Haibun: June 25th

Haibun: June 25th
“It’s been an adventure. We took some casualties over the years. Things got broken. Things got lost. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” Anthony Bourdain – Parts Unknown

Today would have been Tony Bourdain’s 63rd birthday. But he was dead by his own hand, hanging himself in a French bathroom. But today was a day of celebration. declared by his two closest friend – Eric Ripert and Jose Andres. So I am celebrating it in true fashion. I went to Waffle House and had a pecan waffle. This was introduced to him by Charleston chef Sean Brock. I then went to volunteer at the local food bank and soup kitchen where I have been putting in time cooking for several years. Most people do not know Tony volunteered a lot of his time – teaching, cooking, sorting foodstuff. He encouraged the lower echelons of the kitchen – dishwashers and was their most fierce advocate. After which I went home and began preparing our meal for the night – pommes frites in duck fat, steak au poivre, ceasar salad with an appetizer of uni on toast. His favorite meals seemed to be at someone’s home among the residents of the city or among the restaurant workers. So I lift a beer to you Tony. Happy birthday. You left behind many of us who knew you and loved you, although we couldn’t save you.
birthday celebrant –
another year without you –
here but sadly absent


Although this is from Waking Ned Devine, it is one of my favorite songs, sung at my grandfather’s funeral as his casket was taken out of the church.

#Bourdain Day


Haibun Monday: Outside my (hospital) Window

Today it is Haibun Monday and I am giving the prompt for today.  The post accidentally went live Friday – sorry!  Accidents do happen in the real and the poetic world.  I am asking people to write a haibun (one or two tight paragraphs with a seasonal, classic haiku at the end) about a memorable birthday or, a full moon or…both combined!  These last few days shows us a super moon in the sky – the closest the moon has been to earth in 69 years!  Enjoy the moon, enjoy the haibun. Come Join us at dVerse Poets Pub for some splendid reading.

Outside my Hospital Window

I spent my 55th birthday in hospital.  I had been diagnosed with uterine cancer and I had just been operated on to remove the cancer.  Luckily, it was caught in its very early stages and I was one of the few lucky ones who did not die of this form of cancer.  But…I was sick with complications from the anesthesia and deeply depressed.  All I could eat was some pond scum broth, water, and coca cola.  I had thrown up everything but my toenails.  And I had been presented with a birthday cake by my mother, husband, and mother-in-law.  It ended up at the nurses’ station for them and anyone else to eat and enjoy.  November 16 was a grim birthday for me but I was alive.

Outside my hospital window, the sycamore trees were alive and golden, waving their leaves in the breeze.  I could see them from first to last light.  They reminded me I was alive and at this point, I had been pronounced cancer free.  I spent a lot of time in silence in that room, watching those tree leaves, watching birds hopping from branch to branch, gazing at the clear blue sky during the day and the huge full moon at night.  I was sick as a dog but I was alive.  I was alive.  Happy birthday to me…I sang.  Happy happy birthday to me.

golden leaves shimmer
during the day – full moon shines
bright during the night

public domain NASA photo

public domain NASA photo

Haibun: July 3, 1963

Today at dVerse Poets Pub, Matthew Henningsen is our guest prompter. Continuing on the travel theme for prompts this week, Matthew wants us to write about a travel in such a way we want to go there – or not! Join us for the interesting links on this prompt.  This may not be high adventure, but it is is a wonderful trip.  Come and join me!   http://dversepoets.com/2016/03/01/poetics-adventures-in-travelling/

Time Travel: July 3, 1963 6:00 PM
The early summer evening is like a delicious bath fragrant with magnolia, gardenia, and old roses; warm enough to lull into relaxation but not so warm you want to hurry and towel off and stand in front of a window fan. Neighborhood sounds of a mother calling children into supper, piano practice from the house across the street, Mr. Williamson’s car with its putt-putt muffler pulling into their drive. You have been invited for a special supper – Kathy’s 16th birthday. As you step onto the generous wrap-around porch, the front French doors open and an older woman with dark hair and brown eyes flecked with gold and green and her granddaughter, with the same brown eyes, smile and welcome you. “Just go ‘round to the right. We’re having supper on the side porch tonight. Honey, show them around.” The little girl grabs your hand and pulls you behind her. You are the ship coming into harbor and she is your tugboat, pulling you to the proper place. The smells of fried chicken and biscuits lures you eagerly forward. “It’s Aunt Kathy’s birthday and we are having homemade peach ice cream with peach pound cake for dessert. Come on.” Because you are not moving fast enough to suit her.

