Cherry Blossom Snow – sakura no yuki

For Anmol’s prompt over at dVerse – relationships and sensuality.  This is an “extreme” haibun being less that 65 words.  Actually, all haibun need to be short as in the original.  Haibun are true accountings ended with a seasonal haiku. Also posted on Real Toads Tuesday Platform.

Cherry Blossom Snow
“The heart was made to be broken.” Oscar Wilde

He was the most beautiful man I had ever seen, like an ancient Samurai. I fell in love at first sight. I was plain and short yet somehow, he fell in love with me. Long years of intense love and then, he returned to Japan. My heart broke.
cherry blossoms
fell like snow in the spring
caressing my skin goodbye

Kuroi to Suzume

Today is Tuesday Platform at Real Toads – we can post one poem of our choice. Rommy has told us of how she and her husband met and are celebrating 23 years of marriage! She is asking what interests drew us to our lovers/husbands/spouses/mates? I was 25 when I met my Black Dragon, my Japanese lover. He was 35 and a forensic pathologist and instructor in Kendo and kantana. I am of course interested in all things Japan and have been since I was six. I have visited Japan many times and at several points, followed in Basho’s footsteps. My lover taught me the culture, the history, the language of his country, honoring the changing seasons. We were together 10 years and visited several times his home in the mountains, Hakone, and then he returned to Japan. I did not go with him. I always thought of him as Black Dragon – kuroi ryu and myself as a sparrow beside him – suzume. This haibun is an old one and one I have shortened and reworked for future publication.  I follow the classic form which means it is non-fiction rather than made up. I hope you all enjoy.  The first full moon is of course the first full moon that appears in early spring – mangetsu no haru.


Black dragon and Sparrow

“Come, let me show you” – Indeed the spring moon was full and lit the yard Like a klieg. Although in jeans and tee shirt, he still looked lethal and royal and somehow the katana and wakazashi tucked into the makeshift obi around his waist did not look ridiculous. Hands arm and dry, he took my hand and pulled me outside into his yard – “such tiny hands you have” and he smiled his singularly sweet smile down at me. In the gravel place, between the pond for his nishikigoi and the karesansui, he pulled me. Always when he touched me, heat and electricity flowed from my heels to the top of my head, always drawing me closer to him. The song of steel as he pulled the katana clear – the sound to my ears like the sound the scales of a dragon would make as it moved across the earth.
Standing behind me his arms enclosed me and he placed the sword in my hands – like this and wrapped my hands around the hilt and now, hold it like this as he moved my arms into position and corrected my stance and how I held the sword. Move with me…awkward at first and then like magic it seemed, I was moving with him. Beneath that huge moon the black dragon and the sparrow began their dance. The moon drawing us together, warmed by each other, our breaths frosted in the cold of an early spring night. We could not move from that place. The earth held us captive as the moonlight pinned us in place. Who knew that gravity was heat and electricity? Who knew that gravity was choosing not to move, to stay suspended in one place?

spring night warmed
only by the first full moon –
tides and lovers rise

The Last Spring

For Fireblossom’s prompt at Real Toads – day 29 of Nannerpuddin – almost the last day. “This isn’t the end, but the end is just around the corner. That’s what I’d like us to write about. Sometimes, the moment just before something ends is as poignant as the actual ending. One could write about the Twin Towers on 9/10, with business going on as usual, never knowing what the morning would bring. Or, one could keep the focus much smaller, and write about a love affair about to end, but which hasn’t actually ended just yet.” This is also being posted on Poets United Poetry Pantry. Come join us for bittersweet.

The Last Spring
The last spring was the most beautiful
nor has there been one more beautiful since.
The cherry trees wept their petals down
to the graveled surface of our kare-sansui –
Our miniature Ryo-anji.
You were returning to Japan.
After 18 years in America you were returning home.
I was staying here.
The last night together I slept downstairs.
You slept upstairs.
I was already putting distance between us –
Most of the furniture sold along with your
baby grand piano and my Thermidor stove.
I was moving to a tiny apartment that did not smell of you,
that did not have any of our past life together
screaming at the boxes and empty spaces
I took you to the airport and walked you to your waiting area.
All words had been said but you had to have the last few.
You cupped my face in your hands
and your almond shaped eyes were filled with tears.
I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul, you said,
My eyes were desert dry.
I turned my back on you and walked away.

Battle

For Bjorn’s prompt on Real Toads – Entropy and Thermodynamics. We’ll see how I did. This is unusually long for me. It is a true story from my past and interest in all things Japanese, including a long gone lover. I’ve included a bit from The Last Samurai with the ho-hum Tom Cruise and the ever dynamic and sexy actor (and martial artist) Hiroyuki Sanada. I will also be posting this on Poets United Poetry Pantry.  Now imagine this battle with swords instead of bokken…yeppers

Battle
“Even after it all, would you dance with me again in the eye of the storm?” Dianna Hardy, Reign Of The Wolf

August…
hot stuffy steamy icky August
I am in the backyard practicing my kata…
and dripping, nay, running rivers of sweat.
“You’ll never finish if you keep stopping
to drink water and to wipe off”
I restrain myself from throwing my katana at him.
A light breeze and the strong whiff of
petrichor –
I smile…storm is coming.
A frisson of cool air brushes my skin.
I sheath my sword and run up the steps
to the back porch.
My lover puts his hand on my chest and stops me.
He was calm, I was building like the storm.
I tell him it is hot as fuckos, I was through practicing
And I.Was.Going.Inside.For.A.Shower.
He blinks slowly.
With the quickness of lightning
he pulls his sword and with a few strokes
drives me out into the now
Monsooning rain.
I pull my sword and begin fighting back,
being pushed back to the fence.
He slips on the slick fieldstones –
I put in a hard slash…And stop…horrified.
He puts his hand up to his ear,
blood running onto his white tee shirt
and dripping through his fingers.
Sonofabitch. You cut off my earlobe.
nervously I begin to laugh.
He frowns and then grabs me, begins kissing me.
There we stand in the rain
swords in our hands,
clothing and hair drenched, clinched.
The bomb has exploded –
now the rain is washing away
the sweat the blood the anger.
We sink down onto the gravel…
we don’t forget to sheath our swords.

