UNDERWATER (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Underwater

Underwater light

looks like glass sheets shattering

over and over.

 

Oceans of Green

Winds of nostalgia

smell like the waves of the sea

between blades of grass.

 

Winter Freeze

Wisps of the winter

run shivers through earthen spines.

Huddle close to me.

 

Rock Quarries

Kindred quarries house

a brotherhood of boulders

awaiting freedom.

 

Treasures on Trees

Who has need for gold

when trees provide the treasures

of life in their fruits.

——

 

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FLY AWAY (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Cats at Play

Diving after strings

with the same ferocity

as a great lion.

 

Unpaired

Dazzled by the pair

of dancers in the moonlight,

I walked home alone.

 

Fly Away

The old, dead leaves fall,

but before they hit the ground

wind flies them away.

 

Leaves in the Pool

Debris from the trees

float, tentative as a fly

waiting to be struck.

 

Outdoor Mornings

Waking to a kiss

of sunlight and waterfalls;

lost in the stillness.

——

 

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NIGHT ON THE BARE MOUNTAIN

When I finally reached the flat top of the mountain, I was greeted by a flatland that was more the top of a hill than a mountain—so green and grassy I could hardly believe myself. I took a nap for a while, and when I awoke the sun had been falling.

The sudden rush of cold air had taken me by surprise, marking the end of the day. Nightfall was setting in, and the air had taken a dramatic turn from the comforts of that afternoon. I had spent the day hiking to the top of the bald mountain. It had been a beautiful hike to the top. The sky had been a clear blue, with sky shrouds only at the edges of the world view.

But it had also been quite treacherous. There were many places where the rocks threatened to give way, and the way down was no easier. Each step felt like I was trudging through the snow, hoping not to fall into some unseen depths. I turned a corner on the main path, and was blown by a powerful gust, which knocked me on my backside and rolled me toward the edge of a cliff. My legs were dangling over the side when I finally got control again, and the wind subsided. I looked down at the eons of space beneath me, like a vast mouth of darkness, threatening to swallow me up like Jonah. Grasping for the strands of ground, I managed to scramble back to my feet, and continue down.

I was given a brief respite for most of the rest of the way down, and eventually grew accustomed to the treacherous ground and chill air. The clouds had rolled in in droves, like a pack of beasts descending in the night, and when the first crack on lightning shot through the sky, it sounded almost like they had made the call for pursuit. The rains fell then, hard. Each drop was a rock, and blurred my vision. But I was getting close to the bottom.

The tempest was in full throttle then. It felt as though it were sent there, just to trap me. I had begun running, though I couldn’t remember when. I hopped over bushes, between fallen branches, and across small gaps in the path, emboldened and afraid of what would come next. I wanted to get away before more went wrong. The trees were shaking; rattling like snakes coiled, and the path had grown thick with mud. Many steps became more like surfing through waves of mud than stepping through them.

Until finally, I broke out from behind the last tree, and the world grew quiet. I looked back at the bald mountain, which looked like Sisyphus trapped in his own hell then. But I had escaped. I walked over to my car and drove home, though I kept my eye on the mountain as it grew more distant, just to make sure the storm stayed with it.

——

 

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THREADS (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Threads

One thread cannot hold

the weight of a broken tree,

no matter its strength.

 

Up Late

The sun is up high

yet my eyes have just opened

in a groggy haze.

 

Dish Mountain

The pots suspended,

precarious as climbers

hanging without ropes.

 

Lying Beneath Trees

Trees look like angels

silhouetted in sunlight;

their leaves are their wings.

 

Five O’Clock

Shadows on my chin

feel like dry blades of grass

before they brittle.

——

 

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OVERCAST (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Overcast

The faded roses

wonder what their red was like

before the clouds came.

 

Thin

Looked in the mirror

and saw how my innocence

had grown thin with age.

 

Right Wing

Age begets wisdom

yet somehow those wise people

abandoned reason.

 

Lonely Sweat

I tossed the blanket

from our overly small bed

in a lonely sweat.

 

Dancing Trees

The twisting branches

entwine like tango dancers

suspended in air.

——

 

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MEMORIES TAKEN ROOT

I lived my last few days, rotting away on the inside, with a red “X” across my chest, like an aged target waiting to be struck down. When the saws finally bit into me, like wolves sinking their teeth into a rabbit, I realized that nobody would really hear me fall, despite the number of onlookers who surrounded us. They were all too busy seeing the decent of this massive tree, that they forgot to see me for what I was: me.

I wish I could have been angry; that I could have been mad at them, but they barely knew me. Most of the aged adults were fresh out of their mothers’ wombs when the rot first set in, and the younger one were but a far away twinkle, like a star in the night sky. I suppose I was more mad at their fathers’, and their fathers’ fathers’, and all the generations before them, back to when they had first set foot in my kingdom, bearing fire and chains from across the sea. Then I was but a small, thin sapling, budding with the first full-grown leaves spring had brought me.

I was one of the lucky ones then. My small size meant I was unfit for their housing requirements, and so when they cut down my brothers and sisters, they left me for the future. By the time that future came, enough houses had been built around me that I had become a meeting ground for town festivals. They strung banners across me, and the innocent children ran about at play.

With the space they had given me, my roots were able to grow far and deep, and I grew bigger than any of the other trees in the area. I was so large, it took two dozen children to make a connected circle around me. With time, the pain of my executed family faded, and I found love for the children around me. I was saddened when they grew older, and acted with the same malice as their parents.

When the buildings first started going up, the first talks of cutting me down started, to “clear the skyline for future horizons” as one man had put it. I was lucky then, that the last generation of children to line up around me were still alive. They came again as adults, without the glistening smiles, but with the same love in their hearts, to protect me.

