GREETINGS TO THE SUN

Water trickled down through Stephen’s short brown hair. He could feel the droplets twisting and turning through the maze of his hairline, before eventually finding their way to his forehead. The soft, refreshing air chilled the water as it danced along his face, carefully falling between the groove of his nose and his right eye. He could feel everything around him. The wind brushed through the grass, humming its afternoon greeting, while the leaves of the trees turned about on their descent to the ground; even the roaring of the river in the distance, where the trickle of water had branched off of, could be faintly heard.

Many mornings went like this for Stephen. He would wake early, and spend the early part of the day staring out into space, until the world around him seemed to morph into something that was outside of the usual. His imagination became a guiding force for his mind, and eventually those quiet hums would turn into an opera of music, and the trickle of water would become the medicine beyond human creation. The massive fields of grass before him would spin before him, faster and faster until suddenly everything became a wild green color, and distance and time seemed to flow as one together.

Today, Stephen was focused on the sun. At first, his eyes had burned with pain, but as the water coated him, he felt cooled. He had closed his eyes, yet behind his eyelids he kept careful track of where the sun was. The supreme being road his chariot across the sky, and the more he focused on it, the more Stephen could make out the hooves beating against the unseen road. They galloped through the sky with vigor, and he could hear their breath heaving in and out as the pulled faster.

Eventually, as he focused, he could hear the breath of a man along with them. He sounded like purity itself. His breath was like a long drink of water after a trip through the desert, or the first drops of dew falling from a crisp spring morning. Stephen felt his own body relax at the sound. Then, unexpectedly, his concentration broke as he heard a voice.

“We have a visitor,” a voice more sweet and light than honey called out to him. Stephen’s eyes snapped open. Only he was not seeing through his eyes anymore. It was like his body had fled, and he was looking through the sky itself

“Hello,” the voice said with a calm strength, “it has been far too long since I was given the chance to speak to anyone. Who might you be?” Stephen felt his voice catch in his throat.

“Ah, unable to speak, is it? Not many get the chance to meet me anymore. Not many look hard enough. Look around you.” The great man had been shielded by light, but the outward gesture of his arm was clear enough. Stephen turned, and saw the world from a different perspective then.

It was so small, so tiny, and yet unending in its size. Through the clouds he saw the trees, the river, and even the tops of the cold mountains. They all looked so small; so beautiful.

“It has been a long time since someone saw the world as you see it now. Perhaps you can learn from it. It seems like such a big world out there, and yet to us it is all connected.” Stephen felt his stomach tighten, and his vision blurred.

“It seems your moments hear are to be brief today. But I look forward to seeing you again.” Then with a rush, Stephen felt his body travel through the air, and suddenly he was gasping for air. The trickle of water had dampened his cloths, and the sun was growing low in the sky. How long had he been gone?

——

 

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SUMMER WEDNESDAYS (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Summer Wednesdays

The morning grows hot

On this dry summer Wednesday.

Good to be indoors.

 

Beckoning Waters

The sky blue water

Beckons the thirsty pilgrim

To drown in it’s cold.

 

Tree Secrets

Scaling up the trees,

I find the grooves in the bark

Hold untold secrets.

 

Paranoid

When she calls my name

I hear hues of another

Hiding underneath.

 

Sheltered

Oh, to be a root!

Enjoying the cool soil,

Safe from harms above.

——

 

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SWARMS

Watching the people flock

To the Los Angeles food vendor

Is like watching the cockroaches

Swarming across the stairs.

The sizzling morsels,

Greedily devoured by

Greasy fingers and hungry mouths,

Are like crumbs for starving pests.

Oh, there are polite ones,

To be certain. They drift by

At a distance, with calm aloofness.

But the pack is like a mob,

And would turn on you

In a heartbeat, if it served them.

The screech of brakes

And the roar of horns;

Deafening to the average ear,

Remind me of our own insignificance.

That we are, at the heart of us,

Just another swarm of insects

Infesting the cracks in the world.

Our world, as we claimed it.

Though we have yet

To claim responsibility for it.

Oh hey I’m on vacation and can’t copy my normal stuff here.

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BLOOMS (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Inspired

My life was hard fought,

But ‘twas my lover who said

To challenge the rain.

 

Nurturing

The fading twilight

Calls for the dust to settle

‘Fore the wind takes him.

 

Immovable

The lone river rock

Stands more still than the oak tree

While the water churns.

