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WD Poetic Form Challenge: Haibun Poems

I hope you’re ready to poem, because it’s time for another WD Poetic Form Challenge. This time around, we’ll be tackling haibun poems. Click the previous link to view the details, but a haibun combines a prose poem with a haiku.

If this is your first WD Poetic Form Challenge, here are the guidelines:

  • Write as many original haibun poems as you wish and share them in the comments below
  • Please include your name as you would like it to appear in print (just in case you win)
  • Deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, Georgia time) on September 16, 2012
  • Have fun!

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, these challenges incorporate the three F’s: fun, free, and fame. These challenges are primarily for the fun of poeming, and they’re completely free. But the winning poet/poem is selected to be published in a future issue of Writer’s Digest magazine as an example of the poetic form–this time a haibun.

So roll up your sleeves, unlock your brain, and start poeming!

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151 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Haibun Poems

  1. Susan Budig

    May 5th Haibun

    It is time and still she lies there. Her chest rises and falls. Sometimes her eyes track me as I pace the room. Heidi drops an orange juice glass on their new faux-marble countertop, shattering it. She turns her face toward the sound, “Who’s there?” I hold her hand.

    the clock ticks minutes
    while we wait for numbered days
    her time dissipates

    One day she feels better, “Let’s go for a walk.” Dan pushes her wheelchair, her legs are noodles now. On the way back up the path, sunshine beaming, she forgets why they are doing nothing but waiting. “What are we waiting for?”

    springtime erases
    all but the yellowest sun
    and darkest shadows

    Until today when she slips into a coma. It is more than sleeping deeply. It is as if a breathing corpse lies on her hospice bed. I do not know where to rest my eyes. I cannot look at her like this. I cannot look away.

    deep sleep of the
    near dead is like a spent firecracker
    still smoking

    I am outside when it happens. There is no noise, no panicked cry. My father was with her. When her breathing became labored, the rosary clattered to the floor and the chair fell backward as he abruptly stood up. “It was like cellophane crumpling inside her lungs,” he later said.

    that was nine years past
    today is just like that day
    I am crying still

  2. Susan Budig

    Trust

    You were my world, for that too-brief moment in time, you were my everything. And then I handed all eight pounds, fourteen ounces of faith into another mother’s arms and left you. Walked away. Didn’t turn around.

    Adoption
    Seeking other dreams
    For both sides

    I mended my broken heart, said that climbing a mountain, sailing around the world, having my own babies healed me. But I still grieved you: my phantom limb, my missing puzzle piece, my first-born.

    Time will not
    Indemnify my
    Broken heart

    Today you’ve returned. Sought me out with only my name as your periscope. You’ve spied me standing here, waiting, all these years. And I see how you answered her prayer, became her world. My relief washes away in an ocean of tears and waters the land of this sweet blue earth.

  3. Linda.H

    This is my very first haibun. I had so many great ideas but the muse wouldn’t cooperate. Then I ended up with this, not even close to any of the original ideas. Funny how that happens sometimes.

    Dog Days of Summer

    I didn’t want to be at yet another summer picnic, especially on a such a scorching day, but there I stood at Betsy’s door balancing a large bowl of Greek pasta salad in one hand, a bottle of Italian wine in the other. Just a few friends and family she had said. Time to relax. Who was she kidding? Cars were lined up like links of a chain from one end of the street to the other and the shouting of children could be heard from either point. A freckle-faced girl scurried around the house, squealing, followed by two young boys armed with water balloons.

    awakened
    the high-pitched warning
    of a smoke detector

    Just an hour I told myself and then I could escape by creating some emergency or feigning sickness. It had seemed like a good plan until I was lead to the wooden deck overlooking the vast country landscape. A trail of smoke and the smell of barbeque spare ribs sizzling on the grill greeted me. Betsy handed me a chilled caipirinha and started introducing me to her parents, her neighbors, her brother David. Then we filled our bellies with ribs and shrimp, garlic bread, corn on the cob, cole slaw, various salads, and fresh-cut fruits. Hours later I sat there still, one of the last guests, a cocktail in hand, unconcerned about the approach of dusk. I listened to old family stories and laughed hysterically when David shared tales of Betsy’s most embarrassing childhood blunders. “Oh, if you think that one is funny, wait until you hear about the time she took her plush monkey Mr. Banana Boo Boo to the doctor,” he said teasingly.

    “Don’t you dare!” cried Betsy. Then she pulled me by the arm and led me to the far edge of the deck muttering, “You can’t believe a thing he says.” I looked back at David and he smiled, mouthed the words “Tomorrow night?” I didn’t speak either, just nodded.

    lava
    erupting across the sky~
    setting sun

  4. dandelionwine

    Ursus Americanus

    Balanced on hind legs, he holds the circle of sky above his head as a statue at the roadside, as someone’s crazy lawn ornament shouting black, shouting bear. An arrowed car shoots past his gaping mouth and razor teeth, his stance broken only in the rearview.

    Rippling forward
    Lumbering across two lanes
    Tattooed on his yard

    Sara Ramsdell

  5. Originality

    The Old Man sighs into his velvet chair, still donning
    the black beret covering his tuft of Albert hair
    flannel scarf, checkered shirt, diamond socks
    grey coat, coal suit, khaki pants, brown shoes—
    a clueless patchwork quilt who still holds hope that he has retained the southern
    charm that got him in trouble back in the twenties.
    His fingers interlace atop his potbelly—
    the Young Woman finally looks up from Angelou, just in time to hear his huff,
    Asked for a kiss, and got a slap!
    I am eighty-seven and should have had my fill of women
    but I am not finished yet! No, no, not until I’m dead!
    the Young Woman laughs and offers to commiserate, For aren’t we all troubled in love?
    He scoffs, Why should an attractive young woman have such worries?
    She laughs, and they sit together into the night,
    accompanied by the unlit fireplace and shelves of dusting books
    pitying themselves for their sexual woes

    Two generations
    Connecting by virtue of
    Sexual repress

    -Lahevet

  6. Mustang Sal

    Superstars

    Sun steals in front of closed curtain. Moon lingers over one last bow. Day and night face off at dawn while audience applauds.

    moon glow, sun glare
    speak from opposite corners
    time teeters on edge

    Transitions

    Maple tree confronts winter by painting her face and then unmasking. Norwegian fir just stands up taller and braces for the onslaught.

    Goose honks away.
    Robin flutters off.
    Silence speaks.

    Tulip tree primps for rising sun. Blue spruce simply shakes off bedcovers and stretches.

    Duck quacks up pond.
    Warbler sings on front lawn.
    Nature tunes up.

  7. kparr

    Bed: siren of silence, lulling me deeper in the folds. A feeling of teddy bear fuzziness: soft outside, inside, all the way through. Smooth sheets on bare legs. The sheets don’t fit the bed, the corners pull away from the edges, but continue to encase the curves of my body. Eyelids unfold, knees stretch. Darkness, even with my eyes open, but I close them again. A hand reaches out to calm the clock’s cry, then darts back undercover.

    Driving in darkness
    Horizon glows, sun peeking
    Interest. I’m awake!

    – K. M. Parr

  8. Connie Peters

    Immunization and Cure

    I suppose I became somewhat immune to death as a child.

    Dad was a hunter
    Dead animals everywhere
    Their deaths helped us live

    My grandmother on my mother’s side was the first to go. I was only five. Mom would take me down to her house and I would play in my world while Grandma was in the adult world. Pappap and Mom must have worked hard taking care of her, but it was all in my peripheral. When she died I just thought that’s what old people do. It was a part of life to me, like dead fish in the frig.

    My red boots dangled
    When Dad lifted me to see
    Grandma’s still, white face

    In my teen years my grandfather on my dad’s side and my mom’s sister passed away. It was odd that the first time I saw my Dad cry was when my aunt died. I wasn’t all that sure he even liked her since Dad criticized a lot. That’s when death first touched my feelings, not because of my loss, but because it made my Dad cry.

    When my Aunt Marg died
    Dad sat hunched over and sobbed
    I stared in wonder

    When I was a young adult, death’s painful emotions caught up with me for the first time, when my friend’s baby died. We had prayed for little Bethany when she was born with a defective heart. She only lived a few weeks. Her parents’ grief saturated the air making it difficult to breathe.