From the side porch, you can see behind the house – several fruit trees, rose bushes, a large kitchen garden in full green growth. Several cats are hopefully prowling on the porch but quickly disperse at the arrival of you and the skipping tornado. A long table is set with pieces of old mismatched china and down the center, two platters piled with fried chicken, a large bowl of small steamed new potatoes sprinkled with chives, pole beans and ears of corn picked that morning, a gravy boat of rich chicken gravy, colorful cole slaw, and at the last, two small baskets filled with hot biscuits. Another platter holds the first tomatoes of the summer, sliced and carefully placed on the special altar of a pale yellow platter.  Tall glasses of iced sweet tea are beside every place setting. The family comes to sit, the birthday girl at the head of the table and wearing the tiara her mother wore at her coming out party. You smile because she is dressed in Bermuda shorts and a sleeveless cotton blouse. The rest of the family is also wearing shorts and teeshirts or polo shirts. Coolness is important on a July night. On the steps of the side porch sits a freezer of homemade ice cream, resting and getting hard under a pile of ice and covered with a towel.

You don’t want to but you eat one of everything – twice. The conversation includes you and bursts of laughter at family tales frequently ring out. The dishes are cleared and then the peach pound cake is brought out with one sparkler lit and festive in the center of the cake. “Happy birthday dear Kathy…” and all laugh as her eldest sister and mother of the little girl croons out…dear Toad…and it is explained it is the family nickname for Kathy. The father strips away the towel and ice and opens the ice cream freezer. Slices of cake are handed to him as he spoons the pale peach colored ice cream over the cake and hands back. Glasses of milk or cups of coffee accompany the cake and ice cream. This perfect place in time is a beloved destination. No adventure, nothing exotic – but if you decide to stay, there will be croquet and badminton after dessert.

Summer tomatoes
First of the season – croquet
Laughter and fire flies.

free public domain image

free public domain image

Fish scale clouds: iwashigumo 鰯雲 haiku

swim in autumn sky – birth day
almost at an end

copyright kanzen sakura

copyright kanzen sakura

Happy Birthday to Me….and the rest of the 11/16 Society

I love birthdays and I especially like my own. My birthday is my New Year for me, not January 1. It is the beginning of starting a new chapter in the book of my life and for reflecting on the chapter I have just finished writing.

This past year has been full of many troubled times, challenges, and grief but it has also seen times of great joy, deep peace, incredible new friendships (thank you with much love to the Bitten Babes!), beginning again with a new profession and proving that no, I am not beaten and yes, I triumphed.

Last night at dinner at my favorite Chinese restaurant with some friends and my husband, one told me, I am so proud of all you have done this year and how you used a great injustice to move forward and grow. Wow.

So….happy birthday to me! Happy happy happy birthday. And thank you to all of you who continue to fill my life with your thoughts, travels, experiences, poems, photographs, friendship – all of you whose blogs I follow. You help me expand my universe but most important, expand my heart.

the group of us, those whom I term the 11/16 Society, I wish you all happy birthday and year filled with joy, health, and growth. I love you all. The 11/16 Society lost two of our unique band, Jeff and Jamie but….a year ago today, one of the 11/16 Society became grandfather to Jackson. So!!! Happy birthday my Band of Brothers:
Beni, Billy, Itoshi, Jackson, Mashashi, Takahashi-san, Thomas, Will, William and as noted on M-R Blog, Luke. M-R posted a Happy Birthday Greeting to Luke and I.    She is a fine lady from Oz and she keeps us all in line and honest and…wishes us happy birthday! Go visit her and go wish Luke happy birthday. Tell him Kanzen sent you by way of M-R.      http://margaretrosestringer.com/    I am link challenged but M-R is gifted – she has a link to mine and Luke’s blogs on her website…. Thank you M-R for the cake you baked as well.  I am so glad I got the pretty one and not the chocolate one.

And rest sweetly, Jamie and Jeff.  Your lifesongs have ended but the melody is still there in our hearts.   The 11/16 Society:  My friends, brothers, and maker of many of my smiles.  And a Happy Birthday wave on my 7th birthday, in the snow, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Kanzen's 7th Birthday   copyright Kanzensakura

Kanzen’s 7th Birthday copyright Kanzensakura


%d bloggers like this: