Once again, as part of NaPoWriMo (Poem a Day Writing Month) I’m offering haiku and prose in haibun. I have one more Thursday in April. The entries below are attempts from the last few days. The numbers communicate how far I’ve traveled in this exercise.
folding a sheet
under a half-moon—a sail
and light put away
As probably everyone does, I turn my pillow to find its cool side. My new posture—collecting the compressed mass under my head and resting on my ribs—discovers my heartbeat, pounding like a wake to a shore.
you maybe said
time was near—I heard bells
Getting up never seems easy. Slow or fast or delayed or denied, it ruins two states. Dreams end in cataclysm and consciousness starts in shock. I suppose in some past the transition was gentle, dawning birds and light and warmth, but I don’t know that.
steps echo from the corner—
the day’s first words
skid in my throat—I collect
sound to speak
You told me not to say it, not in words but in your expression—a starched smile, eyes barely alive—and still I went ahead. Light dimmed. The sun seemed hooded through blinds, and shadows strained to reach across the carpet.
a crow shows one eye—looking
or not, who knows?
Nanette Wagoner couldn’t like me, and I knew that, should have known that. Something set her on, and, in three days, she sent me note after note filled with words. I only knew her face and didn’t read the messages really, just weighed their length and followed the loops of letters to the end. One day, she’d be taller than I would, I saw that. We shared no classes, but when she laughed just inside my hearing, the sound buzzed in my chest.
If she liked me, I would like her.
what a wonder
day falls—the sun drowning
over and over
Of course she lost interest, but the notes anchored a drawer for years, proof of appeal, a place.
I stole a large canvas laundry bin from my dorm and rolled it, full of my possessions, from 123th to 113th where friends lived. My classmate and his fiancé may not both have wanted me but felt sorry enough to let me stay for a time. My year—not even a year—in New York ended, and I wouldn’t return to school. I thought of working while I found a job, pictured bearing satchels while bicycling through traffic. Without prospects though, who could believe something so hard?
what sign told you
This trip started with my telling my girlfriend goodbye. She’d asked for one more night and cried, still we’d agreed to no more. She’d never left her other boyfriend, the weekends I pretended not to know her were sad, and another year of schooling awaited her and not me. Time expired.
The wheels, barely bigger than casters, danced under the load, and no effort I made to guide my craft by pushing the correct corner kept it from fishtailing, sometimes into a current of pedestrians flowing the opposite direction. I said, “I’m sorry” one hundred times. Early summer heat already rose in the first hours of sun, and by the time I reached my friends’ buzzer, I was soaked, shirt and pants clinging. He laughed to see me exhausted by such a silly journey, but helped with my load, soon to be a pile in the corner of his living room.
beneath the surface,
beneath its skin, beasts move—
the sea still
In another two weeks my brother would drive up from home, and I’d leave for good. My possessions never left their boxes. I watched my friend study at what I’d abandoned and plan his next steps over terrain that slid under my feet.
of highway seams, dawn slanted
Doing the dishes, I occasionally splash water on my shirtfront and spend the next hour flapping the fabric to dry it. Something about the act reminds me of childhood, restless winging, the tug to what’s next.
between scenes and still
3 responses to “Thursday Haibun (Episode Four)”
Love these–as always you have a special gift for capturing childhood. I’m always powerfully drawn to the tenderness and vulnerability in your writing, especially when describing relationships.
You’re nice. Do you think that means I haven’t really “grown up”? I worry about that sometimes and fear I’m prey to the same vulnerabilities and apprehensions I felt as a child. People say it’s good to be sensitive, and I suppose that’s true. Still, I sometimes envy those who’ve built up more insulation. –D
I wouldn’t say that, but then I haven’t much skill in psychoanalysis. Arguably the reader’s attraction to this writing says as much about him as about the writer. In my case, my childhood relationships with girls were, almost without exception, confined to my imagination. So it is, even now, with a species of disbelief that I encounter such descriptions.