Here it is. My first eChapbook available on Kindle. Thanks, Mary Ellen Gambutti and Jo-Anne Rosen for your help with getting this published. The book includes tanka prose and haibun written over the past two years. It’s been a long time coming but I think the timing is right. Wasn’t ready until now. Here’s the link.
The walking man studies the footprints he’s made in the freshly-fallen snow, footprints meandering back through time, back through time with his thoughts. There he finds a boy playing by a stream, happy as a boy can be. He walks over and says, “Hello.” The boy doesn’t hear. He wants to say “remember this” but all he can do is watch for a while as the child works his way along the bank and finally out of sight.
His thoughts lead back to a grassy field where a young man tosses hay bales onto a wagon. The man in the snow wants to shout “be careful” but again can only watch as the farm cart passes by. He knows the young man has no reason to listen to the wind. Turning up his collar, he shrugs away the cold.
Blowing snow is covering his tracks. He’s watching them fade away. He searches for what is left of her, her footprints in the snow. He wants to tell her “I’m sorry” but the footprints just aren’t there. The trail’s gone cold and he’s walking alone on his way back home in a blizzard.
recollections . . .
layers of settling dust
on the bookshelves
begin to obscure
Atlas Poetica #37
“The earth is flat. Only seabirds hearken to the sea and men fall off the edge. The king may hear his wise ones then chop off all their heads. The fool will always be a fool. The map is the terrain; nothing else exists.”
I wrap my fingers
in her mane . . .
we flee the castle
and the scent of bullshit
slowly fades away
we found each other
in that moment
breaking over the rails,
that moment that swept us
into the sea
If stumbling into misadventure is an art form then we mastered it long ago. Yes, time has passed, and yes, the distance between us is greater than ever. Still, I remember our love of music, our kindred affection for stories, and how we could cry together and laugh in almost a single breath. I can remember that day we danced to Zydeco for hours as the little time we had left together seemed to skip a beat. I remember our happiest moments as if they are happening now.
Were there warning signs? Who knows? What I do know is that the dream imploded as a result of its own design. What remains are simply fragments of that dream. Still, those fragments speak to me, defying the constraints of time. They speak to me of a vision that was, and will always be, a lighthouse on the island in my mind.
born of desire
I cast my net
into the reflection
you left in ripples
on the surface of the stream
Haibun Today, Volume 13, Number 2, June 2019
I’ve taken the highway, that path that leads from here to there, from anywhere to everywhere it seems. Over mountains and valleys, across rivers and streams, I’ve hitched my way through cities and deserts, from ocean to ocean, back home and away again. I’ve stood by the road in the pouring rain, cars rolling by with somewhere to go. Each time I look in a rear-view mirror, mile markers passing by, my thoughts drift back to where I started, when time was on my side.
There is always somewhere to go, something on my mind, even if that something is nothing more than venturing into the unknown. I’ve walked away from pain and into the arms of love, each time the load a little bit larger, the wind a little bit stronger. It seems there is no end in sight; the magic mountains are just out of reach. So, I buy a map at a local gas station, open it up, and to my delight, find it crisscrossed with roads.
a car radio crackles . . .
the soles of my shoes
with a mind of their own
Straightening a bent nail is not a very common skill these days, but growing up in the Great Depression, Grandpa knew a thing or two about recycling. He had a coffee can in the toolshed filled with bent nails. Every so often, he would put us to work straightening them out. From 16 penny nails to finishing nails, each was meticulously hammered back into shape. We took great pride in our work. When all the nails in the can were straight and sorted, he would pay us a dollar.
My other grandfather—a baker—also taught us to recycle. He would wash all the used bread bags and save them along with their wire twist-ties. There was a drawer in the kitchen dedicated to each. He would use the bags over and over to wrap his freshly-baked bread and other goodies.
It’s been a long time since I’ve straightened a nail or washed a bread bag. Still, I have a box of reclaimed nails and screws in the house and will wash out zip-lock bags for reuse on occasion. I’ll always remember those simpler days, days less cluttered with excess plastic and the urge to throw things away.
pilgrimage to paradise …
each step another footprint
in the grass
|The poet eases into his favorite chair, fingers waiting eagerly for a puff of imagination to settle onto the keys. One-by-one, each digit moves and slowly a dance ensues.|
He searches for his partner. The muse alights in his mind. They step out onto the page and begin to twirl.
the storybook begins
with “once upon a time”
from there we’re left to find a way
to weave our dreams
between the lines
many yesterdays ago
there lived a pair on a hill
he walked each day to the spring
to fetch her a cup
milady, your hands
fit into mine
as stars fit into the sky . . .
if this is all a dream
then please try not to wake me
one . . .
First published: Haibun Today Volume 13, Number 1, March 2019