As I wrote last Thursday, I’m celebrating NaPoWriMo (Poem a Day Writing Month) by writing haiku and prose in haibun. The entries below are yesterday’s attempts. The numbers communicate how many I’ve written so far.
Many days I pass the same man begging. I know his name now—Jimmy—and he often asks for money by saying, “Make Jimmy happy.” Though I’m sure I can’t, I give him a dollar, easy enough for me to spare, a greater source of relief for him than for me. When he shakes my hand, I feel the leather of his palm—winter, summer, a life outside I don’t know. When I smile, he recognizes the sign and smiles back.
His eyes never smile.
sun takes cover—buildings
won’t hold light back
One day, walking to work, having just given Jimmy his dollar, another pedestrian doubled back from just ahead of me.
“You shouldn’t be giving him money!” he said.
I said nothing.
“He spends it on crack! He’s a crack-head. I know. I was on it too, and he said, ‘Give me some money, I’ll bust your ass!’”
Anger streamed from him. His expression stretched, neither smile, nor snarl, nor surprise. He touched me on the upper arm.
“Sure,” I said, “I hear you.”
waiting for clearance—the street
slick with weeping
I suppose it’s nothing special that after some runs—during the time I was really running—steam rose from my shoulders and chest as it does from horses. I felt like an animal.
What must I do to have that moment happen again?
from the lake’s horizon and
your voice blunders into quiet—
we both know now
I wonder if you sensed us stepping around you. The evening creeping from the sliding glass door drew the ornate shadow of the la-z-boy’s reach. Your neck, vulnerable, rolled like a snake to the side. You snored.
“let statues lie,”
she said, as if choice lay
In another life as a sleeper, I run from words. They seem too plain to evoke. They define and refine until they speak exactly. Say what you will of abstraction, it eludes reality and the relentless chore of logic.
from the window,
a rectangle of light, marking
a far wall
In a recent dream, I spoke to the freshly departed. They entered the room one at a time and greeted me as old friends even when we’d barely spoken. I tried to be polite, offering what I had, which, in this dream, was a pair of mittens and a broken wine glass—the base, the stem, and half the blossom.
open books, smiling pages
Finally I settled with someone I didn’t know, exchanging phrases and listening enough to pick up the twisted thread of precedents.
you read loss,
lines of levels dropping—
Closing time arrived. I rose to leave. I shook a hand I wasn’t certain I knew. I left a card on a table, sure it wasn’t mine.