 

Pride

The summer sun stands,

Burning paramount today,

With torturous pride.

 

Blooms

Dear little flower,

Your red petals stand so proud.

Are you ever blue?

——

 

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A PERFECT MORNING

I sat, reading Basho, as the sunlight danced across the ever flowing stream. The morning that morning seemed to me the most perfect morning to ever exist. The chirps of the crickets were growing dim as they made their way to bed, while the butterflies stretched their wings for their morning flight. My eyes followed one of them, as it listed up and down, back and forth, around the dip in the stream. The stream crashed down there, creating a soft mist, like it were imagining itself as the waterfall. The breeze carried a hint of sweet moisture, as though Zephyrus himself had kissed the day.

I found my mind drifting about to the world around me. The rocks, the trees, the grass—each more alive and beautiful than the last—seemed to have their own tale built into the fabric of their being. The rocks, with cracked lines, shunted edges, and overturned hides, wove a simple, solemn tale about the world. They had watched, waiting and listening, for something the happen. They slept with an eye open, but even in their waking hours they never seemed to be alert. It was as if they had been caught in a state of constant lethargy, but they were kind to me nonetheless.

The trees told a greater tale, full of age and mystery. Unlike the rocks, the trees had been alert and unrested. Their aging minds grew wild with thoughts of their sapling days, where they could still branch their roots out and feel themselves move. Now, they stood as the protectors of the stream and it’s creatures, sheltering it from the outside world. But trees are often presumptuous. They have lived for so long, they do not see the world for as it is, but as it has always been. They foolishly ignore the hearts of men, and the men before me could do little but crawl up the branches for shelter from various beasts. But now—now they come with axe and fire and steel, hungering for great conquests.

The grass told me about this. The grass has felt them tread long and far. Their soft feet, which had once been like a gentle touch, now hammered against them like nails with their steel-toed boots. Men ran where they once walked, and they tore up the grass to make way for their stone houses. Grass had its children shrivel up and die as men stole their drink, and choked to death by the machines of their wars. He told me of his cousin, the moss, who was fished from the waters and thrown to dry out on the banks. Grass had seen weary times, but had endured in places, both thick and thin.

In the distance, the mountain called out to me. She had seen the days, come and gone, and heard the warnings signs. Yet these days, nobody listened to the mountains. Her voice had grown slow, and as time moved faster, people no longer could pause to appreciate the wisdom she had to offer. Even I, the antithesis of my peers, felt the itch of hurriedness shoot through my veins as I listened.

But I found her words important, nonetheless. She had told me to remind men of the slower days—where they woke as they chose and slept as they needed. Where the food they ate was held sacred, and the animals they slaughtered had names and lives. She asked me to remember the stream, as I had remembered my family, and to keep it from illness and abuse. I cannot say that I, myself, can achieve my task alone. Yet on such a perfect day, I felt the urge to try. So I set out, not knowing what terrors lay ahead, to help my fellows stop their journey for a moment, and appreciate the flowers.

——

 

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THE END OF DAYS

If all men are dogs,

Then are all women frogs?

And are all mice men?

What’s that make children then?

 
But we all drink water;

We all have a father;

We all feel the pain

That’s driving us insane.

 

The pain of being alone,

Stuck inside a world

That’s bigger than our own.

 
Do you remember the days of old?

The days when our family

Was more valuable that gold.

 
Days before the calamity,

When we became preachers

Of goodness and chastity.

 
In the days where our leaders

Didn’t sell us out to greed,

And the land was our teacher.

 
Those days when we were free.

Free to be, you and me.

But those good days have long gone past,

The end of the world has come at last,

And machines order us throughout our days,

Because we let them put us in this haze.

——

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THE CHERRY TREE

We used to spend our evenings back in the country popping cherries. The sticky, sweet juice ran down the sides of our greedy lips, leaving us like a vampire after finishing his meal. Nights like those were beautiful. The dusty horizon faded from yellow, to orange, to pink, to purple, and finally into the deep blue-blackness that marked bedtime for most people. But for us, it was a secret thing; a special thing.

A cherry tree at the end of the day is a beautiful thing to see. After hours in the field, one certainly works up an appetite. The dirt and grime of the day seeps into the innermost pores of the skin, filling the cracks in our broken skin with a thin layer of powder. To hold the soft, dainty skin of a ripe cherry, taught and firm, between our thick, meaty fingers, was like holding the essence of purity between the fingers of corruption.

