hedge clipper whir

The Rose Queen was a lesser villain than I. She was imaginary and I am real, or so I believe. “If you’d lived with Alice would you have played croquet with a flamingo club?” 


First Published in Contemporary haibun January 2014