Haibun: Man Poses

A few months ago, I did a prompt for dVerse called, What are your plans? In it I wanted poets to write about their plans for their lives, their poetry, their loves…This is what I wrote for that post with a few additionsI wrote this after an ugly contretemps with one of the so-called “poets” at another prompt website. I decided life was too sort to be polite and civil to those who do not reciprocate in kind. In short, I was ready to be a civilian again after being a staff member who had to be “polite”, even to assholes. i stepped down and I feel much freer. This is posted on Real Toads in response to Bjorn’s prompt to write a mainfesto to 2018.  So, Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all have a year filled with joy and poetry.

Man Poses
My mother died in June of this year. It was a long, hard death for her. And watching her die broke my heart. But…she wanted me to continue on with my education (I have three degrees but hey, I never cared for odd numbers!) and to continue writing my poetry. She wanted me to continue to grow and to shake up the world.

In honor of my mother, I am going to do just that. I am going back to Duke University to get another degree (MA as opposed to my original MS), I am going to be writing, continuing to critique poetry and to be criiqued, I am not going to take myself too seriously but at the same time, I am not going to be flippant and “cute” about sujects, I am going to get my chef recertification (I was originally certified in 1986), and I am going to be howling down the roads on my 916. I am planning on publishing a book of haibun and I am going to be visiting other poetry sites and not just those that are safe and polite. I will not be carrying as baggage sycophants who worship everything I write, even though most of it is crap; I will however be making new friends who are honest about my poetry. I am honoring my mother who was *onnabugeisha” long before I was.  I am honoring myself. I am honoring my poetry.

autumn turns to winter –
winter turns to spring – horizons
open before me

*Japanese for woman warrior or samurai

28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. angie reinspired
    Dec 30, 2017 @ 21:56:28

    Ha. My husband and I were just talking about getting only good “feedback” on our writing… somehow, no one cares enough to “send the very best” (constructive criticism) 😉


    • kanzensakura
      Dec 30, 2017 @ 21:59:24

      I actually have had several good people to send constructive criticism my way and it was most appreciated. I would not mind if you did constructive criticism of my poetry. We are all so polite nowadays. I like courtesy but that also extends to truth , I think.


    • coalblack
      Dec 31, 2017 @ 09:36:25

      Pfffft. If i say it I mean it. I’ve ruffled more than a few feathers by calling BS on bad writing. I won’t do it to someone who can’t do any better….but laziness makes me crosseyed.


      • kanzensakura
        Dec 31, 2017 @ 09:52:59

        Yeppers. Laziness makes me crosseyed as well. I have gotten lazy myself and frankly I am not going to stand for it. I am so over lazy and just plain bad. I am putting me on notice.

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  2. Sherry Marr
    Dec 30, 2017 @ 22:07:25

    Toni, i am so sorry about your mother. It is heartbreaking to watch them die, especially when their deaths are hard, as my mother’s was too. I am excited by your vision for the new year. Way to go!


  3. Victoria C. Slotto
    Dec 30, 2017 @ 22:31:05

    Courageous,you are.


  4. Sumana Roy
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 02:13:25

    Good new year resolutions. Wishing you a Happy New Year.


  5. sarahsouthwest
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 02:55:58

    Toni, it looks like you’ve been through one of those periods that free us up to look at our lives afresh, and give us the strength to change what we don’t like. Sometimes the triggers are painful, but what emerges can be amazing. I have an image of you riding a two wheeled stallion with your hair whipping behind you. I salute your warrior spirit!

    I find critiquing poetry hard. I’m not qualified to do that! I haven’t studied literature since I was 16, and that is over 30 years ago. I would like to grow and improve as a poet, so maybe that means growing and improving as a critic. Or analyst, maybe, is a better word. That probably means venturing out of the comfortable spaces. Let us know what you find! Or maybe set something up! I think there’s a demand out there.

    This has turned into a very long comment. I hope you walk through 2018 with your head held high, and find strength and beauty and adventure there.


