Haibun: Farewell Major Tom

A second haibun for the prompt at dVerse Poets Pub.  http://dversepoets.com/2016/01/11/haibun-monday-5/

 

And now, except for video, movie, recordings, his voice is silent. Often called a chameleon, often wondered about – copied but the copies resulted in pale fuzzy multi-generation images. The Thin White Duke in the end was simply another man, another father who faced death and moved through the door, alone, as we all do. No matter who is beside us, the door only admits one when it is time.

In the harsh storms of snow, black and white realities, criticism, innuendo – straight, defiant, and full of brave color, the man who fell to earth stands. I am awed to have witnessed such talent. Like all rare blooms, the petals will fall and paint the white snow with bits of red.

Defiant in the storm
rose glows among the mundane –
and too quickly fades.

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

Imprisoned Free Verse

Today (Thursday) Bjorn is hosting the dVerse Meeting the Bar with a secret guest. He wants us to use free writing to create free verse. The theme is looking back through our past decade and pick any theme we have used. The directions are:
1) select a few keywords (2) set timer for 9 minutes and write whatever come to mind (3) use this to create our own free verse. Bjorn included a picture of his draft which reminded him of being in university and studying physics. This was a hard exercise for me as I never write anything down. I get an idea and then form the poem/haiku/tanka in my head. Having to write down first really tied me up! Come visit at dVerse to see the other poems linked to this prompt. I have a feeling there are going to be some really interesting poems/drafts linked. My draft is at the end of the poem. One look and you will see why I rarely write anything down!  Also linking this to Poets United, Poetry Pantry  http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2015/12/poetry-pantry-283.html

moritsuke Public Domain photo

moritsuke Public Domain photo

Imprisoned Free Verse
my “free verse” is often a contradiction in terms
as my verse is never free – in the sense of
free association – poems are always formed
in my mind first –
words are precisely arranged
to entice the brain and
capture the heart.
like moritsuke –
the Japanese art of food arranging.
every item is placed to best advantage
to show and balance color, form –
like a painting or flowers.
on the paper, the soul of my poem,
the heart of my poem
becomes a captive held prisoner
squiggled words in a prison of paper and ink
with a guard named Frustration.
The smell of the first snow or the drift
of a red maple leaf to the ground
can only be written in the mind and felt
by the heart. Ink and paper
are for grocery lists or
a scribbled recipe for a friend.
In my mind, poems about the first snow
or love or stars or trees
are a a sheathed sword.
When brought out into the light
they shine with a life of their own.
And sometimes, they stay in my mind
until my heart can bear to let them go.

copyright kanzensakura poem draft

copyright kanzensakura
poem draft

A Long Time Ago in a Walmart Far, Far, away…

Today on dVerse Poetics, Grace has introduced us to Canadian Poet David McFadden. He is the “darling of the avant-garde” and yet, is readable and at home with supernatural events, meaning, he finds something extraordinary in every day ordinary events – like psychic bus stops. Grace wants us to write about things outside the ordinary of our daily life but still part of our ordinary life – like waiting for a bus. I hope you all will come visit us and read about this incredible and unstuffy, unpretentious poet (see, we DO exist!). Below is my submission which personally, I think is kind of fun and really really happened just last week…http://dversepoets.com/2015/12/01/poetics-secrets-of-the-universe/

free public domain image

free public domain image

 

A Long Time Ago in a Walmart Far, Far, away…
Christmas was coming.
My husband said, I want an Amazon gift card
And a light saber. He gave me both last year.
Technology has come far.   For the paltry sum of $34.99 he gave me
the Luke Skywalker light saber sold at Walmart.
When turned on the saber turned a bright blue and
Went – whoosh – from the bottom to the top and
made the wonderful whumming sound and when banged against
something went crackclang just like in the movies.
When cut off, the blue whooshed down to the bottom
– Just like the REAL light sabers.
However, I was not able to slice through objects
or persons…bah.

Christmas was coming.
I fortified myself for going into the shopping universe
by playing Halo for a bit, and doing a load of laundry,
And loading the dishwasher…

At THE toy aisle of the Death Star
I found what I wanted.
I heard it a few aisles before I arrived.
The telltale whoosh, whummmmm, clang, whooshwhoosh….

Thin, blonde…10 years old swinging the light saber as if his life depended on it.
Closer, I grabbed it with my hand stopping him in mid-swing.
…It is good Padawan I have my life shimmer activated or you
Would have cut off my fingers.
He looked me almost in the eye and blinked – slowly.
…I asked him how long had he been training?
This time he grinned.
I took a another saber from the shelf, turned it on
And going into “the stance” told him most solemnly
how to better hold it, and gave a slow swing and graceful pivot.
With huge eyes, he imitated.
A few more swings and he chirps,  Jedi Knight, will you show me more?
And I did.
His harried mother came up and stopped – her son being taught a fighting form
by a too short woman with long white braid.
She watched as the woman swung the saber over her head
and then gently disarmed the young boy and bowed to him.
He saw his mother and became awkward.
…Young Padawan, you have the making of a most
Audacious and dangerous Jedi.
Practice hard and listen to your parents
And study hard. The Rebel forces need such as you
when you have completed your training.