    Baby doll in lace
    Sorrow and grief sting and claw
    We live on, with scars

    They say the care-giving spouse goes first, which was the case with my mom and dad. Alzheimer’s rendered Dad unaware when Mom died. He died two months later. I gain comfort knowing that neither one of them had to grieve each other’s death. I often picture Dad spying Mom at heaven’s gates and exclaiming, “What are you doing here?” My four sisters and I painfully plowed through each first holiday without them.

    Without Mom and Dad
    Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
    Celebrate with tears

    And now death has touched my generation. On a demolition job, tons of steel and concrete fell on my brother-in-law. Our last family reunion included a memorial.

    Husband died, sis crushed
    Said goodbyes through coffin lid
    Full reunion waits

    I am not immune to death. I feel it with all my senses. But I count on Christ, the one who rose from the dead, to be the cure. His death helps me live.

  9. Casey

    “Moving Beyond Death”

    I left him in a stupor; his mind paused. Later, the nurse calls: “He wants you to come”. It is 3:00 am. The snow is falling.
    The tears fall as my twisting country road turns dangerously close to an icy precipice; its winding, slick blackness trance-like. It snakes and invites. Death would be so easy here.
    “Just hold my hand; rub my back for a little while. I don’t know what I would have done without you.” Later: “You are excused”, with a hint of a smile in his voice. I walk away at 6:00 am. on a frozen, February morning, not knowing it was our last chance to be together.

    Winter’s left my soul;
    stripped its parts to lie, bone-white
    in the solemn snow.

    Homeward, I stop at a roadside diner in our little mountain town. Out of character for me, but something he did as a cop for so many years. So, he said I was “Excused…”. Excused, after sixty-three years? We met at a Junior High School dance; age 12. Excused? That’s a lot of forgiveness! Excused; exhausted…just put one foot in front of the other…Breakfast. But the interior light is incandescent, blinding, cold and ugly like an interrogation room. I am scrutinized in the cafe’s harsh lineup. I cringe and squint and shade my eyes with both hands. Who is my accuser! I hear the charge: “Guilty!” I look guilty and forlorn. I must be guilty! I am sentenced to survival and the scrambled eggs turn to chalk and stick-in-my-throat.

  10. 17nabd

    Dangerous Game

    Crisp leaves crunch underneath footsteps. Breathe. Run. Silence. When a life is on the line, the only thought is to stay alive. Senses sharpen by a million. Reflexes to every movement or sight. The dangerous game has begun. Survival comes by instinct, it makes the adrenaline run. They, the ones who survive to see the tomorrow, have a little chance to do so. Dying is not a statement the entire world will know. It is a secret the future will hold to itself.

    Do not be afraid
    The leaves will cover you well
    From the grips of death

  11. deringer1

    There is utter quiet in the high desert morning. A once-shimmering moon is mysteriously fading in deference to an imminent sunny day.

    bunny hops into my yard
    in the early morn,
    pauses, quiet as a mouse

    Neighborhood critters are out now, both wild and tame; cats are creeping round and rabbits emerge from their dens to sniff the air.

    peace is the early morning
    hinting at the day,
    promising elusive joy

  12. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Nebraska: The Drought of 2012

    All the long, hot summer the sun scorched the land, burning the slender leaves of corn, shriveling the budding ears. Heat-oppressed, what pods developed on the soybean plants dangled flat among the dry leaves, scarcely plumping – the beans within remaining immature.

    At summer’s end, combines comb the cornfields raising hazy clouds of dust – a mix of desiccated stalks and powdery soil that hangs above the countryside, floats over barns and farm homes before descending to silver-plate the world with fine silt…

    but low to the ground
    soybean foliage transforms –
    fields fill with gold-leaf

    Marian O’Brien Paul

  13. maricohen95

    “Question”

    A journalist has to interview a grieving mother in a grieving house. Has to walk the winding path of stones, these grieving too, to the front door. She has forgotten how to tip and toss words into questions. She has forgotten most words. So she takes out a pen, writes the boy’s name between the lines on her notepad, as if writing him down will bring him back. As if she can knock on the grieving door and say it was all a mistake, he’s right here . As if she can bring something besides another question. A question, not as bad as the what if kind that have for hours already printed a pattern across the back of the grieving mother’s mind. But still, a question, something to resolve when nothing is resolved, something to answer when there are no answers. She rings the grieving doorbell, and she will tell the grieving mother that together they can remember the son, that with her pen she will find him and pin him to paper, like butterfly to corkboard, that they can keep him there, written. She will tell the grieving mother this, but she knows what she will have to say first.

    I have a pen, and
    I have a question, but I
    do not have your son.

    by Mari Cohen

  14. Heather H

    Perspective

    Officially, I “empathize” with the “seniors” I care for. I don’t feel sorry for them. Mrs. Katz watches me clean vomit off the carpet. “Lucky you,” she says. “I’d rather clean this up than diarrhea,” I tell her. “Did you see that mess in the library? They had to throw that whole chair out!” We laugh. That night, I’m grabbing a Coke from my fridge when I feel something. I walk to the toilet. No worries, no walker, no aide, no grunts. Aah. I love it. There are times, and this is one of them, when I do feel sorry for them.

    back porch at sunset
    old man, with his whiskey and
    the Sunday funnies.

  15. Michelle Hed

    Zoo

    Observing slumbering creatures, which have haunted dreams, children scream and run in circles. Confusion reigns while walking by, wondering if those screams prompted by fear or delight. People are moving, talking, watching – as the leaves slowly turn and the air descends degree by degree.

    sleeping grizzly
    dreaming of rainbows
    swimming upstream

  16. Michelle Hed

    Cemetery

    In a garden the heavy perfume of ripening blossoms permeates. A few petals fall like silent tears as the wind wanders through. No sound carries on the wind but the air is weighted with unspoken emotion. The beauty of the garden is lost in the oppression.

    one last kiss on stone –
    body moves while soul remains
    entwined beneath

  17. Michael Grove

    solitary

    they have always said there is strength
    in numbers but what of the solitary
    and the lonely for surely they must be
    great pillars to survive thru perseverance
    without support perhaps cast away and
    neglected or alone simply as matters of
    personal choice each shall reach their own
    nirvana

    towering redwoods.
    piercing the lower flora.
    surviving the salt.

    By Michael Grove

  18. Michael Grove

    The Point

    Will it be made with dull pencils
    or sharp knifes to the back?
    Does a boiling lead to a turning
    or a breaking?
    Rarely, yet occasionally
    there is no return.

    inevitable
    flowing waters shape the stone
    rounds away the point

    By Michael Grove

  19. DanielAri

    “Trust”

    Monday was an afternoon date. Tuesday was fishing—or not fishing, but tying knots in the line while the hook dangled and rusted. Wednesday was plumeria with its white petals so fragrant and rusting. Thursday was dominoes. Now the commitments of adulthood have claimed you, and you have gone to where the tricycle you used to ride rusts. I watch a crow. We have a date, long-distance, at 3. I watch a crow.

    I’m not abandond,
    I tell myself. (The letter
    E went elsewhere.)

  20. DanielAri

    “Medical emergency at Powell St. Station”

    In this stopped hallway, a stand of trunks, a spray of glowing screens, groans of disbelief like a wind, but one that can not refresh this train. Delays. We are underwater, literally. The bay, shifting since before it had a name, continues to shift above us transplants.

    Living things adjust
    as the elements spawn new
    layers of crazy.

  21. Mike Bayles

    The Tree with no Leaves

    The bare tree on an empty lot at the end of the street bears no leaves, although it is late summer. The others of the second lot have kept theirs. It’s too soon for fall. While the first lot is overtaken with a thicket of weeds, the neighbor of the second lot mows his lawn every week, and takes good care of his house. On the first lot the house is torn down, the owner, forever gone. The bare tree on the first lot bears no leaves, mourns its loss.

    bare tree bares no leaves
    lot overtaken with weeds
    mourns its owner’s loss

    by Mike Bayles

  22. Mike Bayles

    Heat Lightning

    The demon in the sky colors it orange. I stand on the long driveway on Uncle Hank’s farm, unable to move, while wondering if there will be a storm. The lightning ripples through an expanse of the sky and fades. A part of me wants to run, but I stay to watch this display. Somehow I know that I am safe. My uncle sleeps inside the house, while I observe the sky. Early the next morning, I will tell him about the storm that didn’t come.

    demon colors sky
    late night lightning uncle sleeps
    visions to be shared

    by Mike Bayles

  23. Mike Bayles

    Heat Lightning

    The demon in the dark sky colors it orange. I stand on the long driveway on Uncle Hank’s farm, unable to move, wondering if it will be a storm. The lightning fills an expanse of the sky and fades. A part of me wants to run, but I stay to watch this display. Somehow I know that I am safe. My uncle sleeps inside the house, while I observe the sky. Early the next morning I will tell him about the storm that didn’t come.

    demon colors sky
    late night lightning uncle sleeps
    visions to be shared

  24. Heather H

    I Have A Dream

    A lean squirrel scampers
    over a leaf-spattered roof
    about to fall through.

