Haibun: Travel Food

For my prompt at Real Toads – Picnic.

 

Travel Food
“The journey is part of the experience — an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent. One doesn’t take the A train to Mecca.” Anthony Bourdain

When I was a kid, I remember our trips up north to see our cousins in Montclair New Jersey. We always started out before the sun rose, in the cool dark of a summer’s day. My grandmother would have packed for us ham and sausage biscuits, fried chicken, and cole slaw. After a couple of hours of driving, we’d be ready to pull into a rest stop. The biscuits would be unpacked along with a thermos of coffee and several pint jars of iced water. Later in the day, we would stop at another rest stop and eat lunch. I remember those days of sitting around a cement table and benches, the family digging into cold fried chicken. There would always be a treat of a coke. I can still taste that friend chicken. Under the trees with people walking past, walking their dogs, other kids playing around. It would always consist of my mother and father, grandmother, and my mother’s two younger sisters – my aunts. It was always more casual and lighter than eating formally at the table in the dining room. Sliced tomatoes from the garden would be in their own container, exuding juice. I liked to dip the piece of chicken into the juice. I still do. At last we would arrive in Montclair, journey’s end.
riding up the highway
stopping along the way for lunch –
cold fried chicken is nectar

Haibun: Beans and Bricks

A haibun for my prompt at Wednesday Muse.  Also posted at dVerse Poets Pub OLN. This is not in the style of anyone.  It is a haibun, plain and simple.

Beans and Bricks
“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” Khalil Gibran

This summer, I am taking a hiatus from my cooking at the local food bank/soup kitchen. Instead I am volunteering with a local group that plants gardens on vacant lots in the inner city, nestled among food deserts. We spent a few Saturdays ago clearing off one of those lots of bricks, beer cans, broken glass, cigarette butts. Then we broke up the land and hoed it, preparing it for planting. Last Saturday we planted plants and seeds along with a few flowers. We erected a sign, “Community Garden” every day, some of us are there hoeing, weeding cajoling the hard city ground. We have attracted attention of children, older adults, and young people – all of them looking forward to the fresh veggies we will be harvesting throughout the season. I and another person will be teaching people how to make good food from the veggies – food to eke out their carbohydrates and canned veggies. I gave up my garden this year for this project. I count it time well spent.
seeds and plants grow –
tomatoes corn potatoes –
feeding families one at a time.

Haibun: Gifts

a haibun is a Japanese form based on prose and poetry. It is a true accounting of an event in your life. This one is brief in the manner of Basho, the “inventor” of haibun. It is closed with a seasonal haiku. This haibun is less than 100 words.  Haibun are not fiction.

Haibun: Gifts

“Breath is the finest gift of nature. Be grateful for this wonderful gift.” Amit Ray

Years ago, my mother gave me the gift of life – she gave birth to me. All through my life, she gifted me with self-discipline, toys, love, hugs, appreciation of me – she taught me to be grateful for all gifts and when possible, to share gifts with others. Every day she gave me gifts – even when she was lying non-verbal in a bed, dying slowly with Alzheimer’s. One day she died. She gave me the gift of grief and pain. On a beautiful day in June, she ceased to breathe.
June sunshine –
flowers blooming outside –
my mother dying inside

my mother on her deck

 

Haibun: Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?

A haibun for day 26 of NAPIWRIMO. A haibun is a Japanese poery form that is prosimetic – part autobiographical (non-fiction, tight paragraph, ended with a seasonal haiku). The western style is long with much description; the Japanese is brief and to the point.

Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?
“Do I dare
Disturb the universe?…
Do I dare to eat a peach?” T. S. Eliot Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

It was hot July. I was midpoint to age 13. I had earlier raided the kitchen for a couple of peaches for breakfast and sat down in the library to read. So immersed, I didn’t hear the calls to breakfast by my grandmother. I had just read the line about the peach. You know the one. My grandmother pops her head in and says it is time for breakfast. I looked up and said “I have had my mind totally blown”. She sniffed. “It is still your day to wash the breakfast dishes”.
hot July morning –
eating a peach
will never be the same

Haibun: Bees

Haibun: Bees
“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee, And revery. The revery alone will do, If bees are few.” Emily Dickinson

I began keeping bees last year. I wanted to be sure because it is quite a commitment. I have one hive but it is a busy one! A typical hive takes visiting about two million flowers a season to produce one pound of honey. I often sit on my back steps watching them going back and forth, in and out of flowers. I keep clover blooming from late winter to late autumn. It is a labor of love with me. Listening to their somnolent hum, their burying themselves in flowers and coming out covered with pollen. Interestingly, they do not destroy their source of pollen as humans destroy their source of anything in the natural world. And I must confess, I am allergic to bee stings!
bee staggers drunk –
sipped sweetness day long
and slept well all night

Haibun: The Balloon

For Merrill’s prompt at dVerse – a quadrille.  A quadrille is a poem in any form with exactly 44 words using the prompted word, sans title.  The word today is “rise”.  A haibun in the manner of Basho.

 

Haibun: The Balloon
“Perhaps wisdom… is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.” Anthony Bourdain

The day I buried my mother’s ashes was a hot summer day. I untied the balloon from my wrist and let it go. I watched it rise quickly to the sky.
balloon rises to heaven
and clears the trees –
my heart goes with it

Haibun: Summer Tomatoes

A haibun of exactly 75 words in the manner of Basho for my prompt at Real Toads, Day 15 of NAPOWRIMO. A haibun is a Japanese poetic form consisting of a true autobiographical part and ended with a seasonal haiku.

 

Haibun: Summer Tomatoes
“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” Lewis Grizzard

It was the middle of July; mama had died mid-June. She is the one who taught me all of my gardening and canning skills. The tomatoes hung thick from the vines. To encourage more blooms, I buried the fertilizer spike.
soft like my mama’s cheek
I held the tomato to my face –
watered it with my tears

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