Haibun: No Ko Me

Today Victoria is prompting us for the Monday Haibun.  A haibun is a Japanese poetic form mixing prose and haiku.  It must be true and is usually written in the first person.  Today her prompt is:  No Ko Me—Tree Buds or something pending.  Come join us for this beautiful and seasonal prompt.

copyright kanzen sakura

No Ko Me
My ex-lover and I always marked the changing seasons as the Japanese do; but he was Japanese so there you go. As a Southern white girl, I always made note of the seasons, usually by smell: the freshly cut grass of summer, the snow scent of winter, the autumn leaves’ must, and of course, the fresh smell of tender buds of spring. Masashi taught me much more – the tens of thousands of kigo relating to the changing seasons and about mujo – change.

Around mid-February we would inspect the trees and shrubs on our property seeking out the most infinitesimal of growing buds which sprinkled the branches like individual dark red snowflakes. We knew that first spring was soon to be here. The buds would grow bigger until they would burst forth into bloom. A flower here, there, and soon second spring there would be flowers everywhere.

I would delicately touch the tree buds or gently kiss them soothing their pain. He told me the buds felt pain at growing large and then giving birth to flowers and leaves just as a woman felt pain at giving birth. In the rain I would imagine the buds weeping with pain but then the joy when the flower would unfold. I would stand beneath our cherry trees as the petals would fall to the ground – children that only lived for a day.

pain of tree buds
birthing into flowers –
petals fall – drops of blood

flowering quince copyright kanzensakura

 

 

KFC and Christmas Stars

#Haikai Challenge #13 (12/23/17): Christmas #haiku #senryu #haibun #tanka #haiga #renga For Frank Tassone’s haiku challenge – Christmas is the kigo.

KFC and Christmas Stars

Our first Christmas together we spent in your home of Hakone. I was transfixed by the beauty of where you grew up with Mt. Komagatake as a backdrop to Mt. Fuji and the lapping clarity of Lake Ashi. To my vast amusement, I discovered Colonel Sanders was Father Christmas’ main man and that Christmas dinners were KFC – the commercials on TV with Japanese “Victorian” skaters and builders of snow men, green wreaths, reindeer – I watched hypnotized and wanting to laugh aloud at the incongruous but cheerful visions dancing outside of my head, but I didn’t want to be insulting. It was a great relief to see your full lips twisted in a wry grin and your eyes sparkling with impish delight. “I’ll have to use some connections”, you said, “it is too late to order now. Most people would have ordered their dinners by the end of October.” Yes, KFC is a big deal dinner! Specially decorated buckets, meals with elaborate cakes and bottles of wine or sake – and when we went to pick up our dinner on Christmas eve, we stood in line for an hour waiting our turn.

Families and groups of single friends happy and laughing, anticipating. Inside the KFC – a bar with red and green flashing lights and a bartender in a Santa cap! A lifesize Colonel Sanders figure with a Santa cap and a wreath of silk holly around his neck! I stood gaping at the tables of families digging into the buckets pulling out special plates with the date and under that, layers of chicken, cole slaw, tossed salad, mashed potatoes, Christmas cake, bottle of sake – like an endless treasure box. I hadn’t had that sense of delight since the first time I walked into Studio 54. It was just as surreal too.

We snagged our bucket and walked home in the crisp evening. In heavy coats we sat in your garden and wolfed our way through the chicken – you going for the dark meat, me going for the light. And it tasted exactly the same! We passed the bottle of surprisingly good sake between the two of us as we ate. Totally sated with food and wine, we lay in the gravel of your karesansui and made “snow” angels, laughing at each other, our laughter carrying through the clear mountain air. I lay there looking up into the stars twinkling over Japan. You leaned over to touch my face and then kissed me, both of our faces greasy and salty. “Come and look at the city stars, beloved.” You pulled me up and we walked to the edge of your property looking down over the city. I was silenced by the beauty of the lights below me – the colors, the shapes, glittering like a huge gaudy brooch for earth. And then I looked back up at the night sky, Mt. Fuji in the distance blocking out a space of black. I fell in love with stars, yet again. Several meteors streaked to earth – I wept for such beauty that would never again be seen, in that same way.

flaming stars outshine
earthly stars and fall from
the sky – meteor snow

public domain image

 

Snowflakes

In Japan there are various words and nuances for “silent” or “silence”. Shizuka means total silence. Chinmoku is reticence, holding back or, more intriguing, the silence between the notes. For Real Toads, 30 in 30. This is day five. This is the farthest I have gone in NAPOWRIMO Day 5.

Snowflakes
Shizuka –
the first snowflake is silent –
at night they drift –
falling one by one
slowly piling into drifts –
silent they fall into the night –
the wind gets into them
blowing them this way and that –
chinmoku – they hold back their words
their noise their speaking –
sound comes from the wind
or the tree branches rattling –
the snowflakes speak
various forms of silence –
snowflakes fall – drift –
only the owls hear them –
gliding through snowflakes –
they hunt more silent
than the snowflakes – I walk
among them listening to
the silence of the flakes,
the swish of the owl’s wings

public domain image

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