Haibun: Housing Insecurity

Here in Richmond, as in most cities, there are lines of cheap motels that become nominal homes to the almost homeless. At the foodbank where I volunteer time, the people with their children come in for their daily meal. They are always polite, the children often shy or charming. You learn a lot working among the poor. A quadrille from De today using the word box or forms of box at dVerse Poets Pub.  Will also be sharing at Real Toads Tuesday Platform. A quadrille is a form unique to dVerse with exactly 44 words excluding the title and using the prompted word.  Also today at Poets United, Sherry has an excellent feature about the grieving orca. I have a poem or two in it:  http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2018/08/poems-of-week-whale-heard-around-world.html

Housing Insecurity
She and her brother from another father sleep in boxes on top of the dresser in the hotel room shared with her mother and four siblings. Roaches run over them at night.
hot summer days
they play behind the hotel –
toys from dumpsters

photo from the Richmond Times Dispatch

Hiroshima Day

A haibun for Frank’s prompt at dverse for Hiroshima Day.  Will also be posting on Real Toads Tuesday Platform.

On July 8, 1853, American Commodore Matthew Perry led his four ships into the harbor at Tokyo Bay, seeking to re-establish for the first time in over 200 years regular trade and discourse between Japan and the western world. Ironically, on August 6, amost 100 years later, America dropped the first of two atomic bombs on Hiroshima. People were going about their normal activities that day. Women were shopping for food to prepare for dinner that night. Children were playing and men were going about their business preparing to continue facing off against the Americans. They went about with living not knowing death was in the skies.

Suddenly the sky turned white and within a few seconds Hiroshima was almost obliterated from the face of the earth. The death toll was approximately 90,000 – 120,000 men, women, and children. Some walked after the blast until they collapsed and died. Others died of burns and being crushed by falling buildings. Skeletons could be seen in the debris. Still later, people died from bone marrow disease from the extreme radiation. A few skeletal structures remained standing, notably the white gate Shinto. “Photos” of people etched into stone by the blast- their bodies obliterated but replaced by the radiation remained. We bear a guilt so deep time will never leach it from our bones as the bomb turned people and buildings, plants, and animals into dust.

children jumping rope
on hot August day – becoming
shadows forever

shadow images of children remain when the A Bomb hit Hiroshima

Haibun: Ghost Cat

The cat in the picture is my boy Sam Cat the Ripper.  I had to have him euthanized last October due to a huge tumor growing on his heart.  He lived a happy life.  This was his favorite place to lie in the yard.  A quadrille is a form unique to dVerse.  It has exactly 44 words, excluding the title, and use the prompted word which today is puzzle.

Ghost Cat
Deep pink petals  fall on the wet green grass forming an ideogram. The crepe myrtle blooms are drifting to the ground. A ghost cat lives there waiting forever, switching his tail.

life is a puzzle –
a clam to pry open –
symbols mean nothing

Haibun – Kitchen

Today Lillian is giving th prompt for dVerse Poets Pub. She is asking us to write about the first room we remember. She has given us many details on correctly writing a haibun and a haiku. Thank you Lillian. the first room I remember is our kitchen in our old home place. It has traveled with me around the world, in restaurants where I cooked professionally, in homes I have lived. This will be posted on dVerse Poets Pub and on Real Toads, Tuesday Platform

Haibun: Kitchen
“For me, the cooking life has been a long love affair, with moments both sublime and ridiculous. But like a love affair, looking back you remember the happy times best —the things that drew you in, attracted you in the first place, the things that kept you coming back for more.” Anthony Bourdain

Our house was old. It was built by my grandfather’s great grandfather. There were three stories and a basement and root cellar. There was a system of dumb waiters going from the kitchen up to the second floor, a butler’s pantry, water closets that were still in use when the house was sold in 2000. Ceiling fans had been installed in 1900 – the kind with the long chains that went down to the floor and the chain slowly travelled up to the ceiling. There were also wrap around porches with ceiling fans on those as well. But my favorite room in the whole house was the kitchen. There were two kitchens actually. The original that was out back under a walkway and the inside kitchen. The inside kitchen was the stuff of dreams with high ceilings, cabinets galore, long floor to ceiling windows, the butler’s pantry (not that we ever had one since the depression), two real ice boxes, a wood stove, an eight eye gas stove, and three ovens. There was a long table at which we all ate and a plain white pine table on which bread was made – biscuits, yeast breads, popovers, donuts – all of them rolled out on the table and formed or cut out. This table was where the veggies were prepared, cakes were mixed, meat prepared for roasting or frying.

I remember standing in a chair watching my grandmother or father and later my two aunts, preparing the food. Then I began to cook for the family when I could. I was the one sent down to the root cellar to bring up potatoes or onions, turnips, or jars of canned veggies, pickles, or preserves. The attached outside kitchen was where we did the food preparation for food preservation. My grandfather crafted a long iron ladder like affair where pots and pans hung. It was my first ideal of a kitchen and remains such today. My professional kitchens were always arranged according to the plan in the old house and my kitchen at home mimics the same plan. There was a huge zinc sink big enough to bathe a pig in plus the regular sink with built-in drain. So many meals in that kitchen! Fresh garden produce grown in our garden was a summer staple. We often ate meatless meals before it became popular. I will safely bet a ton of greens were prepared there thought the years, Hams hung in the cold pantry along with ropes of sausage, baskets of eggs, bins of flour, cornmeal, rice stood about. I miss that kitchen. That kitchen was where I learned to love food, where my love affair with food began.
gentle snow falls –
inside the smell of soup lures –
love and joy abounds

Growing season

For Margaret’s prompt, Artistic Impressions featuring the work of Tori Fisher.

A John Tully & Tori Fisher Collaboration

spring growing season –
beets and carrots –
large lush delicious


It doesn’t matter

For Kerry’s prompt at Real Toads. We are to write a micro poem in any form, 1 – 12 lines with the line “It doesn’t matter” from a poem by Rumi to be used in the poem. I have written a jisei – a Japanese death poem.  These were written before an anticipated death in battle or by suicide, of course they are sad; these people are getting ready to leave behind all they hold dear.  The Japanese have a saying:  Kyō wa shinu no ni yoi hidesu, just as the First People have.  They are untitled but today I am giving this a title. I have included a haiku at the end.  This is also being posted on Poets United Poetry Pantry.

It doesn’t matter
bitter winter winds –
in the garden the sleeping
cherry blossoms wait
for spring sun to awaken –
it doesn’t matter if I do not awaken

longest day ends –
it doesn’t matter says the moon –
rain begins to weep

New Moon

I have done a Bussokusekika, a Japanese poetic form that follows the rules of tanka, except there are three seven syllable lines that end the poem for a 5-7-5-7-7-7. Bussokusekika is an ancient form of poetry, older than Tanka or haiku. It translates to footprints of Buddha.

New Moon
crescent thin against
the black night – overpowered
by the stars she sings
a faint song of undappled
water and hunting owls – she
is lonely in the darkness

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