We bowed to each other and he scampered off
babbling at a thousand parsecs per second.
I took the light saber he had carefully placed back on the shelf.
I had found the perfect one for my husband.
I would let him know he had much work to do to catch up
to the young Padawan.

Smell of Home – haibun

free stock illustration

 

“He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares, long, long, forgotten.” Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Christmas baking fills
the house with smells of love – stars
look down and make a wish.

Somehow, the tasteful artificial wreath decorated with shiny red and gold balls irked me. My mother-in-law had bought it at an outlet in Williamsburg to replace the small pine swag on our front door. The bright red bow tying it together was a little crooked. She disapproved of that as well. She missed her husband who had died shortly before Christmas of last year. I sympathized but as soon as she left, I fished out my pine swag from the trash and replaced the tasteful one, perfectly hung, on our front door with my clumsy one. We never used artificial things for Christmas when I was growing up. Until I moved to Philadelphia, every year, my father and I went into the woods and searched out the perfect tree and cut swags of pine, cedar, spruce. We knew where the holly with the thickest amount of red berries lived and had spotted the oaks with mistletoe in several oaks the week before. We both had our rifles slung on our backs. It was a contest as to who could shoot down the biggest bunch of mistletoe. We took turns letting the other win. And then to home. My grandmother and aunts had punched oranges full of holes and inserted whole cloves tying red ribbons around each. My mother put the swags of greens together for garlands, wreaths and swags which we hung inside and outside the house. The oranges were hung on the green decorations and the house smelled of the greenery, oranges, and spice.

We each baked our specialty– spicy hermit cookies, snickerdoodles, pecan snowballs, sweet potato pies, Kentucky bourbon cakes, fudge – for a week the house smelled of spices, sugar, bourbon, and fruit. I won the family award for best sweet potato pie – it’s a secret recipe – wink. One year, my teenaged middle aunt wanted Shalimar for Christmas. Somehow, the box with the exotically shaped bottle broke and Shalimar whispered its sweet tale to us all until the New Year. She used some of her Christmas gift money to buy it herself.

Ever since my father, grandfather, and grandmother died, it has not been the same. Walking through years of artificial trees, plastic baubles, white tree lights, and pine scented candles, the year I had been hospitalized for surgery and treatment for cancer I decided enough was enough. I pulled out the ancient fragile blown glass balls, the strings of brightly colored lights, My First Christmas ornament. A friend came and decorated the live tree she had picked out for me because I had asked her and I lay upon the couch for frequent rests. She helped me bake the sweet potato pies and Bourbon cake. That day, for the first time in years, my house smelled of the Christmases I remembered with tears and love. My husband laughed when he came home from work, the last day before the office closed for Christmas.

I sat on the couch that night with only the tree lights glowing. The ghosts of Christmas past were there – my father opening his joke box of chocolate covered cherries, my grandmother laughing as she clapped her hands in joy when someone opened the gift she had given them, my mother and aunts making jokes and then singing together carols –  they are alive but absent but still they came to join in. All the cats and dogs that had loved us lay about sleepy and content, filled with turkey bits sneakingly given to them, as I lay there and remembered, tears slipping down my cheeks. After that Christmas eight years ago, Christmas is happy and not a bit tasteful and perfect. My husband smiles a lot and takes in deep breaths and raids the cookie jar.  In a couple of weeks my home will be filled with those perfumed memories and gentle spirits.  The tasteful wreath has gone to a nearby church that is providing decorations to people who are in need of them. And while the elements of Christmas are here, oh how I miss those people I love. Of all the things so dear, my beloved family I miss the most.

fresh green cedar wreath
hung with oranges – sweet smelling
past whispers in dreams 

orange wreath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday at d’Verse Poets Pub, at the beginning of this holiday season, Mary is prompting us to write about what we miss during this time.  Come and visit and share.  What do you miss?  http://dversepoets.com/2015/11/17/poetics-who-what-do-you-miss/

 

River of Heaven

Posted for Mid-Week Motif at Poet’s United – Midweek Motif, prompt:  River.  Excellent prompts are gifted each week here.  http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2015/11/poets-united-midweek-motif-river.html  Also posted for d’Verse Poets Open Link Night.  Open Link Night is where we get to post a new poem in any style/form/subject we choose.  Always an interesting array of poems submitted.  Come and check out both websites for excellent reading and hopefully, to submit one of your own poems!  Both are friendly and supportive communities – no snobs!!!!  Huge grin.  Try it, you might like it.  I am submitting a haiku this week.  The word amanogawa is the Japanese word for the Milky Way and means:  river of heaven or, celestial river.  It is one of the  seasonal words for autumn.  Traditional Haiku reflect the changing seasons and have kigo – seasonal word in the first line reflecting the when of the haiku.  This explanation is longer than the poem!!!