    Owning your own home used to be the American Dream. Today, the American Dream may simply be escaping debt–individually and as a nation. Which in many cases would be doing better than one’s parents. Half of Americans save nothing for retirement. How can we, making $10 an hour? The real crash is coming.

  25. taylor graham

    ELDORADO

    Two feral cats are hunting by the dumpster – not sleek, craven, or aloof, just slink and pounce of hunger. Mid-September heat. A boy on his way home from school will throw a rock into the hedge. Cookies wait at home beside a glass of milk, a world he sees as golden-incandescent if there’s just one light-bulb, wattage of a wish.

    blackbird pecks a crumb
    shadows skip-jump the chalk marks –
    hopscotch kids gone home

  26. Jane Shlensky

    What Lies Beneath

    For months, while the rhizomes inch into a complex network under the soil, he waits. A quiet man, he knows the care and patience necessary to welcome life, growth; remembers a bamboo grove of his youth that taught him the songs of stillness, peace; feels slowly pulled to a place inside himself that promises green shoots, gift. His grandmother fed him tender bamboo shoots when he was small for good luck, always telling him, “When bamboo is old, the shoots appear.” Her toothless smile wrinkled her laughing eyes and rendered her trickster, a tiny birdlike tengu that inhabits trees. She sent him to play the grove, winging a stone through the trunks’ hollow gongs until he knew each one’s voice. Now old himself and far from home, he notes how like his grandmother he has become, his back bowed to the ground, and tenderly waits for good fortune’s single root to form its community underfoot and spring from the dirt in a green hurrah. He waits for what lies beneath to become fully itself, his heart aloft in the leaves, his soul in his ears.

    Wind rustles, rain drums,
    snow chimes from leaves. Longing
    makes me young again.

  27. Jane Shlensky

    Implant

    My neighbor has an invisible fence to keep her dog in her yard, a shock collar to keep him from barking at birds, cats, squirrels, and strangers. Despite both, he has run yelping through the barriers and across the corn fields to a farm nearby, where squawking geese paddle on a crystal pond. My neighbor is considering implanting a microchip under his skin to help her track him if he should brave to the pinch of his unseen limitations, and quietly walk away from home. Her husband watches the dog silently digging for chipmunks, jumping and snapping at birds, a frenzy of nerves and rage. He tosses the dog a tennis ball over and over, bouncing it, rolling it, mixing it up for the animal, finally sitting on the steps to hold the dog under his arm, to smooth his head and throat, to scratch his belly and talk into his silky ears. I don’t hear what is said, but the dog and he seem to agree, both with the same sad determined eyes.

    Protection stays home.
    Freedom travels, chooses, risks.
    Stay. I run to you.

  28. creativemetaphor

    Revival

    Brown and dry: the grass crunches beneath my feet and pokes at my dirty toes. I wonder how long it can go before it can’t rejuvenate; how dry is just too dry? The smell of parched earth kicked into the air fills my nose and the static buzz on leaves tells me it is time. Race down the stairs and out to the yard to catch it before it passes.

    eyes closed head tipped back
    and for the first time in months
    rain touches my face

    -Andrea Fleming

  29. Domino

    I don’t think I’m doing this quite right, but at least it is a true story!

    Two teenagers walking the New Mexico desert on a lark—nature is glorious when one is young—and they discover a ball of bromating rattlesnakes. The teens don’t realize that bromating and hibernating aren’t the same thing—the snakes are not asleep, they are merely torpid from the cold. One puts the ball in his car to take to school for a science project.

    Warming rattlesnakes
    awaken soon, are full of life
    boy abandons car

    Diana Terrill Clark

  30. Walt Wojtanik

    HEROES AND THIEVES

    The sun had arisen, a beacon offering illumination;giving shadows and then taking them away. A day like any other. Mothers preparing the children for school, before they head to work. Fathers making their commute to execute the completion of another day of living the American dream. It seemed a perfect day to stay that course. Of course, dreams can morph into nightmares that destroy, and every man, woman, girl and boy still strive to awaken from the promise so taken; shaken to our core and what’s more, feeling confused and abused, hated and welling with the same. But, not for long. The strong urge to strike was replaced by the urgent need to care and rescue; to eschew the lowly who strike like thieves in the night. The fight continues to remember the fallen, those called to serve and protect from this sect of humanity bathed in the blood of insanity.

    The phoenix rises.
    From the ash and dust it flies
    upon eagles wings.

  31. Michael Grove

    Bend or Break

    The roots grow wide but not very deep.
    It took far too many centuries, but the willow
    finally learned its‘ lesson. Over on the shore
    just past where the wind is pushed and
    shoved across the water it weeps to this day.
    No one sees it and no one hears it and no one
    will ever care about it. As the wind grows
    louder no one wonders if the bough will
    bend or break.

    creaking or snapping
    strong winds now its’ destiny
    the willow knows not

    By Michael Grove

  32. Michael Grove

    Turn

    A caterpillar is born just as a butterfly passes.
    In an instant one state of consciousness shifts
    to another. Sweet dreams turn into day mares
    in the flutter of an eyelid. There is no rest and
    no peace, only intense empathy coupled
    with tears but still no rain and no relief.

    a rose bush blossomed
    intense heat withered the buds
    only thorns grow there

    By Michael Grove

  33. Michael Grove

    In the Light of Day

    in the light of day much can be seen
    that is not evident in darkness. what is here
    is here and what is there is there and there yet
    nature can change that. still, have fun waiting
    since it has been that way forever. the shadow
    of the rock rolled along as it did once before
    carrying with it the dust and dirt that lies near
    the surface. feel the strong wind as it blows.

    mountains may be moved
    one grain of sand at a time
    in the light of day

    By Michael Grove

  34. Marjory MT

    THE STORM…

    Rain lashes the windows, rivulets of water cascade down the smooth surfaces as branches bend, grass and small bushes are whipped about. Trees sway in a ballerina dance, twigs snap, sail in the wind, then fall to the ground.
    …I watch
    …but I do not
    …hear the storm.
    Branches, leaves, papers and an empty pop can race before the wind, lights blink overhead. Rain danceds on a roof then tumbled down the rain spout to form an ever widening pool.
    …I watch
    …but I do not
    …hear the storm.
    Outside the ebb and flow of the currents breath the storm’s scent and its strength, rain-drops momentarily set suspended on a leaf’s tip. A piece of paper is whipped high in the air. The wind buffets and whips loose strands of hair, sends a spray of water from the eaves.
    …I watch
    …but I do not
    …hear the storm.
    A flash of light, slowly count – then comes the explosion of thunder as it rolls forth. Lightning and thunder’s force play tag across the heaven. The flashing stops. The pounding ceases.
    …I watch
    …but I do not
    …hear the storm.
    Gentle rain caresses the land, the sky clears, the sun peeked though an opening in the clouds and along the upturned bowl of brightening sky a rainbow spins a web.
    …I watch
    …I feel and
    …I live the storm.

    By Marjory M Thompson 9-2012

  35. Michael Grove

    Eradicated

    a butterfly turned into a possum slithering
    under a dark shrub in the garden pending
    destruction before construction and installation
    without design of several flowering plants and
    rocks where there were no roots left as legions
    of spiders had been eradicated by the poisons
    present in the air since the change took place

    suns’ heat so intense
    no cooling breeze for the skin
    no beat of the heart

    By Michael Grove

  36. J.lynn Sheridan

    “Gossamer owls”

    If they had eyes, they would tell you—once he was a warrior, once she was a princess, once he laid a golden egg, once she danced past midnight. But, here they sit in chalk and yesterday’s trousers, the drone of the activity aide attempting a dramatic reading of a Steinbeck short story. The rocking man in the corner—the ancient English professor who can barely sing a tune of Mice and Men, begins to hum. The lady in the tipsy wig and cherry lips warbles an aria she sang in the twenties. The thin man, the Heathcliff look-a-like, the beautiful, the damned, the man who built a house with seven gables in a secret garden, they all croon until the fat lady belts out, “Three Blind Mice.” Their eyes are not eyes at all, but rather floods of an emptiness with not even a drop of wonder.