The best cherries always sat at the tops of the tree. Perhaps this was because it was late in the seasons, and all the low hanging fruit had been picked by the passersby. But we would spend hours a day there, watching the time shift around us. We would climb up the branches, until there were but little spindles of tree for us to stand on. We would reach out as far as we could, fingers straining to catch a cherry or two, while the rest of our body was stiff; carefully balanced like a tightrope walker. Until finally, in a moment of release, we would have the cherry, pop it in our mouths, and enjoy our prize.

But those days are long gone. The cherry tree was cut down, replaced by a care facility for the elderly. And while I am happy that my father will get the care he deserves (at least, that’s what the facility has promised, once he come to need it), I am still saddened that our liberties as maturing young adults were torn away from our hands. We no longer spend those late nights together, feasting on the pleasures of youth. We simply sit, and watch, and wait for the end of time to bear us a different fruit.

——

 

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LIFE AS A FISH

I woke up in a strange skin. I felt slimy, wet, and scaly. The air choked me, and I floundered on the dirt. I had turned into a fish. I had no clue when it had happened—or how, for that matter, but I looked around desperately for a water source. I could feel the heat in my gills as my body began to grow desperate and dry. The cool dirt below me made for a soft landing as I bounced toward the river. I remembering feeling so dexterous—so malleable, much more than I had in my human form. Eventually, after an eternity of struggling, I managed to pop back into the water. As I broke through the surface and into the current, I could not help but stay motionless for a moment. Sinking into the water was like sinking into a chair after a long day at work. All my worries washed down the river away from me.

When I did finally open my eyes, I looked at the wondrous world around me. Perhaps the human eye cannot distinguish it, but under the river looked much different through a fish’s lenses. I could see the water moving, the flow of the current pulling every minuet piece of dirt and rock from the bottom, and down the stream. I could see the moss cling helplessly to its surroundings as this monstrous body of water tore at it, day in and day out. And I could swim! Oh, how I could swim. I felt like a snake, slithering through the jungle. I could list slowly from side to side, as if removed from the current, or dart rapidly around if I desired.

And I was, surprisingly, alone. I recognized this river; it was by my hometown, less than a mile down stream. As a child, I would play there with the vigor of youth. I would run through the trees, to the riverbank, and stare endlessly at the water below. I remember the red, yellow, and grey fish dancing around in front of my mesmerized eyes. As I got older, I gathered the courage to catch one, though I was never successful. My hands would tremble inches from the water, just above my target, and I would spear into the water as fast as I could. Yet somehow, every time I broke through the surface, it was as if the fish had disappeared. By the time the ripples of the water had settled, I was empty handed and there were no fish in sight.

As I looked around me that day, there were no fish to be seen. Not as if they had disappeared down stream when I had splashed back into the water, but it was empty, lifeless, and alone. I waited for hours—though I have found that time as a fish moves much differently than time as a human. Faster. There’s much less to worry about in the mind of a fish. I nibbled about on various things that came down river, hoping that eventually a friend would join me. But the void of the river was silent, save for the whir of the current around me. I poked my eyes above the water briefly, to look around at the world. It looked so different; so dull. I felt a sinking feeling in my heart, like I would always be alone. I would never seen my friends again. I would never see my family again. My home was gone from me, and I from it. And in that mess of doubts, I swam downstream and away, never to return again.

——

 

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CALL TO ARMS (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Tides

As the tide rolls in,

The sand crabs burrow away,

Fearful for their lives.

 

Classical

The piano hums

With twilight melancholy,

That hints our sadness.

 

The Ruler

There’s the twelve-inch man,

Straight edged, erect, and strong. That’s

Why he’s called “ruler.”

 

Blanketed Sunset

As night ousts the day,

The busy beach falls silent,

But we’ll still be warm.

 

Call to Arms

The beat of the drum

Rolls like thunder in the sky;

Our footsteps the storm.

——

 

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P.S. The super cool photo used for this post was taken by Deborah Brewer, and can be found here.

CLIFFHANGER (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

The Fish Tank

Googly-eyed fish

What is it you’re looking at

With such indiff’rence?

 

Little Things

The hot water’s gone

And the lights have been turned off.

But at least we’re glad.

 

Old Style

Business in the front,

And a party in the back.

Mullet or corp’rate?

 

Temptation

I’m trying to be

This careful, precise, health nut

But pizza’s too good

 

Cliffhanger

I hang on the edge

Thinking about all my stress;

Wishing I’d let go.

——

 

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