This bartender doesn’t like me. I used to enjoy reading great literature and could recite poetry…“what happens to a dream deferred?” – might still help me make enough of an impression that someone sitting at the bar won’t mind making up the coins I lack to pay for my beer.
sweet brown lacquered tones
shoulders elbows, eavesdroppers
ring marks – hops on grains
hops on trains, buses, and brains
fingerprints, the smell of coins.
This structure’s eye accepts light but not wind. Within the rectangle I cannot see my breath’s product. The floor resembles cork; our senses fill gaps in perception. Does one read emptiness with disdain or horror? The sun recedes. I fear ice in the trees, weight on my chest.
heaven’s clowns release their tears
sink! or swim time’s tide
silver trails depreciate,
mollusca’s retreat for one
Tanka inspired by Robert Okaji’s prose. Robert is a poet extraordinaire who blogs at O at the Edges. He is a beer connoisseur, foodie, sharp knife aficionado, and doesn’t take himself too seriously. Thanks so much for collaborating Bob! It was through reading this post on Bob’s blog a while back that I came across the haibun, beginning my love affair with the form.
Half a Haibun is an ongoing (and occasional) feature here at 10000hoursleft. A collaborative project with bloggers I admire- they write the prose that I then use as inspiration for a tanka or haiku. The intention being that together, we’ll create a whole; 2 halves converging to add a richness and complexity to one another, in the form of a haibun. Others in the series:
Half a Haibun 1: The Unhappy Wife (with K E Garland)
I have a haibun in the current issue of Contemporary Haibun Online! CHO is a quarterly journal dedicated to the form. I’ve relied on it for guidance and inspiration via the fine examples in the published works. It is really encouraging to find space for my writing outside the fairly subjective submission criteria here on 10000hoursleft, and even more so to be among the writers I have enjoyed reading on the site.
If the haibun seems familiar, that’s because I originally posted it with a tanka, here on this blog. Thanks Bob Lucky for the encouragement and challenge to give the prose a stronger poem which ultimately resulted in the haiku that got me over the line.
Writing is a fairly sedentary, safe past time. The risk of a paper cut, callouses from using a pen, or carpal tunnel from a poor workspace set up can be designed out, or at least managed, to minimise their likelihood. But how about putting that writing out into the public domain? as soon as I hit ‘publish’ or ‘send’ in the case of text or email, those words are out there and wide open to interpretation. What is the risk in that? Where do I begin?
Rejection, failure, judgement, vulnerability, revealing a poor grasp of spelling and grammar (yelp! the imposter syndrome!)
…the list goes on but at the heart of all that is the ego and a need for validation- like my work, like me! What is the consequence of that ‘failure’? Well, if I try to be rational about it- failure to have a receptive audience for my writing is really as inconsequential as a paper cut, it’s just that it doesn’t feel like it at the time. It is crushing and the sting remains long after the wound has healed over- sometimes creating enough scar tissue to make you lose heart and stop. But no, not me. I will embrace rejection and find the value in the lessons it provides. Continue reading
Read Part 1: Missing Person
Henfield was a small enough town that it didn’t take much digging to know who was with whom, where so-and-so worked, and whatever happened to that kid, you know- the one who lived two doors down from the Sanderson’s.
six degrees or less
a whispered cartography
strangers’ life path’s mapped
Forrest was back in town after finishing up his boarding days at Dunnstown Grammar. Trailing him discreetly, it seemed he spent much of his time either at the skate park or making a beeline, without any sense of urgency, between Al’s Corner Produce and his parents’ home. I knew his 18th birthday was approaching, so if my hunch was correct, whatever would happen was due to transpire in only a matter of weeks. I had to stay close without raising suspicion. Continue reading
she entered the fray
threw her hat into the ring
unveiled hidden strengths
Prompt words fray and veiled courtesy of RonovanWrites’ Haiku Poetry Prompt Writing Challenge. The image is of the late Myrna Loy. I came across her looking for a veiled image of a woman who looks like she’s about to kick ass. Turns out Myrna was a trail blazer in influencing social/cultural change, having co-chaired the Advisory Council of the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, and in pre-Instagram 1948, being the first Hollywood celebrity to become a member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.
Welcome to Week 8! This week we travel to my first attempt at a poem that follows rules on structure- a tanka inspired by a little peace of heaven where I live.
I enjoyed the challenge of the tanka, and although initially skeptical of the merits of writing to a set of rules, I began to appreciate that you need to be creative to write yourself out of a tight corner. Rather than stifling creativity, structure provides a focus within which there are still infinite possibilities.
I have since gone on to write a couple of sonnets and about a dozen haiku/tanka/haibun/tanbun on a range of topics from climate change to the sensory delight of pho.
structure, let’s be friends
quake keys to assemble words
job search, conflict, pho
climate summits and kid’s toys
seismic shift, subjects scatter
Shout out to recently published author Ronovan Hester for his weekly haiku prompts that have been the inspiration behind my spate of haiku this year. Ronovan also hosts a weekly flash fiction challenge for those interested in non-haiku writing.
Prompt words for my meta tanbun here were ‘friend’ and ‘shiver’ (which I interpreted as ‘quake’) courtesy of RonovanWrites’ Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge.
The prompt word ‘shiver’ and my use of ‘quake’ reminded me of a song I haven’t heard in a while, that I love- Sweet Jean’s Shiver and Shake. I saw them live a few years ago- they were great!
Not to forget the travel component of this post, click on the image to be transported through the tumbleweed! Watch your step, and don’t count your syllables before they hatch!