    Dear mother dear
    vanishing baby blues
    my gossamer owl

  37. taylor graham

    DEPARTURES

    This morning, a tiny frog lies crushed in the road. Remember how frogs would gather on spring evenings, filling their throats with jubilee, mouths wide as golden moons. Gone now, the pond and meadow, the grassy swale where frogs would leap and boom. The air swarms with buzzing wings.

    pond, leaf, frog – three-point
    suspension into silence
    shattered by a leap

  38. taylor graham

    A TINY SPACE

    This used to be the third floor of twenty. Morning after earthquake. A skiff of concrete dust covers chairs and table like morning snow. It’s quiet but for street noise through a shattered window – hammers on concrete, hacksaws cutting rebar, sirens. “Silencio!” Everyone stops to listen for a sound of life. Across this room, a dog sniffs edges of concrete mixed with chair-legs, a blue floral print. The dog’s had enough of death; she crawls under a chunk of ceiling, or is it wall? Has she found an inch of silence, a place almost as small as breath? Space for a prayer to seep between gray slabs.

    on the parapet
    an iridescent pigeon
    spreads its wings to fly

  39. Andrew Kreider

    After the rain

    The months without rain leave the land parched and every soul scarred, burning away lush complacency, killing hope at its roots, until only the bravest of fools are ready to risk again in life, in love.

    when the drought has passed
    a single bird seeks out worms
    in a field of weeds

  40. Mary Mansfield

    Drought Stricken

    Hell descended upon the prairie, bringing with it caustic heat that destroyed crops and ignited tempers. The earth cracked as all life-giving moisture vanished. The natives prayed for relief but their dances around sacred fires only brought sweaty frustration. Finally, one blessed day, the heavens opened and poured out renewing rains, restoring plants, people, and faith.

    Drops of revival
    After an extended drought
    Can soothe a parched soul.

  41. seingraham

    Where Allah’s Children Lay

    The swing-gate guards nothing, is attached to no fence, but is always chained closed just the same. Its wires have turned to rust over the years and it sounds like an animal being harmed the few times it’s opened and closed. Unlike most cemeteries in the area, this one, the Islamic graveyard, is not well-kept; there are weeds and natural wild grasses growing tall between and around all the graves. And the gravestones, the markers, are uniformly the same. No one larger than any other. Except for one headstone that is markedly different; it is huge and stands out – right in the middle of all the other modest, pale, low stones, this monolithic black stone rises like a symbol of something not right. It even sports a perpetual flame…it is hard not to wonder about the how and why of that one. Also the number of plastic flowers, of which there are a plethora. Way outside of town, another feature peculiar to this cemetery —the rest are in-town —with the overgrown wildness plus two water-ways, that are purportedly ponds but are so slough-like and stagnant, they have more in common with swampy bogs – the garish, never-dying flowers seem an affront. One wonders if Allah appreciates such things.

    Low slanted markers
    Allah’s children lay here
    Coyotes gather to howl down a prairie moon.

  42. taylor graham

    Another revision — getting rid of capitals in haiku:

    HAUNTED

    A neon-green ghost floats, dog-level, through moonless October woods – a thin green mist, but darting, a dog following her nose. An old man is missing. They’ve searched since nightfall. The green wand – Cyalume light-stick on dog’s collar – disappears. A forests full of spirits. Deer, snake, rabbit. Boy who runs trails after school. Small girl in search of elves. Old woman caught in blackberry bramble. Scent of deadfall, years of leaf-decay. What lies on the other side of a splintered log?

    twig snaps in the dark
    gnarled roots reach out to grasp
    a light through trees

  43. taylor graham

    Revision to get rid of capitals in the haiku:

    HER TOKENS

    She opens again the long-kept box. A silk tie – blue, Italian – folded in tissue paper; he wore it only once. A picture of the old place before the bombers went over – how carefully a craftsman dovetailed joints, matching wood-grains. Gone. In faded photo, a humpback whale breaching; she still remembers, but can’t quite call to words the incantation of its song. Postcard of an encaustic painted saint – fervent, with a quarter-smile, lips sealed; square inch of silence that lives behind an icon.

    morning after rain –
    in a puddle a small child’s
    footprints dissolving

  44. J.lynn Sheridan

    “Burning memories”

    In the Valley of Boaz where Black Hawk ceded to log cabins, ginghamed and seeded in the browns of horsetails and sour May Apples, where milk and mead mildewed in root cellar cold, and bats craved even a kindling spark, the men drank hope like splinters. It could be a picture book if not for the fireglass brimming with tears.

    memory
    soaked in brandy—
    mind afire

    J.lynn Sheridan

  45. Michael Grove

    Unprepared

    Just as the side window opened a cool
    draft was felt on the floor coming in
    under the front door which was locked
    like before all the cupboards were
    stocked while they mocked the unprepared.

    massive swirling storms
    twist the waters to the soil
    overtaking dust

    By Michael Grove

  46. The Happy Amateur

    THE PLACE

    I find that people do not understand me. They call me a city gal, they think I’m tough. I was born in a city, but I grew up in a “place.”

    It had tall buildings, and broad streets, and an ice skating rink, and a large hill with a winding river running below. In winter the hill became a long, steep slide, and we would whee! all the way down with bottoms glued to pieces of cardboard. In summer the hill was covered in the sunburst of dandelions that made me – a kid with allergies – both happy and miserable.

    The place had an archway, and a sharp turn to the right, that led to a door. And behind that door it kept voices and memories, scents and sounds, touches and tastes, and reality laced with dreams… And that’s where it keeps me now, while a ghost of me wanders elsewhere.

    At the end of light
    An invisible hand guides
    The sheepish clouds home

  47. SheilaM

    Tiny feet splash in rain puddles, and patter through streams that run along concrete curbs. Children enjoy the moment with no fear of it ever ending; with no worry of where it ends. Showers depart too soon, and the joy of living drains into the sewer.

    furrowed brows
    under high pressure heat
    drip with sweat

    by Sheila Moore

  48. The Happy Amateur

    WINTER’S PASSING

    “I want to take you somewhere nice. Someplace where your little tootsies will be warm,” he says. She grins and wiggles her socked feet under a heavy patchwork quilt. It is a long cold winter. From aboard the loft bed of their rented apartment they watch people and days sail by and disappear in the snowy mist. City noises are muffled. Shards of music are falling from above – a neighbor’s kid is taking piano lessons.

    They venture out, and frost nibbles at their noses, and cracked lips make kisses taste salty. They rush back to their harbor, run up two flights of stairs laughing, hungry for food, wine, and each other. In the snowed-in candle-lit darkness they stop moving, savoring the moment, delaying the inevitable. “You are my woman. It was meant to be,” he says with a wild glow in his eyes.

    This winter she – dazed by the brightness of the white rooftops and the unexpectedness of her love – is profoundly, completely happy.

    Spring comes unannounced and dumps buckets of icicle water on the city. Streets wake up with a start, give out a loud yawn, and stretch kicking off the slushy blankets. The rooftops wash themselves black. She does not have to wear socks to bed any longer. Kisses become sweet and scarce. “It is a wonderful part of being in love, but it is not all,” he says straightening the covers. No, it is not all. Not anymore.

    There are other seasons, too. Spring blooms into summer. Summer wilts into autumn. They marry, have kids, and move south. They own a lovely home with a smooth lawn he tends to. They lead a quiet suburban life and do not miss winter. “Way too cold for me,” she says.

    In the hottest months a big old hydrangea flowers below their kitchen window. Every once in a while she abandons her chores and steps outside, closer to the pristine blossoms. She stands very still, listening. All she hears is the soothing buzz of summertime. She nods and, gently brushing her hand against the snowflake clusters, returns to the house.

