Haibun: Bitter Kisses

For Sherry’s prompt over at Real Toads, Homecoming.  We are to write about the nostalgia of lost faces, lost loves, gone places.  She offers up one of my favorite songs by the Beatles. I am using it for my haibun here.  As the new usual I am writing in the old abbreviated form of the original haibun by Basho.  this one is rather long – 98 words.

Bitter Kisses
When I was a child I pulled green blades of a daffodil still wet with rain. I wanted to see how it tasted. I placed the green blade between my lips – slowly pulling using my tongue to feel the sharp edge of the bitter green blade.  Years later after kendo, my lover and I stood in the rain and kissed. He had daffodil lips. I drank in their cool wetness and my tongue probed the sharp edges of his teeth and the slightly bitter taste of his lips.

hot kisses –
bitter daffodils –
love withered away

The Flowers in the Glass

For the Camera Flash prompt today on Real Toads.

Still Life by Adolph de Meyer

The Flowers in the Glass
“My house is run, essentially, by an adopted, fully clawed cat with a mean nature.” Anthony Bourdain

The cat jumped onto the table.
She sniffed at the flowers in the glass,
casually stolen from the restaurant
where we had dinner.
He left in the middle of the meal.
I stayed and finished my meal.
The waiter told me “the gentleman” had paid for the meal
and did I want to take a box with the remains of his meal?
No I did not.
I wanted to sweep the food onto the floor
and listen to the plate crash.
I left the waiter a sizeable tip
and when he walked away,
I grabbed the flowers from the vase and ran.
Now my cat is getting ready to sweep them
onto the floor and bat them around.
I will let her.
Time for another tiny cup
of *Nihon Sakari Gokun Honjozo.
I listen to the swishing sound
of the flowers being played with by the cat
and drink another tiny cup.

*#1 the highest rated sake in the world. Tastes like melon, green apples, honey, and the smell of peonies.

Gardenias

For Hedge’s 55.

Gardenias
You used to play the piano when you
could not sleep –
The sound filled the house.
Smell of gardenias filled the air.
Someone else lives there now.
They cut down the gardenia bushes
and planted stylish shrubs.
I dreamed I had died.
I wonder if gardenias grow
in the mountains of Japan.

Real Toads Bits of Inspiration

This is for Real Toads Bits of Inspiration: Dragonflies. there are all kinds of stories about them, myths. Japan is no different in its stories of dragonflies, especially among the Samurai. The dragonfly helmets are known as the type of armor called kawari kabuto – exotic helmet.

Akitsushima

My lover took the antique helmet out of the case to show me. He explained that it was one of the helmets worn by his Samurai ancestors. I reached out a tentative finger to touch it. A tingle went through me – old times, men long dead, battles fought. It was a dragonfly helmet. I asked why such a fragile thing for a battle helmet design. He laughed.

“Dragonflies are relentless hunters”, he explained. “They can fly forward, they can hover but, they can never move backwards”. I asked again, why such a fragile thing? He laughed at me. “ Have you ever seen a dragonfly hunt? The ancient lords chose such embellishments so they could be easily found on the battlefield. They often chose a motif that they felt described themselves. They are also considered to be far seeing.” I later learned that an ancient deity, while sitting on top of a mountain looked down upon Japan and named it Akitsushima, Island of the Dragonfly -because of the shape of the islands. My lover then took down his katana and said, “Come, it is time to practice.” I did a jaunty step, “Float like a butterfly, hunt like a dragonfly.” He laughed. Years later, I learned that like the dragonfly, I could never go back to that time.

ancient far seer –
the dragonfly hovers –
no going backwards

public image domain

Real Toads – That Was Close!

This is for Real Toads. Margaret gave us a prompt from a song – Cruel. This is about going bad, getting good again, going back, and growing up. I hope this comes close.  http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/ This is also for Poets United Poetry Pantry http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/ and for dVerse Poets Pub OLN http://dversepoets.com/2017/10/19/open-link-night-206/.

