Minamikaze

Day Six of Nano-nano. or whatever it is. At Real Toads, doing the prompt thing with them.  Today the prompt is “speaking with another’s voice”.

Minamikaze
We became one the first time you held me.
I reflected your face in my surface –
We became one the first time I felt your tears.
We became one the first time I tasted your blood.
I remember that first day you pulled me from my sheath.
You wept at my beauty and then you pulled me
Against your hand and I felt your pain and tasted your blood.
I felt your wonder as you swung me through
The air and your heart beating through my handle.
I felt your love for me as you named me:
Minamikaze – South Wind
I am the gentle wind from the south,
The white dragon – the one who flies above the clouds.
I am yours as you are mine.

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: Valentine’s Day

Haibun: Valentine’s Day

We met online – a true romance of the 1990’s. He answered an online ad I had placed along with 20,000 other folk who responded. But his stood out, mainly because he was a local and he didn’t try to wow me. Just introduced himself, some of his interests, and where he worked. Quiet. Simple. I responded. We emailed a couple of weeks and then I called him. His voice was melodious and educated and he had a dry wit. After telephoning for a week, we decided to meet at a local restaurant for lunch. He said he had taekwondo and would meet me afterwards. I had been told about his physical appearance – medium tall, medium build, balding. I had shared my physical appearance – short and round like a beach ball. We liked each other at first sight and began dating. At first cautious and then throwing the wildness into the wind.

He took me to his parent’s home on Valentine’s Day. They were staying at Myrtle Beach for the winter and he was taking care of their home. He showed me around and then very quietly, he asked me to sit on the couch. My heart went cold. “He is breaking up with me” I thought. He went over to the piano and began to chord and to talk-sing, “Never gonna give you up” chord chord chord “Never gonna let you down” chord chord chord – all the way through the Rick Astley song that spoke to us both. He then left the piano and came over to the couch and kneeled on one knee. “I love you. Will you marry me?” I threw myself on him hugging him for all I was worth. “Yes! Oh yes!”

snow falling outside –
fire on the hearth roses in a vase –
love blooming within

Leaf Hagaki

Today is Quadrille Monday at dVerse.  What is a Quadrille?  It is a form unique to dVerse Poets pub consisting of exactly 44 words (excluding the title) and the chosen word.  Today Victoria is in charge of the Pub and has given us the word “poem” or variants of the word.  Come join us for these lovely short poems.

public domain image

Leaf Hagaki*
I carefully prick one word poems
on fallen leaves, letting the wind
take them where it will –
Postcards of joy, love, tolerance, hope.
I don’t expect a reply
but I let them loose anyway.
The silence between the falling of the leaves
is deafening.

* hagaki – Japanese for fragments of writing or postcards

 

Weight of Crows

or Angies prompt at Real Toads. We are to choose a list and write a poem from the words.
solace trace pause over
inwardness sweat reflect beginning
need forgiveness unfolding back
thanks weight years ahead

Weight of Crows
Today is the umpteenth anniversary
of your decision to return to Japan.
My words are like a weight around my neck,
a murder of crows hanging upside down
their feet tied with pink ribbons.
A trace of sweat sneaks down my face
And dribbles down onto my keyboard.
I look for forgiveness from you.
I truly loved you but now I must
let you go.
I should have done this years ago
but the love hangs around my neck
Like a murder of crows.

public domain photo

Haikai Challenge #16

For Frank Tassone’s haikai challenge #16,Freedom. Monday would have been my Mother’s 88th birthday. This is in her honor. She did love to ride behind me!

https://nam02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Ffrankjtassone.com%2F2018%2F01%2F13%2Fhaikai-challenge-16-1-13-18-freedom-haiku-senryu-tanka-haibun-renga-haiga%2F&data=02%7C01%7C%7Cf218dd55cad04f3e1fa508d55aa893b1%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636514602427764877&sdata=LxYY1Hx0PNgqd2Na52hnRcYrHxENqGAnfejmjnBNJio%3D&reserved=0

open road ahead
blue skies above – my Ducati
and I sing to the wind

Haibun: Ageless

This is linked to Real Toads, Tuesday Platform. With total admiration in De Jackson’s (WhimsyGizmo) style of poetry.

Ageless
This poem is ageless –
No wrinkles, no white hair, no unsteady gait.

This poem dances on the shores
of oceans, lakes, deserts.