    Last breath of winter
    Snowflake hydrangea blossoms
    Kisses turn tepid

  49. Michael Grove

    The Porcelain Cup

    Steam swirled off the top of the porcelain cup
    as the black coffee cooled in the early mourn.
    Further down the road in the old tavern
    a shiver ran the spine as ice cubes glistened
    in the midday sun. At the end of the road,
    the rest area held the promise of peaceful relief.

    shadows of the cup
    cast bold icy reflections
    at low light angles

    By Michael Grove

  50. taylor graham

    SPLASH OF SILENCE

    He left his room in disarray – toy cars scattered, coloring books on the floor with broken crayons. He didn’t make his bed this morning. How his mother would like to straighten the sheets, pull up the comforter, and fluff the pillow in its place. She watches at the window as a searcher follows his dog down the street.

    creekwater giggles –
    a deep pool under willow
    dances small debris

  51. creativemetaphor

    Sacred Varanasi

    Mango and white rice
    Senses filled with beauty in
    The land of the gods

    The sweet scent of Brahma Kamal carries on the evening air and mingles with the steam off the tea. Stone steps lead to the river of heaven, offerings of sprinkled with flower petals and floating candles. Women dip in the Ganges, hennaed hands pressed palm to palm and eyes cast down in prayer. Cotton saris, resplendent in bright colors and gold threaded patterns, cling to umber bodies and glisten in the last rays of the sun before it begins the night journey across the far side of the world.

    Orange and lime green sky
    Heaven gazes in envy
    The blessed call this home

    -Andrea Fleming

    1. creativemetaphor

      (forgive me, corrected: )

      Sacred Varanasi

      Mango and white rice
      Senses filled with beauty in
      The land of the gods

      The sweet scent of Brahma Kamal carries on the evening air and mingles with the steam off the tea. Stone steps lead to the river of heaven, offerings of flower petals and floating candles. Women dip in the Ganges, hennaed hands pressed palm to palm and eyes cast down in prayer. Cotton saris, resplendent in bright colors and gold threaded patterns, cling to their bodies and glisten in the last rays of the sun before it begins the night journey across the far side of the world.

      Orange and lime green sky
      Heaven gazes in envy
      The blessed call this home

  52. creativemetaphor

    Huddled Masses

    Dirt and rags on the sidewalk from which two small hands protrude, cupped in hope for what may fall from a passerby’s fingers. Brown eyes, full and round, have seen more in six years than some see in sixty. Three days since the last meal and the hunger isn’t even felt now, only the weakness. Water is plentiful, but always dirty; it’s only a matter of time before sickness sets in.

    This isn’t the way
    The “Dream” was meant to be lived
    In America

    -Andrea Fleming

  53. SarahLeaSales

    Emerald Coast Blues

    Strings of chain restaurants line the streets like dirty laundry on a clothesline, and trash from the transients collect like fermented sewage.
    The affle Houses are open, the dingy windows emitting a pallid, yellow light onto the roads where roadkill might bake for days in the scorching sun. The overnight cashier at CVS harmacy stands like a sentinel as a couple of pot-heads run in, their graffiti-like tattoos streaking past like a Van Gogh painting. They are thieves. One loses a nose ring on the way out.
    It is the wee hour, when half the populace are red-eyed zombies and the other half are just going through the motions of life in a dying town, a town that only manages to stay alive by sucking the life out of everything and everyone.
    The purple shadows cast under the streetlights are like the half-moons that appear below one’s eyes.

    The days are so hot and humid, one feels like they’re walking into a sauna. A chocolate candy bar on break is goo by the time one gets to their car. The blacktop shimmers in the boiling heat.
    The sand on the Bay Bluffs beach below, right past the railroad tracks, where a motley collection of litter is strewn about, is yellow, as if urine from a Mountain Dew drinker saturated it. The water past it is murky, almost as if sewage has seeped in.
    The tower on Scenic Highway, where the homosexuals go to congregate, stands like a Phallic symbol, a giant middle finger to the place that has more churches than any other county in the state; inasmuch as there is a softening of morals here, there is a coarsening of the culture.
    The counterculture is becoming the culture.
    This cesspool is like a whirlpool, making one dizzy with despair.

    The homeless on the corners look like refugees from Manila as the preachers in white shirts, waving Bibles, scream hellfire on the opposite corners, sweat running in rivulets down their red faces.
    The ECAT (Escambia County Area Transit) bus rumbles past them. The interior smells like sweat. Someone runs over one of the many potholes that cover the streets of the city like old acne scars. A copy of the Pensacola News Journal lies abandoned on one of the cracked vinyl seats. Shooting in Brownsville is the lead story.
    A McDonald’s sign is advertising the McRib Sanwich. Spelling is optional here, because after all, who would notice?
    Our cashier, one of the many drones that populate this place, rides this bus daily. What would take twenty minutes by car takes an hour by bus. She lives in the Warrington area, where the military live. It looks like Detroit. Many buildings are abandoned, ready to be condemned. There are no trees.
    The ValuePlace across town on Pine Forest Road, one of those pay by the week lodges, has been evacuated, for a couple of meth-heads have just blown up a lab.
    It has started to rain. Hurricanes visit like an annoying relative, leaving a horrendous mess in their wake, except the mess is cleaned up just enough to get by. Tree limbs are left to rot, like human limbs on the battlefield.
    She opens a dirt-streaked window. Sometimes when the wind blows, she can smell the foul odor emanating off the paper plant out in Cantonment. She clutches her plastic gallon jug of water, as the water in Escambia County is the worst in the country.
    The sun goes down, but the heat remains.
    No, one doesn’t have to die to go to hell if they live in Pensacola, and if they go into the Ensley Wal-Mart in the middle of the night, they’re in the hottest part of it.

    Armpit of the South,
    a prideless anthem I sing,
    and elsewhere I dream.

  54. creativemetaphor

    Daily News

    The news isn’t the same in a war zone. Casualties list like weather reports, facts without emotion; any day you don’t know the names is a good one. Not every pop and boom is worthy of the front page, only the unusual or extreme are bothered with. Even then, news spreads throughout the city by the time the print is run, a record of the past rather than a herald of the present. Or sometimes, one of the literate will buy a paper and read it aloud to his neighbors over hand-rolled cigarettes and black market liquor to cut the cold and dull the nerves.

    Children were playing
    When an IED went off
    Report seven dead

    -Andrea Fleming

  55. Nancy Posey

    Or to depart from first person (who me? Fifty-ish? Grey?):

    Gray Shades of Fifty

    She didn’t mind the lines in the corners of her eyes, though she’d love to smooth those cavernous creases between her brows, marks of reading and deep reverie masquerading as worry, as discontent. She fights the rising needle of the scales, choosing to take the stairs, but not the extra bread with butter, to run when she would rather walk. The gray she never minded, not even those first wisps appearing at her right temple, now outnumbering the brunette still listed on her license.

    Her badge of wisdom
    attained by reaching fifty.
    She has earned her stripes.

  56. Nancy Posey

    Gray Shades of Fifty

    I don’t mind the lines in the corners of my eyes, though I’d love to smooth those cavernous creases between my brows, marks of reading and deep reverie masquerading as worry, as discontent. I fight the rising needle of the scales, choosing to take the stairs, but not the extra bread with butter, to run when I would rather walk. The gray I’ve never minded, not even those first wisps appearing at my right temple, now outnumbering the brunette still listed on my license.

    My badge of wisdom
    attained by reaching fifty.
    I have earned my stripes

  57. creativemetaphor

    Widow’s Walk

    The crack of the hull carried even above the howl of the wind; the sea’s teeth tearing plank from plank as against the rocks the ship was lost. From shore rose a wail, women who would ne’er again see husband or son drawn down into the bosom of the water.

    There beneath the waves
    Where the water babies play
    Dance the six blue men

    -Andrea Fleming

  58. RJ Clarken

    Vesti la giubba

    The Dawn probe departed the huge asteroid known as Vesta. Their bonds of gravity have been broken. Half-lit by sunlight (or maybe a billion blazing Fresnels) photographs have revealed a rocky surface full of craters. Put on your costume, powder your face. A new journey now begins. In this second act, a vast stage full of glittering stars will trail in the wake. It’s show time: Onward, Ceres.

    the show must going on
    put on your spacesuit and fly
    the universe waits

    ###

    1. RJ Clarken

      Sorry – my mind is totally ocular today (since I’m studying ophthalmic science texts while writing this, while the kidlets are ‘celebrating’ their first day of 7th grade.) In any event, here’s the corrected version:

      Vesti la giubba

      The Dawn probe departed the huge asteroid known as Vesta. The bonds of gravity had been broken. Half-lit by sunlight (or maybe a billion blazing Fresnels) a collection of photographs of the surface revealed a rocky terrain full of craters. Put on your costume, powder your face. A new journey begins. In this second act, a vast stage full of glittering stars trails in the wake. It’s show time: Onward, Ceres.

      the show must going on
      put on your spacesuit and fly
      the universe waits

      ###

  59. JWLaviguer

    As the sun dips below the horizon, the night is anxious to burst forth. The anticipation in the air is palpable, and the bullfrog is the first to make himself known. His song is sweet, yet lonely, until the cicadas join in the chorus. The horned-rim owl asks whoooo, and the crickets reply. Night music under the stars, at peace with the universe.