    • kanzensakura
      Dec 31, 2017 @ 16:30:49

      I’m not much on critiquing either but am slowly learning. the first learn is to be courteous and never tell anyone if a poem is good or bad – it just is. I am learning the process from an excellent poet. His first critique taught me so much – about me! I know we all have opinions about poetry – what we like, what we don’t like, maybe how a sentence would better read, a word repeated too often (not intention repetition). If I don’t like a poem, often, I read it and skip the comment. Cowardly on my part. There are several poets out there I refuse to read because of their arrogance or plain stupidity or just plain….bad. I’ve learned because a poet is “new” or uses different techniques or always makes someone laugh doesn’t mean they are good. We are all entitled to our opnions and face it, everyone has at least too – like nostrils and ear openings! Happy New Year to you. I hope your new year is filled with joy and peace.


  6. erbiage
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 04:19:48

    Bravo Toni, I’m looking forward to reading your words, as you come into your true power. This is such a good move for you. You are right where you need to be. You know I too am interested in improving my writing as well. Let me know how I can help.


  7. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 04:40:49

    I think that giving critique is easy if you just follow a few simple rules…
    1. Avoid to say it’s good or bad, but how the text make you feel.
    2. Answer back with the same care as you would do in writing your own text.
    3. Remember that many of the poets writing have their own issues that you might not know about. I do not think it’s about having a thin skin, but we all have tender spots we might not wish to expose.

    Thank you for the time you spent as a bartender and good look going forward.


    • kanzensakura
      Dec 31, 2017 @ 08:30:57

      I totally agree with you in all points Bjorn. I will not critique all writers because frankly, most of us only want validation, not truth. We want the polite mouthings, the praise that says…oh you are so wonderful, your poetry is so great….not the : show us, not tell us, this gets a bit lengthy, you need to go into more detail in this bit, this falls a bit flat, this is flippant…I have found someone who does that with me. I appreciate their honesty. And the person getting the critique has to put ego aside. It takes courage to do that. I enjoyed pubtending at dVerse. 99% of the time was pure pleasure. Some excellent poets over there. But some spoiled brats as well. They found a place where the gloves are on and they get their ego fix. I will never tear another poet apart. That isn’t my way. I will akways find a good point in their writing. But some people, I refuse to read because of their ego and propensity for wanting to be worshipped so they can preen themselves. You don’t do that with your writing and most of the folks who post don’t do that. But oh ones who do! I have found most writers truly have much to say, about change, the state of the world, about cruelty, about fear. I respect these folks. You can see the influence of writers who influenced them. These are the writers I enjoy because they also forge their own path. They don’t just meander along the broken paths being cute and clever and flippant. I’ve done a huge comment here. But all this is to say I respect you as a person and a writer. You forge your own path with kindness and truth. Thank you.


  8. kim881
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 07:22:17

    Go Toni! I will be here if you need me xxx


    • kanzensakura
      Dec 31, 2017 @ 08:37:00

      Thank you Kim. Same here. If you read my replybto Bjorn, you will find what I am truly about. Your poetry is always wonderful! I truly respect you as a person and poet. I’d like to think I could grow up to write as well as you.


  9. coalblack
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 09:38:01

    Oh fuck yeah. This is full of power and clear-eyed honesty. I love it.


    • kanzensakura
      Dec 31, 2017 @ 14:01:50

      Thank you. I probably ruffled a few feathers with this as well. But as my precious mother said as she was lying in bed suffering, I’m tired of being nice. Well Shay, I’m tired of being nice. I’m not going to be vicious mind you, but….i’m tired of being nice.


  10. Charmed Chaos
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 13:32:44

    THIS- YES! My sympathies on the loss of your mom. 6 years and counting since I laid eyes on my mom’s sweet face. You just learn to live through it. I wish I could tell you it gets easier but it doesn’t.


    • kanzensakura
      Dec 31, 2017 @ 13:57:05

      Thank you on both counts. I watched my mother mourn the loss of both her parents. No it doesn’t get any easier. I am sorry for the loss of your mother as well. Our mothers do have sweet faces, don’t they? I often said my mother had sweet pansy eyes. My best wishes to you in the new year. May it be filled with joy and peace.

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  11. purplepeninportland
    Dec 31, 2017 @ 20:22:09

    Happy Constructive, Be Yourself New Year!


  12. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    Jan 01, 2018 @ 22:03:39

    Bravo! (And you don’t write crap. At least, not the stuff you let us see.)


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