Haibun 17


my brain manufactures excuses for me like some automatic pilot gone entirely haywire. i lost my watch and say out loud that it was a good thing to lose that expensive nuisance. i did not want it anyway. where was my mind when i paid 900 bucks for it? right now i am typing and leaving out all capitals and most punctuation. i tell myself i am a poet and i can do that…

my net worth right this minute…
the scent of jasmine

First published in Prune Juice!

Haibun 16

no preferences

for the last several weeks i have been caught up in the ‘news’ of the day. not very interesting news, not even ‘compelling’ news, just the news. and so now, when the gist of the argument rests in some dusty corner, at least for now, i have come to rest here, on my cold but very sunny front porch. i am trying to remember other times, other places, other friends (many who are no longer on this plane we ride in), and wondering where it all fits. then it dawns on me, like the revelation to st. john, that what matters is not what we think about, but what IS when we stop thinking . . .

sitting still
steam from my cocoa rises
to somewhere else

First published in:  A Hundred Gourds!

Haibun 15


A famous koan in Zen is that: “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill the Buddha!”, and it is obviously not to be taken literally, as taking a life is very much against the teachings. The true meaning of this koan is as varied as the person reading it, but for me it simply means the ‘true Buddha’ is the one that resides in you, and can’t be experienced externally, or through any other person. The spirit of this is encapsulated in another truism: “If you know you’re humble, then for sure you’re not.”

if you meet the Buddha give him a hug and promise a lollipop

It’s my meditation time. I place my cushions in the center of the room, face east, as is the mundane custom, and after lighting candles and incense, I cross my legs and allow my hands to assume a comfortable position. Just as I enter a deep state of quiet and all my little muscle aches finally disappear into my practice, I hear a door from another room open and footsteps head toward my quiet meditation area. It’s the three year old from down the way, who has invited herself in, and now, while desperately looking for ‘company’, enters my room. Without stopping for an instant she grabs one of the incense sticks and begins dancing around the room, waving it in the air and softly singing a child’s song to herself.

a dancing Buddha splashes candle wax on my toe

First published in:  A Hundered Gourds!

Haibun 14

Lost Thoughts


Memory is fluid and fickle, but words on paper, a screen, or recorded on a smart phone have a strange ‘substance’, and we writers know this instinctively. But I am stumbling, it is so hard to explain this moment, and my perception of it, to anyone else, but I keep trying, and in less than seventeen syllables. Am I shooting for a miracle? The longer I try, the more doubt clings to each word. I am so frustrated, and now I just want to put this one behind me. But I just can’t stop thinking about it!

warm rain
mosquitoes follow me
into the men’s room

First published in:   A Hundred Grouds!

Haibun 13

zany as normal

I am watching a movie with Tilda Swinton playing a wonderful role. (I will not bore anyone with the name of the movie. It won’t help you with the haibun.) She is so quirky an artist, but that quirky nature is why I suspect I always ‘buy’ her characters. She is the female Johnny Depp. We all know some strange person with twitches with odd words and facial actions who are just ‘accepted’ because they are so unfailingly ‘real’. I press the ‘Record’ button so I can watch this movie again…

the way
my jokes
are only funny to me

First published in:  Prune Juice!