    A cool summer night
    We listen
    And are one with it

    J.W. Laviguer

  60. seingraham

    Perfectly White

    The cortege emerges from the fog as if by magic, a gleaming white hearse in the lead. Grave-diggers exchange glances – a white hearse? What’s with that? They look away, remember the smallish hole they were instructed to lay open in the soft earth, lean on the back-hoe, try to become invisible. The parade of cars is not very long; three cars counting the hearse, stopped now, the back door opened like a one-winged butterfly. More whiteness. A small, almost tiny, coffin is being slid out and four people surround the wee box – just patting the thing, murmuring, smoothing the pristine top. One, a woman with wild hair, dressed head-to-toe in black, falls to her knees suddenly, embracing the coffin, sobbing. The rest stand back awkwardly; no-one seems to know quite what to do next.

    a small gathering
    a soul unformed
    one perfect rosebud

  61. seingraham

    It’s All a Bunch Of Hooey

    So, her mother called me late last night, says she’s back in the nuthouse – not the old lady, my kid – this must be what – the tenth or eleventh time? I don’t know, who keeps track, not me, that’s for sure. Don’t know why Lois thinks I want to know, I think she does it just to annoy me, not the kid, although that’s always a possibility. I’ve often thought she did that crazy act just to break her mother and me up but that’s not what I meant. No, I think Lois likes ringing me up in the middle of the damn night just to scare the hell out of me – you know what it’s like, you hear your phone ringing in the dark, you figure somebody’s croaked for sure – I should be used to it by now; the kid never pulls one of her stunts at a normal hour, no, no, – that’d be too easy. What am I sayin’ is, that kid never made anybody’s life easy except hers…Every time things weren’t going her way she’d just shut down, climb into bed, and stay there, wouldn’t get up for anything and if we tried to make her – well shit, she tried to off herself… Not really – at least I don’t think she meant it ‘cause one of us always found her in time and got her to the hospital but it got her a reputation you know? As a sicko, some kind of a nut-case or something. Not for a minute was I buying that load of crap. There was nothing like that in my family – well my mother got a little strange in her later years but hey, she was old alright? That happens to old people lots of them. Didn’t mean she was nuts, right? And look at me – perfectly fine – nothing wrong with my head. And Lois, she has her ways – grant it – but nothing whack-o; nothing you could point at and say, well – that’s insane, no wonder your kid is nuts, it figures. No, there’s no way in hell that kid is really crazy I can tell you that; and now her mother is telling me, they want to commit her indefinitely? I say good, let them. Maybe it’ll teach her a lesson – it’s like that story : the watchamacallit, “boy who called wolf” story? Remember that one? Yeah – like maybe if she’s locked up for a good bit, she won’t be so quick to take too many pills again. Although her mother says it wasn’t an overdose this time, she says this time, she cut herself pretty bad – I stopped listening as soon as she started talking about blood but I did hear her say something about the slashes being vertical and that didn’t sound too good; even I know vertical wrist slashes are harder to stop from bleeding. Hey – I watch ER and stuff – I’m not a complete moron, you know. But sheesh – it’s not like it’s her first time; she knew what she was doing… probably has it worked out to the second how long it takes the emergency guys to get there – be too bad the day she estimates wrong, huh? Or maybe not – she’s sure a pain in the ass with all this drama all the time. She’s driving me nuts, I can tell you that much, and I don’t even live with her.

    Family ties
    DNA blessings
    In the dark a phone rings.

  62. Marjory MT

    Riding the ocean waves, sunbeams play like rainbow jewels across the watery spray. Ship’s wake spreads endlessly, dolphins play, a lone whale humps and a bequiling school of fish jumps. On distant rocky point, a lone beacon’s steady flash speaks of lurking enemies. The sun descends in fiery display, the moon rises to bathe the world in day’s afterglow and a gentle breeze surprises thoughts of love sown beyond the sea.

    Channel’s marker bobs
    with current as dark-eyed seals
    glide silently past.
    .
    Marjory M Thompson

  63. Marjory MT

    Moving towards the day’s ending, riding the ocean waves, we watch in peace as sunbeams play like rainbow jewels across the watery spray. The ship’s wake spreads endlessly while dolphins play, a lone whale humps and a school of fish jumps beguiling fishermen to return another day. On a distant rocky point a lone beacon’s steady flash sends boaters warnings of hidden enemies lurking to trap the unsuspecting. With the sun’s fiery descent the moon rises to bathe the world in day’s afterglow and a gentle breeze surprises thoughts of soft love seeds sown in distant lands.

    Channel’s marker bobs
    with current as dark eyed seals
    watch the ship’s passing.

    Marjory M Thompson

  64. Marjory MT

    As you linger in the land of dreams, the sun will rise to bathe your window-sill before it comes to me, so I sit and watch the moon’s soft flow while keeping the night birds company, waiting.

    thoughts of you
    come to bathe me with
    afterglow

    Marjory M Thompson

    1. Marjory MT

      “…The prose poem usually describes a scene or moment in an objective manner. ”

      Hummm…. I think I missed the ‘..objective manner” on this one. :)

  65. Terri French

    Chicken Scratchings
    A haibun by Terri L. French

    I dream that I am the narrator of a television documentary about exotic chickens. The kind that look like Rod Stewart in drag. I awake mid-dream and reach for the pad and pen I keep on my bedside table. Leaning into a spot of moon glow on the pillow, I scrawl a few words to jar my memory in the morning–sunrise filtered through Venetian blinds tends to obscure dreams. When the alarm goes off at 7 a.m., I wipe sleep from my eyes and read the words.What seemed to make perfect sense in the middle of the night now is totally nonsensical. I trace the lines in my hands, probe the bumps on my head, consult the tattered dream dictionary I’ve had since the 70’s, trying to read some symbolic meaning into the midnight makings of my muddled mind. Then I remember. . .I ate chicken for dinner last night and the moon was full.

    eggs for breakfast
    the orange juice
    came first

  66. tjholt

    Haibun for the Ages

    They’re all aged, add the years up and you’re back to the fall of Rome or at the colonization of Mars, depending on which direction you choose. Individuals with the weight of history wait for lunch. They discuss arrangements for a party next month though uncertain if they can make it the fifteen minutes for the lunch to be served.

    colorful leaves fall
    their fire perfuming the air
    with scents of lilacs

  67. taylor graham

    Haunted

    A neon-green ghost floats, dog-level, through moonless October woods – a thin green mist, but darting, a dog following her nose. An old man is missing, we’ve been searching since nightfall. I try to keep up as the green wand – Cyalume light-stick on her collar – disappears again. I remember other forests full of spirits. Deer, snake, rabbit. Boy who ran trails after school. Man who hanged himself from an oak. Small girl in search of elves. Old woman caught in blackberry bramble. Scent of deadfall, years of leaf-decay. My dog ranges ahead, I watch for her green shimmer, and shine my flashlight on the ground ahead. Step over a log. What lies on the other side? My dog will tell me.

    Owl hoots in the dark.
    Gnarled roots reach out to grasp. One
    small light through the trees.

  68. Marie Elena

    IMPLOSION

    Slowly, methodically, fear rips her from herself. Fear of being with people. Fear of being alone. Fear of travel. Fear of going nowhere. Fear of opinions of others. Fear of her own thoughts. Fear of what she knows. Fear of what she knows not. Fear of music. Fear of books. Fear of her beloved NY Times crosswords. Fear of putting pen to paper. Fear of putting brush to canvas. Fear of diagnosis. Fear of no diagnosis. Fear of God. Fear of no God. Fear of voices. Fear of silence. Fear of death. Fear of life. I loathe the illness, as I witness my precious daughter’s implosion. Yet, when one cannot stand to be in one’s own skin for another moment in time, to where does one implode? A small measure of relief comes in the form of medication, accompanied by its own miserable, alarming effects. She and I, nearly six hundred miles apart, share the same cosmos … the same need for answers.

    vast universe
    hushed moon
    sheds no light

      1. Marie Elena

        Thank you so much, Terri! That means a lot to me.