This poem sings on her backporch
in the moonlight – loudly – Handel’s Halleluiah Chorus .

This poem loves deeply and joyfully
and exchanges the feeling of skin on skin.

This poem is ageless.
This poem flies with owls between the trees –
silent and unafraid.

Real Toads and dVerse Poets Pub OLN

Today Shay is prompting over at Real Toads. She asks us to write of spells, gypsy curses, dopplegangers, the like. She also requests “no haiku because they give me the shakes”. Perhaps like me she has seen too too many bad fauxku on the ‘net lately: to many dead lifeless zombie-ku, too many sweet pink precious-ku, to many emotion crazed maniac-ku, too too many abbreviated fake jazzy-ku. I know, they frighten me too. To paraphrase Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense: I see bad haiku. Real Toad’s link: Fireblossom Friday : I Put A Spell On You.  I am also posting this on dVerse Poets Pub Open Link night. Open Link Night # 205   PS I have finished this poem with a senryu – what most people call “haiku”….but it aint!

Don’t Fear The Reaper
I was timid and short –
You were ruthless and gentle and brave.
I gazed into your almond shaped brown eyes –
And I became trapped –
A skeletal butterfly encased in amber.
But on the wings of your words
I flew. I soared. I became fierce.
I often look back at that young woman
And then I look in the mirror of the woman
I am today.
The curse of your love still hovers over me.
The blood I drew from you that day
we drew swords against each other
still stains my hands with red.
You were surprised as was I.
I look up at the full harvest moon
And I howl.
I count the stars as I hold my head back
And I howl.
I fling the curse to the sky –
To be taken by the wind.
I don’t know if it will ever take.
The curse of your love still hovers over me.

harvest moon listens – dogs
shuffle in the underbrush –
curses abound

 

public domain image

dVerse Poetics: Magic

Today Paul Scribbles is prompting our Poetics at dVerse.  He is asking us to write about magic. Magical, magician, magic in all its forms and permutations. And so, I did!

Sweet Magic
the door to another universe opened
and he walked out –
his hair in a warrior’s knot
and wearing a black on black silk hakama
and wide shouldered black kataginu
embroidered with cherry blossoms – black on black.
he told me later he wore all black for
martial arts demoonstrations.
he carried daisho – katana and wakizashi and
on his right hip he wore the tanto – dagger.
I was 25 and he was 28 and already had two Ph.D.s
He was almost through with his third.
He moved light and deadly and quick as a hawk.
Taller than your average Japanese but then,
his homeworld was the mountainous region
in Hakone. I watched him draw his katana –
one pure movement of silver and death – magic.
I was dating a jerk at the time and had gone
to the Kendo competition with the jerk.
He rescued me from the jerk and won the competition.
His voice was soft and husky
and his hands and arms were knicked and scarred –
Swords are sharp he said when he saw me looking.
I fell head over heels in love with him but…
Greater older magic was at work –
He fell in love with plain short me.
His hands were soft and sure
And his lips were full and curved.
He taught me forms and Kendo
And gave me a wakizashi because I was too short –
“Your opponent will behead you before you have your
sword half-way out.
The wakizashi’s name is Minamikaze – South Wind.
This my love will make you formidable.”
I held the wakizashi and gave it a slight swish.
He smiled. “Take your death as a given,
Accept it and you will be free to live.”
Then he smiled and sang to me
holding me close:
“All our times have come
Here but now they’re gone
Seasons don’t fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain, we can be like they are
Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper*”
I took the leap. Down the rabbit hole.
Magic.
Pure sweet magic.

old snapshot taken in Duke U Medical Library 1979

  • Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

My Garden

This is for Bjorn’s Meeting the Bar segment of dVerse – a free verse sonnet.  He gives Neruda as an example.  I told Bjorn I was busy putting up food for the winter…he asked if I was going to do a sonnet on tomatoes.  I don’t know if I did this correctly.  I am not much on Western forms.  so my volta is a senryu.  I hope it works!