amanogawa
shines in the darkness – light flows
around star islands.

free public domain image

free public domain image

 

Autumn is Fall(ing) to Sleep

We have a guest pubtender, De Jackson, at d’Verse today who is prompting us to write with the enjambment poetic device. Please come visit and read all the varied submissions for this interesting device.  http://dversepoets.com/2015/11/05/lets-get-jambin/

Autumn is Fall(ing) to Sleep
Autumn is fall(ing) to sleep and
the creek at the foot of the hill is not
the gurgling child it was. Slower now
and grey around the edges. Stones left
behind from summer flooding dusty
and sad at being left behind. The frogs
have vanished and dragonflies
with-drawn to their secret blue cave in
the sky. Autumn is fall(ing) to sleep
withered sere leaves drift aimlessly
in the occasional breeze. (Hum)ming birds
have flown farther south to the land of eternal
jewels – treasures of another age –
placed carefully
in a museum of warmth and sun.
One night soon the stars will freeze in
the blackness of winter. Frosted morning grass
will crunch under my feet as I won(wan)der
shoulders hunched hands in my pockets
knowing going on without you is like
trying to thread a needle with one hand
with frozen fingers. Autumn is fall(ing) to sleep.

withered leaf

Pining For Home: kokyo o shitau

At dVerse  today (Tuesday) we have a guest blogger who is inspiring us to write about travel and gave several different words, such as resfeber that means “travel fever”.  I am going with a different take on travel with the both the German word heimweh – homesickness and the Japanese kokyo o shitau – similar meaning: pine for home.  Before I married, I was a prolific world and North American traveler.  Years later, those travels have ended here, at home.  Mr. Linky and Pub opens at 3:00 EST.  Come read the poems about other lands, cities, excitement, homecoming.  http://dversepoets.com/2015/11/03/poetics-tangled-in-travelers-heart/

故郷を慕う kokyō o shitau
“Leaving home in a sense involves a kind of second birth in which we give birth to ourselves.”
—Robert Neelly Bellah, sociologist

Close the door – always
Another hill to climb or road
That leads to a new
Sunrise – a city to roam –
New food new smells new bodies –
The road always leads back home

A backward glance at
A house that looks like home used
To look – fried chicken
Smell in the air – crows calling –
A small girl in a plaid dress –
The road always leads back home.

NOLA, London, Rome
Beach at Malibu, Venice
Philly, New York – pearls
From Japan soap from Harrods
turquoise from Albuquerque
The road always leads back home.

Go east or go west
Home is best – dew on roses
In the backyard – a
Creek close by where sylvan friends
play – birds at the feeders, cat
On the porch – back home at last.

The road always leads back home
where we find ourselves waiting.

'Houses near Orleans', oil painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille

‘Houses near Orleans’, oil painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille

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Blue and gold Sunday – haibun

public domain - View of the Church of Saint Paul and Asylum

public domain – View of the Church of Saint Paul and Asylum at Remy – Van Gogh

I am writing a haibun and being untraditional by ending the prose portion with a senryu rather than haiku. This haibun is in response to a painting by Van Gogh which Bjorn, hosting our Haibun Monday at d’Verse Poets, asked us to use as our prompt for our haibun – .http://dversepoets.com/2015/11/02/haibun-monday-3/  I am also posting on Poets United for their Poetry Pantry http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2015/11/poetry-pantry-275.html  (Sunday) Come and visit me at both locations and read outstanding poetry by outstanding poets!  Those of you who write prose and have not yet tried the Japanese poetry/prose form of haibun may be interested in trying your hand.  At d’Verse Poets, the link is good for a week to submit haibun.  Try it, you may like it!  Come visit and read if nothing else for excellent reading material.  http://dversepoets.com/2015/11/02/haibun-monday-3/

Blue and Gold Sunday
I was admitted to the Asylum at Saint Remy in August of 1889 because I had the poor taste and wicked disposition to allow my older brother to rape me several times a week after the family had retired for the evening. Even worse, after a few months, when enough had become too much, I stopped his attacks by taking a knife to him – a knife secreted from the kitchen and hidden under my pillow. What a mess! Blood spattered on the hand painted silk wall paper, the chaste white lace and linen of my bed and by a well-aimed and angry stroke, my brother became incapable of performing such an attack again. Running to find out what the screaming was all about, my parents, several servants, and my mama’s spinster sister, discovered my brother emasculated and slowly bleeding to death and me – covered with blood and voiceless. Since that night, I have not spoken and mostly spend my days staring inside myself at landscapes such as never existed on this earth. Our family doctor recommended the Asylum as a place far enough away from Paris for my parents to forget I existed. Our lawyer helped them silence the disgrace and make arrangements for my admittance. I would be surrounded by beautiful pastoral views and treated well by the good Sisters and the doctors.