        And btw, I commented on your comical piece before I saw that you had commented on mine. (Just don’t want you thinking it was less than sincere, or just a returned favor. :) )

  69. Walt Wojtanik

    BASHO’S BALANCE

    White clouds drift as winds shift to propel their flight. As night approaches, it encroaches upon the light of day. There is balance in nature and its stature is tall and proud. A yin/yang completed; words depleted into the silent void of thought, dancing on the realm of a conscious mind. The white crane stands upon one leg and begs to remain upright. There is balance in nature. The sparrow mother returns to her nest for the best possible reason. It is perched, nestled on the reaching branch – immovable. There is balance in nature. Young child stares intently, gently keeping watch over the army of ants in motion. Such devotion in ones so small. There is balance in nature.

    Ancient man of words
    seeing the earth’s poetry
    in balance of life.

  70. cstewart

    I am guessing it does not matter if we do 5,7,5.

    Haibun poem 1

    Early one morning, there was a half-sphere in the sky. It was an effusion of pinks and purples fading into a light blue. This looked like an area of spray paint. To the left was a completely different exhibit, a small area of a few lined clouds. Then off to the right, was another unrelated expression of blue and white clouds, holding their shape momentarily.

    within the whole
    great differences exist
    unlike each other

  71. JWLaviguer

    A life given selflessly is not a small thing. It is the ultimate sacrifice to give one’s life for one’s country, and yet there are those who refuse to acknowledge the importance of that. We fight, and sometimes die, to preserve every freedom that you enjoy in this violent world. I will never understand those who protest military funerals, but I acknowledge them and their right to do so. That’s why we serve.

    These colors don’t run
    Honor, duty, courage; all
    Ask you for nothing

    J.W. Laviguer

  72. Misky

    Cycles

    If every departed soul returns to us as a bird, to chirp, to call, to cry, to sing, then these fields ploughed under late summer sun are death’s release, and we are born to the air and wing to soar.

    Each departed soul
    Returns to us on light wing
    Kohl clouds aflutter

    ++++

    Marilyn Braendeholm

  73. pmwanken

    COMING HOME, TO SAY GOODBYE

    Coming home this time has been different. Tractors still pull equipment through the endless miles of black earth, warm breezes still speak to me through the maple outside my window. Conversations still center on the forecast and how it will impact farmers. And Mom is still there, busying herself with the next project.

    Yet…my eyes also see the two decades of growth in that maple tree; my ears hear the voices of my peers talking about the weather—not the generation before us. And Mom’s busyness is for her, a distraction.

    seasonal changes ~
    while my eyes were turned away,
    life continued on

  74. pmwanken

    TRUE COLORS

    The autumn skies bring earth’s tears of relief for some, grief for others. Trees once patient and long-suffering have succumbed to the drought. They stand, out of place in their changing colors. A long, hot summer has taken its toll. Others, more resilient, more firmly rooted, are washed anew and drink in that which will help sustain them further.

    red, orange, brown, green ~
    one’s true colors can be seen
    as the seasons change

  75. goldmiel

    seven haibun by Mel Goldberg

    I saw her obituary and remember her from high school. We walked to school together holding hands and kissed in the hallways when we thought no one was looking. Her smile made me feel excited yet peaceful. But fifty years later I can no longer remember exactly what she looked like.

    Her face
the fading ripples
in a pond

    I have a one-sided conversation with my father as I stand at his grave in a light rain. He once told me he would live to be a hundred but he died at eighty-three. We often argued when he was alive and I thought it would be easier now he is silent, but I have only three words to say. “I love you.”

    raindrops
    each one for
    a lost soul

    My father was a simple man, a laborer, who always said I should learn a trade in addition to having a college education. He told me, “You always need something to fall back on.” So he taught me to paint signs and buildings and many weekends and summers I worked with him although I hated it, especially when the weather was cold or damp.

    a teacher of literature
    I ride into the future
    on my father’s shoulders

    We finish the final prayers as we smell the food prepared for our meal. Plates of sliced brisket and fish, potatoes, bagels and lox with onions and capers, salads and desserts. We wait for the rabbi to say the prayer over the bread and wine, each take a small piece of challah and a sip of the sweet liquid, and then prepare to feast to end the fast of Yom Kippur.

    we join the souls
    who have repeated this ritual
    dead five thousand years

    Many years ago having your photograph enameled on the reverse side of a small, oval hand mirror was a popular and romantic thing to give as a gift. When my father was a young man, he had his photo sealed on one side of a such a mirror and gave it to my mother before they were married. After my parents died, I discovered my father’s photograph-mirror among his mementos.

    photo mirror
    both sides
    my father’s face

    Where I live sunrise doesn’t occur until about 7:15. The creative writing class I teach begins at 7:00. Our large windows face the east and each day we stop what we are doing to watch the sun rise over the woods and lake.

    watching sunrise
    from the classroom
    we become haiku

    The great cathedral dwarfs the Plaza de Armas in Cuzco, Peru. Inside, a few people sit in the pews and a young man kneels before then icon of the Mother and Child, both of whom have been painted with Inca faces with high cheekbones and sharp noses. As I enter the doorway, I am drawn to the massive painting of The Last Supper, done in 1753 by Marcos Zapata, a Peruvian artist, taught to paint religious works by Spanish painters. Zapata introduced native elements into his art. His rendering of the The Last Supper shows Jesus and his disciples around a table laid with guinea pig (cuy), and glasses of (a fermented Inca drink used during festivals and other rituals(chicha).

    drinking chicha
    and eating cuy
    the last supper

  76. Misky

    Remembering You

    I am home, just two days away from you, but I’ve travelled across harvest-stubbled fields that still smoke and smoulder in wisps, across creeks clearer than glass, across hills that winter will cover with snow like bosomy rounds, through tunnels where the secrets of water are kept from wavering eyes, passed cows and goats that hint of cheese, and beyond the sound of your sleep that rattles like pebbles on the beach as you breathe.

    September sun glares
    Home is where your heart remains
    Autumn comes just once

  77. jane hoover

    In the cooling shade the meadow waits for walkers, runners, Labradors and baby strollers. Even cardinals exchange their greeting above the early footsteps moving through. Each creature absorbs the vibrancy of another blue sky morn, full of potential pathways toward tomorrow.

    no lock sufficient
    to secure the push of dawn
    opening to life

    Jane Penland Hoover

  78. Walt Wojtanik

    CRICKET

    Night falls, and all comes to rest as best as can be allowed. The shroud of Autumn lurks and works its way into this scene. Serene and sedate. The late summer air is soothed by symphonic sounds. A soft chirp begins the overture, and it’s for sure that it will play until morning. The strains are lilting, never wilting or reaching crescendo, a slow and steady melody. Music of the night.

    hidden musician
    playing through the gentle night
    delight in your song

  79. Walt Wojtanik

    AND THEN THE RAINS…

    Sultry Summer arid, an acrid taste left. Bereft of precipitation for irrigation and recreation. My irritation with brown grass has placed a bug so far up my ass-umed gentile demeanor. This drought is out of control, and not a soul can do a thing about it. I doubt it will be resolved before winter’s biting breath. We’ll probably freeze to death before we get wet. If my sense of humor gets any drier, Richard Pryor will turn over in his grave. Will we be saved?

    Rains begin to fall
    Offering little relief.
    No redemption here!

  80. Misky

    ETERNAL

    When fingers touch, a glance is caught, when lips meet, to taste, to see, to feel. These small moments that we have together, flashes of eternity, caught forever in this timeless wind, a mirage reflecting what we were, what we are and what we shall be. To choose and be chosen. All is choice; it is our only possession, and yet we choose to cling like drying twigs to our eternity and yesterday. We are small memories that linger long and remain in the breeze that you wake with your breath.