My Garden

The rain began in the spring and did not end
until Mother’s Day. My garden was planted late
But then it took off like a rocket.
Tomatoes, corn, butterbeans –
cucumbers and squashes in all the colors
of the rainbow. Fresh and lovely in taste
and soft and strong to the touch.
Now it is getting to the end of summer.
My garden is starting to show its age but
still it gives to me. Days spent canning
and pickling and freezing – just to have
the taste of summer all through the winter.

summer bounty thrives –
animals snack at night – I
work during the day

tomato

copyright kanzensakura

 

 

Haibun Monday – The Shadow Knows

Monday I am doing the prompt for Haibun Monday over at dVerse Poets Pub. Years ago I read In Praise of Shadows (陰翳礼讃 In’ei Raisan), an essay on Japanese aesthetics by the Japanese author and novelist Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. It deeply influenced me and caused my immersion into the Japanese culture. So I am prompting people to write about shadows today in classic Haibun form – actual shadows, shadows in our lives, walking after dark in the full moon, the fireplace flickering in a dark room, shadows of clouds racing over a meadow, mountain or lake. Come visit us and find out the reason for this quote by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki: “Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.”  The Pub opens at 3:00 pm EST

Moonlight, kendo, and love
Midsummer. The moon was full to bursting and it lit up our bedroom like a klieg light. My lover was sleeping soundly, softly snoring. I was rolling from one half of the bed to the other – the night was hot and moist and redolent with the smells of roses, jasmine, gardenias, magnolia….the rich musk of freshly mown grass floated over the flower smells and made me sneeze. I gave one look at the sleeping man, muttered “bah” and got out of bed. I looked down into the garden in the back yard – the scene was almost surreal, flat with the look of no contrasting shadows. Every detail stood out in sharp detail. I pulled on a tee shirt and shorts and went downstairs. I decided if nothing else, I would practice some kendo forms I had learned the previous week. With my shinai in hand, I began. I started to sweat but continued. Soon I relaxed and to get into the motions. Clouds blew across the surface of the full moon and shadows drifted across the koi pond and the graveled area. A soft breeze began cooling me and I closed my eyes and drifted with the forms. Suddenly, my arms were gripped by strong hands and my lover began to improve on my motions.

I turned to look at him. Taller than the average Japanese man with a beautiful swooped nose and full lips. I loved his mouth and his nose. He smiled. “Dancing in the shadows?” I melted into him and we began the kendo dance. Shadows began to shift as the moon began to dip in the sky. The branches of trees grew longer and one of the koi broke surface, thinking the moonlight on the water was a bug. I watched the shadows from the moon slowly glide along the walkway. We became still, me wrapped in his arms. “I love the shadows on a full moon night,” he whispered. “I love you on a full moon night.” And he started to caress me. Soon we disappeared into the shadow of the dogwood tree, making love in our garden. Fully sated at last, we went to sleep on the grass each holding the other close. We woke just before grey dawn and lay there looking at the sun rise. The koi began to roil the surface of the pond clamoring for food. I fed them and watched them as they swam in and out of my reflection. Shadows shifted as the sun rose higher. I kissed him. “I love you” I said. And he smiled.
flowers scent the air –
midsummer dreams – shadows on
a pond – koi jumps high.

dVerse Poets Pub: Haibun Monday – The Best Things in Life are Free

Monday I am doing the prompt for Haibun Monday over at dVerse Poets Pub after a fairly long absence. While a bit stressful, it is still good to be back in the Pub writing prompts and reading and commenting on poems. My prompt for everyone is: the best things in life are free – as in without cost – not liberated from something – one of the other meanings of “free”…Come nd join us for the prompt on 02/20/2017.  Haibun Monday – The Best Things in Life are Free

Daffodils are Free!
Daffodils. I love them. I wait for them to come up every year in the very early spring. This year with the winter being so warm, you can spot clusters of green spears springing up from the dead winter grass or they are topped with the golden flowers. The smell of daffodils – I have yet to smell anything that smells like them. A heady mix of honey, jasmine, and butter – the perfume of them has not and probably never will be duplicated. Watching them blowing in the wind or dripping with rain or sticking out of snow, one can only sigh and know we are looking at one of our Creator’s most beautiful miracles. Ever since I was a child, I have loved them and I love them still at the grand old age of 65. They still make me smile, no matter how hard, sad, grey, or difficult the day has been.

Once 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 and the soft green and the cold wetness of it. Years later after kendo, my lover and I stood in the rain and kissed. He had daffodil lips and I drank in their cool wetness and my tongue probed the sharp edges of his teeth and the slightly bitter taste of his lips.

in the spring rain
daffodils bloom with hope – true
love is in the air

public domain photo

public domain photo

 

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