Pop

I wonder what it feels like to pop like a kernel of corn? No matter how many times I pour a bit of olive oil into the popper, turn on the heat, drop in a third cup of kernels stirring about three minutes until the sound dies, dump the now fluffy kernels into a bowl and bless them with sea salt–no matter how many times I run this experiment, no matter how accurately I measure, I have no clue what those kernels felt. Some don’t mind leaving mysteries veiled. Some impatiently assert those mysteries don’t exist, but even they can’t escape the mystery of eat, eat, eat and then pop some more.

MOMENTS POP AWAY
WARMER DAYS MARK WINTER DONE
TIME FOR ONE MORE WALK


Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Björn Rudberg with the prompt “consider cooking in your haibun and give us a recipe in your prose”.  I have included my secret recipe for making popcorn.
Photo: “Popcorn Steps” by the author. Collage created using Google Photos.

The Safe House

Most people are blessed with incorrigible ignorance. They don’t see the lion under the table. They don’t see the goblins in their chicken houses. They don’t even have a chicken house and so they can’t see the devil in his details.

I tell them. They laugh. I tell them again. They say they’ll lock me up. I tell them, “If you lock me up who will protect you from the fairy kingdom?” They lock me up. That’s exactly what I wanted them to do. The last line of defense had collapsed. It’s safer right here. By nightfall someone else can worry about those goblins.

There once was a dragon who knew
That damsel’s effectively through
With her knight on his horse.
They had run off, of course,
Since there’s nothing now either can do.


Linked to Saturday’s Image Write #6 hosted by Bekkie Sanchez and featuring Jacek Yerka.

Linked to imaginary garden with real toads Title-Tale hosted by Magaly featuring Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop: And Other Practical Advice in Our Campaign Against the Fairy Kingdom by Reginald Bakeley.

Part of the Confessional Poetry of Imaginary People series.

Keeping My Imaginary Friend Happy

What a sky-is-blue-grass-is-green day! I love sitting on this park bench with my imaginary friend, Alice. While I’m enjoying reality she’s telling me that if she ever hears another rhyme between “night” and “light” or “death” and “breath” she’s going to do something I’ll regret. Furthermore she insists I stop writing those happy-happy poems because as a fully deconstructed, beyond-whatever-existential adult she would rather have angst, dread and drivel smothering her than sentimentality. I tell her that I kind of like those rhymes. She pulls out some pills, “Here. Take these.” As I swallow sending them down, down into the depths of deconstruction she jumps up from her existential happy place and proclaims, “Haha! That’s arsenic! You’re dead!”

Then Alice cries, “I’m sorry I gave you that arsenic even if it was only imaginary arsenic.” “That’s OK.” (What else am I going to say?) She explains that it is all because she’s not real. That’s why she acts the way she does. I tell her, “Look at those atoms. They’re just empty space! They aren’t any more real than you are!” She stops crying and asks, “Really?” And I say, “Sure!” Then she wants to know about that tiny stuff in the middle of the atoms. She starts crying again. I tell her that tiny stuff isn’t real either. “Really?” At this point I have to think. I don’t want to lie to her, but I don’t want her to start crying again and for all I know she’s as real as anything else I can imagine out there and so I say, “Sure!”


I am hosting dVerse Meeting the Bar Prose Poetry today. The challenge is to write either a prose poem or a poem explaining why prose poetry doesn’t exist.  Any similarity to real people in this prose poem is purely imaginary.

Waiting for the Full Moonrise

Before this moon will rise the sun must set. I wait alone upon the beach except for strangers waiting for it, too.

And then we see its fresh, faint light. It lifts above the ocean’s noisy waves. I watch until I’m sure it’s safely high enough to journey on alone.

SAND DUNES SHELTER LIFE
LIFE HOLDS DOWN THE DRIFTING SAND
TURTLES WATCH THE MOON


Written for dVerse Haibun Monday #29 hosted by Michael Grogan at Morpethroad with the theme “waiting”.  Photo by the author.

Aurora

I don’t know what Fred was looking at, but the Aurora Borealis shining over the path was holding my attention one evening as we sat on the porch of my cabin. I pointed Fred’s head in the direction of the lights. He didn’t seem interested. He was to get his own dog house, a fancy one, since I had spare lumber. He would also get the required chain to make sure he didn’t chase my neighbor’s sheep when he grew up. I would eventually learn that Fred had as much interest in those sheep as he did in the aurora, but my neighbor’s purebred puppy, Princess, still too young to breed, was on his mind.

How do I know she was on his mind? Well, I don’t, and I would like to think he was still too young to be thinking about her, but he wasn’t interested in the aurora. He wasn’t interested in those sheep and she was barking in the distance. Civilized people normally introduce their dogs while walking through some nice park, but with my neighbor worrying about his sheep and what Fred might do to Princess, we never introduced them. “You should have that dog neutered,” he once advised. He was right, but I package my mistakes in boxes of reason and wrap them with brightly colored righteousness expecting only joy. I thought to myself that I wouldn’t want someone doing that to me, but I did, eventually, build that dog house and chain Fred. Thinking back on that peaceful evening with the aurora dancing in the sky, I suspect Fred knew everything he needed to know about Princess and she was, at least for the moment, glad I wasn’t going to neuter him.

FLUFFY WHITE FROSTING
CLINGING WET TO LEAFLESS TREES
BERRIES STILL BRIGHT RED


Written for dVerse Haibun Monday. 
Photo: "Covering" by the author
Hear the author read this haibun on SoundCloud.

 

The Path To My Home

I am only inclined to tell this story, before I can no longer speak, because no one I have been rash enough to tell it to so far believes it. Right now, I’ll restrict myself to what is believable and that is simply that a puppy followed my neighbor pushing his way up the long path through the wild grass and tall red osiers that were not beaten down by my narrow, daily footsteps. He looked like a friendly dog although I cannot remember why I agreed to take him in.

His name was Fred. I let him sleep inside my cabin containing a hand pump for water, kerosene lamps for light and a wood stove on the edge of central Maine’s vast forest lands. On his first day Fred tore open the sealed food bag and stuffed himself with dog food until his stomach bloated. When he saw me refill his bowl he knew this was home. Eventually, Fred would earn the title of “bad dog”. I forgave him. I hope he forgave me. However, that gets into the unbelievable part that I’ve promised myself I must tell, but which I cannot tell, just yet, because I am trying to make it clear how cute he looked walking innocently through that tall grass.

WATER FLOWS DOWNHILL
FILLING STREAMS FROM MAPLE GROVES
AUTUMN LOSES WARMTH


Written for dVerse Haibun Monday.  
Photo: "Orderly Entanglement" by the author.
Hear the author read this haibun on SoundCloud.

Sure

And that’s when Alice wanted to know when
I was going to grow up and she apologized
for giving me the arsenic even though it was
only imaginary arsenic and then she started
crying because she wasn’t real any more than
that arsenic and that’s why she acted the way
she did and I told her ‘It’s OK’ because what
else was I going to say and then I told her that
even atoms were almost all empty space, nothing
there, and she said, ‘Really?’ and I said ‘Sure’
and then she wanted to know about that tiny stuff
in the middle of the atom and she started to cry
again and I had to tell her that when that stuff
was a wave of potentiality it wasn’t there any
more than she was and she said, ‘Really?’ and
I had to think because I didn’t want to lie to
her and I didn’t want her to start crying again
and as far as I could tell she was more real
than any old atom was and so I said ‘Sure’.