    Rings encircle hearts
    Family trees lose fewer leaves
    We loved and we’re loved

  81. tjmuta

    The sand, it forms between fleshy toes and swallows up the walking feet, pulling them toward the cool blue bowl of salty life, the setting of so many a tale by aspiring Man. Here I am, Poseidon, standing on your shores! Here I am, Zeus, on your rocky beach! Prometheus himself still waits here, as we watch the Titan snuff the Sun, his chariot meets the horizon. He says farewell to a warm-hued sky, imbued with the reflection of nightly waves, inspiring the likes of poet and painter.

    The sand meets water
    Where Time greets the dying man–
    World’s apart; so close.

  82. tjmuta

    The Pencil

    Such a noble piece of blackened lead and natural wood, dyed to resemble the vibrancy needed to illume the thoughts abstract, and pen the fleeting necessity in an earthy tone of neutral grey to transpose the thoughts of Everyman, and his inspirations of every noble kind.

    Scribble, scratch and sing,
    Dancing down the paper lines
    Of some meager hope.

  83. tjmuta

    Modernism

    The house built on sand has blown away; those on rock have crumbled; giving way for a new generation of modern steel and falsely alloyed plastics. And Reason, the light for the minds of Old, has been championed at last after centuries, though we now can say:

    Civil cruelty–
    Steely fortress puffing smoke,
    Void of heaven’s passion.

  84. tjmuta

    Music

    I once awoke, I thought, to a vocal strain, a dream I had then quickly lost, of a faceless poet that said to me a certain lyrical phrase; through a musical voice only wordsmiths could say, for he knew of the way that spirited music plays:

    Not of banal mind
    Rhythm does profusely sing
    To wanton spirits.

    A parable, no doubt, so what does it mean? I dreamily asked. So he said to me still cryptically:

    Music needs no tone,
    Only plucking of heartstrings
    to surpass all time.

    I awoke, for reality found me me….Certainly such is the essence of the music of the poem.

  85. taylor graham

    Her Tokens

    She opens again the long-kept box. A silk tie – blue, Italian – folded in tissue paper; he wore it only once. A picture of the old place before the bombers went over – how carefully a craftsman dovetailed joints, matching wood-grains. Gone. In faded photo, a humpback whale breaching; she still remembers, but can’t quite call to words the incantation of its song. Postcard of an encaustic painted saint – fervent, with a quarter-smile, lips sealed; square inch of silence that lives behind an icon.

    After last night’s rain,
    in a puddle, a small child’s
    footprints dissolving.

  86. ChristineA

    Labor Day in Texas

    Clear skies and 100 degrees of sun look down on the fading, dragonfly afternoon. Two children are jumping from one inflated kiddie pool into another, ending with mini cannonballs, splashing most of the water out of the pool as they land. The sky above is filled with dragonflies- huge and surreal, they skirt about the suburban backyard. “Dinner’s ready”, is called from the back porch.

    The splashing subsides-
    Buzzing wings of one hundred
    Dragonflies at dusk

  87. Bruce Niedt

    “Baseball haiku” is a legitimate sub-genre of the form – the Japanese have been writing it since they fell in love with the sport in the late 19th century. And Jack Kerouac, of all people, was the first to write it in English. So I figured, why not a “baseball haibun”?

    Twenty Games Back

    It isn’t for lack of trying. Their white-and-red uniforms are smeared with grass stains and dirt from diving and sliding. Their gloves are well-worn, and their bats crack loud as anyone’s, when they crack at all.

    home team scoreboard
    a long line of zeroes
    blue moon overhead

    Second full moon of August hangs over the stadium, a giant fly ball moving on an imperceptible upward arc into the evening. No one will catch it. Banks of lights throw a harsh glare on the field.

    center field flags
    flap in humid night breeze
    no pennant this year

  88. Michael Grove

    Unwavering Effort
    (A Haibun)

    A pair of seagulls took turns swooping down
    at the dying fish as it flapped helplessly
    on the surface of the lake. Finally, one
    snatched the meal in its’ beak and flew South
    as the other turned and headed North.

    amidst calm chaos
    weaknesses are exploited
    diligence survives

    By Michael Grove

  89. Imaginalchemy

    I hope I’ve done this correctly…this is based on a news article I saw today…

    “Broken”

    That was the day the world stopped making any sense. It was when she lifted the lid of the curb-side trash can, and she saw the baby. It was wrapped up in a bloody bundle, a small bluish hand peeking out from the crimson linen, as if it had tried to claw its way free of its trappings. She stared at it, quite sure that this was some trick, for surely the world would not allow such barbarism, such cruelty. This was not how the world worked. This was not what the world condoned. Yet, there the tiny vessel of voided flesh remained, even after denial and disbelief argued otherwise. That was when she knew, the world no longer made sense. And if it didn’t make sense, maybe she could put the lid back down, and the awfulness inside would go away.

    Too much is broken
    Denial and Disbelief
    Can’t repair or mend

  90. Marie Elena

    CALLING

    When a mother’s phone insistently wakes her from sound sleep, her ears may hear a ring, but her heart hears urgency. It catches in her throat, as she raises the receiver to greet the caller in as calm a voice as she can muster. She knows before the completion of the one-syllable “Mom” just how critical the situation. If the call is particularly unsettling, her legs, arms, and core quiver. Her body temperature noticeably lowers. As her heart listens, it raises its voice to the heavens, pleading for intervention. For healing. For peace. For strength. For grace for the moment, and wisdom for the journey. But mostly for the journey to end with the swallowing of her heart.

    tranquil dreams
    a ring breaches
    she swallows her heart

  91. jlcannon

    Before Sleep

    Waiting in the sun
    Dazzled when you come in sight
    I open like a bloom.

    Music flowed over us; I looked at your profile and determined not to drown. When I sent a note with no flourishes, it began on a summer weekend.

    Mid-seasons slipped past us blurring. Looking back puts big things and small in relief, but the background that supports them becomes almost invisible.

    Decades stack up like favorite books on the shelf until the switch is touched, and darkness falls.

    Into the pool of
    Sorrow drops the diamond
    Of how you loved me.

  92. Connie Peters

    Treasured

    I have always held disdain for flowery poems about mother, exalting them for their love, hard work and perfection. No angel shines brighter. No martyr sacrificed with such conviction. No humanitarian served with such compassion. Gag me.

    Son gave me bronze plaque
    Mother poem gushing praises
    Treasured forever

  93. Walt Wojtanik

    TOPIC OF CANCER

    Ravenous beast, feasting on humanity. The insanity you propose makes us all disposable. Lord knows, there are other maladies of which to succumb, but none as insidious; a hideous affliction with human flesh as your addiction. No chemical or radiant burn can heal you when you steal years and hearts. It starts deep within and begins it destruction. Devouring and depleting, they can stem your tide, but there’s no defeating your vile smile.

    Many fell to you,
    and more are yet to follow.
    Hard pill to swallow.

  94. Walt Wojtanik

    ELEGANCE AND GRACE

    She walks unencumbered where one he had lumbered and stood. A good man lost to the world, leaving her soul yearning and giving a burning sensation in her brain. It will never be the same. And yet, she walks in elegance and grace, her face hidden in a forbidden tear. He is not here to share her heart. At the start they vowed never to be far, barring the unforeseen. But this scene is missing incomplete, as her feet shuffle and keeps her perpetual in her motion. She has a notion they will meet again, face-to-face in elegance and grace.

    Without him she walks
    within his long memories.
    Shadows of her mind.

  95. Walt Wojtanik

    MR. CHIN’S CHI

    Its sound intones across the field, long and resonant; strong. Mr. Yashiro Chin begins his ritual with one solid gong. Its song is universal; one with the world filling all that surrounds him with the chi of life. It is of the earth, and through the earth. The day begins; each day the same way. Mr. Chin becomes the mighty oak, grounded firmly and drawing his strength from his root. As the sky changes he arranges his arms to welcome the sun’s healing ray. Swaying, his ballet begins. Master Chin in harmony.

    Sharing the wisdom
    of generations, Tai Chi
    Master Chin, begins.

  96. Walt Wojtanik

    RETREAT FROM SHORE

    The crash of waves still resounds long after I have left the shore. Screech and creel of the gulls bantering last good-byes knowing their time here will end soon as well. Sunsets assume a brilliant vibrancy, painted with wide swatches of reds, and oranges aglow, the harbinger of an oncoming storm. The wind is warm, and the sands still bake with diminished heat. The spray of surf remembers the summers past, and it strivess for one more chance to shine.

    Horizon aglow,
    the sun sets offering warmth,
    muted autumn waits.

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