Close but no Cigar
He was right where I had left him 15 years earlier –
lying on a folding lounge chair in the back
under a huge oak on the shore of the lake,
of his beat up Chevy.
This lounger was red and yellow.
The previous lounger was blue and white.
There was a hole in sole of his beat up cowboy boots –
his broken in cowboy hat was pulled down over his eyes –
as I got closer, I could see his jeans and shirt were clean,
but patched and faded.
For 40 he still looked slim and trim and buff.
I wondered how his face had changed.
I walked up slowly and quietly crunching gravel under my boots.
I pulled myself up on the truck bed and he moved.
His hat shifted back and his eyes opened wide and surprised.
“Shit.” He said. “Never thought I’d see you again.”
He spoke in that soft Oklahoma twang he’d kept
after all these years.
I smiled ruefully. “He left”.
“So, that cat left you and now you feel like you
gave him the best years of your life? Hmmmmn.”
I could see lines around his yes and mouth.
He stood up and pulled me up to him
and kissed me, like he used to.
His mouth tasted of bourbon and pot.
“You know, leaving me was the smartest thing you ever did.
Say goodbye again. I’m still no good for you.
You’ll chew your leg off like a wolf in a trap.”
I shrugged.
“We’ve know each other a lotta years,
since high school.” I spoke.
He touched my face with his hand.
“Go away. Now. While you can.”
I just had to see him again,
To prove myself wrong.
They say all good things must end.
We were so good we never stood a chance.
so I went back to his apartment with him.
And then left after we made love.
Damn, I barely missed that bullet.

dVerse Poets Pub – voice of first frost

This is for dVerse’s Poets Pub, Haibun Monday.  Victoria is using the words “shimi no koe” – the voice of first frost to prompt us in our haibun.  First frost is a precursor to hatsu yuki, the first snow.  These two firsts are almost like sacred times to the Japanese and their observance of the seasons.  Victoria has done a beautiful job in this prompt.  Come visit us and read the various haibun at:  http://dversepoets.com/2017/10/02/haibun-monday-shimo-no-koe-  I’ve been awy due to eye problems.  I am slowly working my way back. Today I am posting this at Real Toads.   http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-tuesday-platform.html

Beautiful October
The October after you left in June was one of the most beautiful autumns I have known. I remember the smell of freshly fallen leaves mixing with the mast of those fallen the year before and slowly returning to the earth. I remember the colors all swirled together in a psychedelic tee shirt of warm colors. Most of all, I remember the night frost descended – the first of the season.

I remember sitting on the steps and blowing out the smoke from the joint I was smoking – doubly rich smoke both from the herb and the cold. The smoke was pure white in the moonlight. I shivered in the cold and pulled my frayed denim jacket closer. Across the full moon, a bat? An owl? A night bird? Flew blacking out the sparkling stars in the cold black sky. I could feel the change in the air; I could feel the temperature drop and feel the frost forming on my face, on the sleeves of the jacket. I walked across the lawn, slowly. Turning I could see where my boots had melted the frost that was glimmering on the grass. I thought to myself, trying to get over you was like trying to sew with gloves on or trying to turn a long rusted bolt.

autumn night – silent
stars look down on the frost and
shiver in the cold

public domain image

dVerse Poetics: Metaphor

This is for dVerse Poetics hosted today by Bjorn. He wants us to use metaphors in our writing. I don’t know if I came close. I’m used to writing “direct poetry” – no hidden meanings or agendas. So I wrote about an old lover.
I hope I did okay! I don’t know about obvious metaphors.


The Black Dragon (kokuryūkai)

I was told long ago: Never look into the eyes of a dragon –
His gaze will capture you and you will be lost.
But I looked too long into his whirling eyes.
Brown, liquid and disturbingly male.
His eyes lifted and trapped mine.
There was about him a wildness,
a smell of cold fresh water rushing over rocks.
There was about him a heat, the skin of a dragon
encapsulating an inner eternal fire –
a wisdom of ages, of trees, of endless sky –
a loneliness about him, a dragon curled
about a red ruby heart in the depths of a faraway cave –
he had the strength of a dragon lifting his wings upward
and flying beyond the sun –
And the infinite sadness of cherry blossoms killed by frost.
I could only stand and watch as he flew back to his mountain.

 

 

image from pixabay

The Notes: You can always tell a Japanese dragon from a Chinese or Korean dragon in paintings and tattoos – the Japanese dragon will always have only three toes/claws per appendage making a total of 12. The dragons are given different colors for obvious reasons. Each color has their own powers: Black dragons are children of a thousand-year-old dragon that is black-gold. They are symbols of the North. They are the most solitary of all the dragons and also, fly the highest and sometimes mated with humans. They caused storms by battling in the air. Blue dragons are children of blue-gold dragons that are eight hundred years old. They are purest in blue colors, the sign of the coming spring and the symbol of the East. Yellow dragons are born from yellow-gold dragons who are one thousand years old or older. They appear at ‘the perfect moment’ and at all other times remain hidden. Yellow dragons are also the most revered of the dragons. Yellow dragons also sometimes mated with humans.  White dragons come from white-gold dragons of a thousand years of age. They symbolize the South. White is the Asian color of mourning, and these dragons are a sign of death.

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