And so here I am, sitting by the window of my small private room watching the morning sun gild the Sunday countryside, absorbed in the view of the Chapel. The sky is the unearthly blue of an alpine lake. Church bells begin to ring, their sound drifting over the unharvested wheat like gentle wood smoke. Last night, one of the attendants came to do his weekly visit. Klaus had become my brother in this quiet place. During a noisy outbreak at the end of the hall, I took my dinner knife, cleverly hidden up the sleeve of my kimono. I had patiently waited for such a happening. While everyone but lazy Klaus was occupied silencing the creator of the shrieks and mayhem, I took myself to the opposite end of the hall where he spent most of his time napping and smoking hand rolled cigarillos. He did not hear me as I stepped behind him and drew the knife across his throat. Stepping back quickly to avoid blood on myself, I dropped the knife and then returned to my room. I slept well. This morning, when the Sunday doctor asked me how I was doing, for the first time in four years, I spoke. I looked him in the eye and said, “I am feeling much better now” and smiled.

blue and gold Sunday –
madness departs to dissolve
into the blue sky.

MTB – Humor

Today, Victoria has given us the wonderful prompt of writing something humorous.  To be honest, I’ve not been in a humorous frame for a couple of months.  I hope one of these fit the bill.   http://dversepoets.com/2015/10/22/seriously-thats-funny-dverse-meeting-the-bar/

free public domain image

free public domain image

I.  (senryu)
sparrows skate on ice
gobbling seeds – cat sneaks, spies, stalks –
leaps, slips – birds snicker.

II. (Bussokusekika poetic form)
high up in my tree
playing the violin and
watching fall at play –
leaves swirl birds chirp creek gurgles –
I saw notes trying my best
squirrel yells at me – silence!

 

dVerse Poets #2 – Halloween: The Attic

This is for the Halloween Poetics on d’Verse Poets Pub.  I have submitted one already but couldn’t resist doing another. Here is the link for the fun at d’Verse:  http://dversepoets.com/2015/10/20/10958/

 

The attic in Bessie’s house was always cold. Even in July when all other attics in the world were housetop ovens, this one was cold.  Bessie was my father’s mother – Grandma Hayes.  She was a tiny, feisty wizened little woman and stronger than an ox.  Even at 80, working in the field, she left grown men behind in her dust.  And her attic was always always cold.  None of us liked going up there for anything.  We’d rock paper scissors and the loser had to go.  Slowly on the up trip, racing down the steps as if the devil were nipping at the heels.  Once, my cousin Tommy and I got into a fight; ugly fight rolling around in the red dirt – noses bleeding, tee shirts ripped.  I lost.

Grandma Hayes’ youngest grandchild died, died in that house one cold rainy Christmas.  One morning she was sniffing and sneezing and whiny – no one could touch her because she ached so badly.  The family doctor was called and came bringing into the small Christmas tree smelling room, the smell of rain and cold.  He said she had a cold and gave her baby aspirin and told her mother to give her another dose at bedtime.  In the morning, she lay still under the covers – cold and blue – her long curly red hair dank over the pillow.  Her sister in bed beside her ran screaming down the attic stairs, ‘”Sandra won’t wake up Sandra won’t wake up Sandra….”.  Up the stairs the adults ran.  Curled into herself, smaller than a terrier puppy, she lay making barely a dent under the quilts.  A few days later she was buried in the family cemetery.  Laid to rest in the red mud, the mud oozing down onto her casket.  The cause of death was an aspirin overdose.  No one knew she had eaten a bottle of the orange flavored baby aspirin for candy a few days before she died.

I lost the fight.  I had to go out of the blazing July heat up into that cold attic to fetch down a jar of watermelon rind pickle.  I stood before the door breathing fast and trying to calm myself.  I grasped the door knob and began the slow ascent of the narrow stairs.  Almost at the top, you could look through the railings and see the bed.  No, I said to myself. No.  I leaned my forehead against the rail and forced my eyes open.  NO NO NO.  Across the dusty pillow was the glint of long curly red hair, picking up the lone sun beam that had strayed through the tattered curtain.  I could not make myself go forward and I was afraid to turn my back.  I panted, almost faint with fear.  Not there not there not there.  I saw her small face.  And then, she opened her eyes.

Summer heat becomes
frost and fear – the scariest
ghost stories are real.

 

free public domain

free public domain

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