But as more decades passed by, the air became filled with gases. The roar of trains, and cars, and buses made the children cough, and stay inside their homes. The poison in the air sunk into my bones, and the rot set in. Nearly one hundred years went by before it began to show, but the day came when one of my massive arms couldn’t take the weight anymore. It shattered, and the massive limb—a tree in its own right by many accounts—came crashing down. It killed thirty people, which to me seemed like a fair trade for all the lives they had taken from me.

From the hole it had left crept a black ooze, and as it rained down from the hundreds of feet above, the people turned their heads skyward with disdain. A day later, the “X” had appeared. This massive, bloody tattoo across my body, and within a few days the machines arrived. They sputtered for hours, tearing into me, dying, being repaired, and tearing in once again, until finally I felt the whole world sway, and came crashing down.

——

 

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MANY HATS (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Rile

Winds brushing through leaves

rile like men, and begin

knocking down their trees.

 

Cat on a Chair

With flat, black ears arched

(their curiosity piqued),

she bats at the fly.

 

Many Hats

My new favorite hat

is a charade of secure.

Won’t match my outfit.

 

Saved

Turn water to wine

and you’re the messiah, or

an alcoholic.

 

The Break Up

She said “over come,”

but I really just wanted

her to come over.

——

 

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TRAMPLED (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Lines

Skirt the lines of love

with the borders of friendship;

watch it fall apart.

 

Summer Vacation

Watching the waters

of the pool shatter like glass,

shaded by a tree.

 

Unappreciative

Spent today looking

for friends to enjoy it with;

neglected fam’ly.

 

Trampled

The purple flowers

flutter with absolute grace

only to be smashed.

 

Driving Home

The ants go marching

impeccably organized;

I’m stuck in traffic.

——

 

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A JOB WELL ENJOYED

Hello there!

I haven’t talked directly with my readers in a while, and speaking that I am writing this 16 minutes before it is supposed to go up, and I had no idea what to talk about, today seems like a good day to do that. And it is a great day to be talking directly with you all. We (mainly my father and I) just finished the major portion of our front yard redesign.

Which makes me want to talk about work from a personal perspective. While I was watering the grass we put in today, I was thinking about how a botanist (probably) loves plants, but may not actually enjoy the tedious aspects of the job; like cutting the rectangular grass so that it matches the rounded edges of the space in which it is being placed. Or maybe doing the mathematics to make sure you don’t over order grass.

Similarly, a teacher may love teaching, but in the remodeling of their room, they may find that it is less than enjoyable. I mean, there is a reason people look down on the mundane jobs of the world, like janitors, trash collectors, and day laborers. Their jobs have no room for passion really. They have little control, and the work they do is always terrible (not the quality of the work they do, but the requirements put on them).

Which is to say that our default nature is that we don’t inherently enjoy the mundane tasks of life. Which I guess is obvious, but at the same time, people talk about making the best of things. How do you make the best of something that you are programed not to like?

I honestly don’t know the answer, but I thought it would be an interesting question to pose. Let me know what you think!

 

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THE RED RIVER

For the past three weeks, traces of red liquid had been found in the clear blue waters of the rivers, growing more solid with each passing day. At first, it was just a whisk, like a droplet falling in a cup, before it disperses and becomes unnoticeable. Then eventually, the water began to darken, from blue, to purple, to a beautiful shade of red wine. When it hit that shade, the water became undrinkable, and we knew we had to find out what was going on.

We began our trek up the river, to see what we could find. A few days later, it morphed into a bright, angry red, like a vicious sunburn. Eventually, we came to a massive forest, and followed the red river in. It was dark, like night, spackled with the occasional beam of sunlight peaking from in between tree branches. It was enough to light they way, but hardly bright. The angry red of the river looked more like smoldering ash in the dark. We began to worry when the sunbeams grew thin and orange—it meant the sun was going down, and all sorts of things could inhabit the forest.

We made camp, set up a fire, and picked roles for the watch. Mine was the last, which I was thankful for. It was easier to sleep through most of the night, and simply stay awake, than it was to sleep for a short three hours, wake up to keep watch, then sleep again. My eyes had glazed over by the time the first beams of sunlight touched down through the trees. It was like a heavenly ascension piercing through the heart of the darkness.

We kept this routine for another two days, marching through treacherous pitfalls and shifting terrain. All the while, we kept along the river, following its unexpected. It was growing wider, which we took to mean we were getting close to its source. A few hours later, the river widened into a lakebed, with a massive red waterfall, which, as it smashed into the lake, created a thin, red mist. The waterfall itself seemed to stretch off into the distance, far above the trees above us.

The unexpected base of the cliff met us as we drew closer, and we began our ascent upward. The way up was full of dangers, but eventually we crossed the upper threshold of the trees. The break of sunlight on our faces was soothing, as a cool glass of water is to a man returned from a desert. We could see the top, not far above the trees, and took the last hundred meters quickly.

When we reached the top, we were awestruck by the sight before us. Lodged in the middle of a massive lake—ten times the size of the one below us—was an enormous heart. It looked almost like a titanic boulder, bigger in size than any we had ever seen, beating fiercely, as though whatever body it had inhabited had been running for miles before.

And it was split in two, held weakly together by tethers at the bottom. From the center of the split sides, it was gushing blood like a fountain, pouring tons into the water around it by the second. The air stank of rot and decay, but the heart showed no signs of weakness. It was incredible to see something so full of life yet so broken. All we could do was stand there still, looking on amazed and frightened.

——

 

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